The role of ocean velocity in chlorophyll variability. A modelling study in the Alboran Sea


  • Jordi Solé Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC
  • Joaquim Ballabrera-Poy Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC
  • Diego Macías European Commission, Joint Research Centre
  • Ignacio A. Catalán IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB)



Alboran Sea, chlorophyll, wind forcing, primary production, ocean biogeochemical model, ROMS model, EOF analysis


In this work we focus on the Alboran Sea (western Mediterranean) to relate wind field and ocean velocity variability with chlorophyll a (Chl a) behaviour, using a 2-km resolution, coupled 3D ocean circulation-NPZD model (ROMS). The analysis is done in three steps. First, we split the seasonal and residual contribution for the fields under study. Second, we calculate the corresponding empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs) for the seasonal and residual parts. Finally, we relate each pair of variables for both seasonal and residual contribution EOFs. The results reported here allow the links between wind and Chl a to be quantified. We explain these links in terms of the ocean velocity field acting as a driver of Chl a variability. The results show that, although the seasonal part of the Chl a field is modulated by the vertical velocity, the residual component is modulated by the horizontal velocity components. Vertical velocities are responsible, through coastal upwelling, for Chl a bloom enhancement, while horizontal velocities spread coastal Chl a surface blooms off-shore.


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How to Cite

Solé J, Ballabrera-Poy J, Macías D, Catalán IA. The role of ocean velocity in chlorophyll variability. A modelling study in the Alboran Sea. scimar [Internet]. 2016Sep.30 [cited 2023Apr.1];80(S1):249-56. Available from:




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