ABACUS-5: Fifth Algerian BAsin Circulation Unmanned Survey

User group PI: Yuri Cotroneo, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Parthenope”, Italy

Hosting infrastructure: SOCIB glider facility, Spain

Main Objectives

The proposed research focuses on the characteristics of the Algerian Basin (AB) circulation. The AB is dominated by the presence of energetic mesoscale structures that usually develop from meanders of the Algerian Current to isolated cyclonic and anti-cyclonic eddies.

The project aims at assessing the importance of the ABACUS monitoring line across the AB between Palma de Mallorca and the Algerian coasts. Through its activities, ABACUS 5 project will contribute to data collection in The Southern European Seas, one of the main EU maritime policy objectives, as outlined in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

ABACUS-5 will allow the realization of 2 glider missions in the study area during November-December 2018 and April-May 2019. This approach was successfully experienced during the previous ABACUS surveys. The ABACUS 5 glider mission will enrich and extend the observations previously collected in the study area (Autumn 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and spring 2018) and will provide a valuable dataset for improving the study of the AB circulation.

The first leg (ABACUS 5.1 – 20 days cruise) will be realized in fall 2018, while the second leg (ABACUS 5.2 – 40 days cruise) will be realized in April-May 2019. During this leg, the glider track might be changed in order to monitor any mesoscale structure eventually identified from satellite data. Additionally, this second leg will also be useful for studying the seasonal variability along the ABACUS transect.

The main objectives of the proposed research are:

  • To continue the time series of oceanographic data collected in the AB along the endurance line between Mallorca and Algeri during the JERICO TNA-ABACUS project in 2014, during the external-access SOCIB call in 2015 and during the JERICO NEXT – TNA ABACUS 3 project in 2016 (first call) and 2017 (second call).
  • To identify the physical and biological properties of the surface and intermediate water masses between Balearic Islands and Algerian coasts.
  • To collect data across any mesoscale structure eventually identified during the ABACUS 5.2 leg.
  • To understand sub-basins dynamics.
  • To assess the ocean description capabilities of several satellite products when approaching coastal areas, also comparing them to glider in situ data.
  • To validate the new along-track (L3) and gridded interpolated maps (L4) altimetry products provided by the Sentinel-3 altimetry mission and other satellites in the Western Mediterranean Sea.
  • To contribute at the creation of a composite dataset to be used for the SWOT satellite mission design and calibration.