European Station for Time series in the ocean (ESTOC) station

Location of European Station for Time series in the ocean (ESTOC) station
Location of European Station for Time series in the ocean (ESTOC) station

Why observing here?

ESTOC (European Station for Time series in the OCean) is located 100 km north of Gran Canaria and Tenerife in the Canary Islands archipelago.

ESTOC is influenced by the weak eastern boundary current (Canary Current) of the subtropical North Atlantic gyre. The Canary Current is fed by the easternmost branch of the Azores Current, which passes Madeira in the north and flows southward along the African coast between 30º N and 10ºN, and offshore to 20ºW with a width of around 1000 km and speed of 10–30 cm s-1.

The Azores High Pressure system that is centred around 28º N–30º N during winter and shifts north by about five degrees during summer, allows the intense NE trade winds to reach latitudes near 32º N; thus ESTOC is subject to the trade winds from May until September with maximum wind speeds in July and August. The trade winds are responsible for increased upwelling along the NW African coast during summer.

Water masses which can be encountered at ESTOC above the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) are :

  • Surface Waters (0–200 meters depth)
  • Eastern North Atlantic Central Waters (200–800 meters depth), of which the thermohaline properties reveal both subpolar as well as subtropical origins.
  • Antarctic Intermediate Waters (700–900 meters depth) which can reach the northern Canary Islands.
  • Mediterranean Waters (700–1500 meters depth).

The Madeira Mode Water (MMW) and tropical Eastern North Atlantic Central Water overlap with each other in their formation and distribution areas. The formation area of Madeira Mode Water is south of the Azores front and its southern limit may even reach as far as the ESTOC area.

Scientists or technicians in charge of the observatory

Dr. Maria Jose Rueda
Dr. Andres Cianca

Name of their institution

Instituto Canario de Ciencias Marinas (ICCM), Canary Islands, Spain

Distance from shore

70 nautical miles (~7 hours ~steaming depending on the ship speed)

Max depth

3670 m