E2-M3A station

Location of E2-M3A station
Location of E2-M3A station

Why is it interesting for scientists to observe the ocean here?

The centre of the Southern Adriatic is an area where vertical mixing (up welling, wintertime convection) has a rather prominent role homogenizing physical and chemical seawater properties, and controlling the primary production (up welling water is a source of nutrients in the euphotic zone which stimulates the growth of phytoplankton).

The E2-M3A Station is deployed in the southern Adriatic Sea, at about 1200 m depth, a well known area of dense, deep water formation through open sea convection.(figure 1).

These newly formed deep water masses are then exported through the Strait of Otranto to the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean basin.

Figure 1 - Location of the mooring EM3A and of the IN-OGS Institute.

The dynamics of the area is dominated by the presence of a quasi-permanent cyclonic gyre that intensifies in the winter season creating the conditions for the production of dense and oxygenated waters with the contribution of the saltier intermediate layer dominated by the Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW). The Adriatic Dense Water (AdDW) formed prevalently by the open-ocean vertical convection, is then exported through the Strait of Otranto (figure 2) to the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean basin and becomes the main component of the Eastern Mediterranean Deep Water (EMDW).

Figure 2 – Water masses circulation in the Adriatic Sea (NAdDW =North Adriatic Dense Water ; AdDW = Adriatic Dense Water; LIW = Levantine intermediate Water ).

The recorded time-series at the E2-M3A station can be used for studies of long-term changes of Adriatic response to local climatic forcing. The volume of the dense water formed surrounding the station can be correlated to the winter heat losses. The amount of the dense water formed also determines the water exchange between the Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean.

Scientists or technicians in charge of the observatory

Fabio Brunetti
Vanessa Cardin

Name of their institution

Instituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale - OGS Trieste - Italy

Distance from shore

60 nautical miles (~6 hours steaming)

Max depth

1204 m