Tidal currents in the Malta - Sicily Channel from high-frequency radar observations

Giuseppe Ciraolo, Fulvio Capodici, Simone Cosoli, Aldo Drago

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Abstract

Two years of sea surface current measurements acquired since August 2012 by High-Frequency SeaSonde radars over the relatively shallow shelf area dividing the Maltese Islands from Sicily (the Malta - Sicily Channel), are used to characterize the surface tidal currents in the region. Tidal currents are generally weak and concentrated in the semidiurnal and diurnal bands, barely exceeding 3cms<sup>-1</sup> in the semidiurnal band (M<inf>2</inf>, S<inf>2</inf>), and below 6cms<sup>-1</sup> in the diurnal band (K<inf>1</inf>, O<inf>1</inf>). In the middle part of the basin, the M<inf>2</inf> currents oscillate along the main Channel axis; on the contrary the S<inf>2</inf> oscillations are oriented along the energetic Atlantic Ionian Stream (AIS) flow. Diurnal tides have a more circular pattern, also following the AIS path and with a significant intensification in proximity of the shelf break, thus suggesting a substantial contribution from internal tides in the region. Phase contours suggest the presence of amphidromic points for both the semidiurnal and diurnal constituents, located in the central area of the Channel for S<inf>2</inf>, O<inf>1</inf> and K<inf>1</inf>, but slightly shifted towards north-west for the M<inf>2</inf> component.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-23
Number of pages14
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Volume109
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geology

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