A review of the LATEX project: mesoscale to submesoscale processes in a coastal environment

The main objective of the LAgrangian Transport EXperiment (LATEX) project was to study the influence of coastal mesoscale and submesoscale physical processes on circulation dynamics, cross-shelf exchanges, and biogeochemistry in the western continental shelf of the Gulf of Lion, Northwestern Mediterranean Sea. LATEX was a five-year multidisciplinary project based on the combined analysis of numerical model simulations and multi-platform field experiments. The model component included a ten year realistic 3D numerical simulation, with a 1 km hor-izontal resolution over the gulf, nested in a coarser 3 km resolution model. The in situ component involved four cruises, including a large-scale multidisciplinary campaign with two research vessels in 2010. This review concentrates on the physics results of LATEX, addressing three main subjects: (1) the investigation of the mesoscale to submesoscale processes. The eddies are elliptic, baroclinic, and anticyclonic; the strong thermal and saline front is density compensated. Their generation processes are studied; (2) the development of sampling strategies for their direct observations. LATEX has implemented an adaptive strategy Lagrangian tool, with a reference software available on the web, to perform offshore campaigns in a Lagrangian framework; (3) the quantification of horizontal mixing and cross-shelf exchanges. Lateral diffusivity coefficients, calculated in various ways including a novel technique, are in the range classically encountered for their associated scales. Cross-shelf fluxes have been calculated, after retrieving the near-inertial oscillation contribution. Further perspectives are discussed, especially for the ongoing challenge of studying submesoscale features remotely and from in situ data.


Mesoscale, Submesoscale, Lagrangian, Gulf of Lion, Northwestern mediterranean sea, Cross shelf flux

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Petrenko Anne A., Doglioli Andrea M., Nencioli Francesco, Kersale Marion, Hu Ziyuan, D'Ovidio Francesco (2017). A review of the LATEX project: mesoscale to submesoscale processes in a coastal environment. Ocean Dynamics. 67 (3-4). 513-533. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-017-1040-9, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00472/58351/

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