Temporal and spatial variability of river plumes in the NW and N Iberian shelf (1987-2007)
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North Iberian shelf
Time series analysis
The analysis of the salinity gradient estimated from in situ data was applied to characterize the spatial and temporal variability of low density buoyant structures in the North Iberian Shelf (NIS) (i.e. Galicia and Cantabrian Sea). To this aim, we have used salinity data acquired in 20 cruises carried out in spring (around April) between 1987 and 2007 and in 5 across-shelf sections sampled monthly between 1994 and 2005 in the studied area. The time series of the salinity gradient from the across-shelf sections data highlighted the seasonal pattern of occurrence of river plumes. This pattern, mainly related with the seasonality of the precipitation rate, varied along the NIS: high probability of occurrence (>70%) took place between November and February in the Central Cantabrian Sea, while it extended to March in the western and to May in the eastern parts of the studied area. The analysis of the spatial distribution of river plumes during spring pointed out two areas, off Miño and Adour ...