A mesoscale index to describe the regional circulation around the Balearic Islands
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Historical oceanographic surveys carried out around the Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean) suggest two different scenarios for the regional ocean circulation. In one scenario, occurring during cold winters, cool water is formed at intermediate layers (100–300 m) in the Gulf of Lions. This Western Mediterranean Intermediate Water (WIW) usually moves southward reaching the Balearic Channels, deflecting the warmer Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW) coming from the Eastern Mediterranean, and even blocking the Ibiza Channel. On the other hand, during mild winters, less WIW is formed and then LIW flows through the channels, appearing at their characteristic depths. The oceanographic surveys around the Balearic Islands (1985–2004) have provided a qualitative index, indicating the presence or not of WIW in the Ibiza Channel, based on the analyses of θS diagrams. A quantitative index based on mean water temperature between 100 and 300 m depth in the channels may also be defined. Both indexes, ...