Abstract : Our objective is to contribute to the understanding of the functioning of the Mediterranean system using modeling tools. We first study the formation and fate of water masses in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea.
The impact of the oceanic model spatial resolution on open-ocean deep convection modeling is examined through a real case study, and is related to the essential role played by the mesoscale structures in the formation and fate of deep water. The comparison of simulations performed under different atmospheric forcings enables to study the influence of the spatial resolution of this forcing on the modeling of deep convection and to underline the importance of atmospheric extremes.
We then investigate the impact of interannual atmospheric variability and climate change on dense water formation over the Gulf of Lions shelf. The volumes of dense water formed over the shelf, exported and cascading into the deep ocean are well correlated with the winter atmospheric heat loss. The strengthening of the water column stratification between the XXth and the XXIst centuries induces a strong decrease of these volumes.
We examine the impact of physical processes on the planktonic pelagic ecosystem using a coupled hydrodynamical - biogeochemical model. The study of a reference year enables to validate the model and to underline its defects. Primary production and respiration show a weak interannual variability, however, carbon exportation and net metabolism show a stronger variability. Finally, the warming of sea water due to climate change induces an increase of primary production by the end of the XXIth century, together with an enhancement of the microbial loop.