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Vortex in the Alborán Sea

Alborán Sea  | Western Mediterranean

Date of acquisition:    April 8th, 2022  |  11:11:12UTC

Sensor:  Sentinel-2B L2A

Coordinates:   35.7°N, 2.7°W

The satellite image depicts a part of the Alborán Sea in the western Mediterranean between the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. The Alborán Sea connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean via the Strait of Gibraltar. Three climate regions meet in this part of the Mediterranean Sea – the Lusitanian (cold temperate), the Mauritania (warm) and the Mediterranean itself. The Alborán Sea is a rich ecosystem with high biodiversity.

A persistent feature of the Alborán Sea is the presence of the Western and Eastern Alborán Gyres, anti- and cyclonic recirculation respectively, bounded by the Atlantic Jet to the north and the Moroccan coast to the south.

An interesting structure in the image shown is a “cyclonic”-oriented vortex (10 km in diameter) detached from the coastal waters. At the moment of acquisition, the vortex was about 38 – 40 km from the Cape Three Forks (Cabo de Tres Forcas, رأس الشوكات الثلاث). Judging by the position of the vortex, it was probably picked up by the Eastern Gyre.

Images contain modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2022].