Multiplatform observation of the surface circulation in the Gulf of Naples (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea)

  • 215 Accesses

  • 31 Citations


The Gulf of Naples (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea) is a highly urbanised area, where human activities and natural factors (e.g. river runoff, exchanges with adjacent basins) can strongly affect the water quality. In this work we show how surface transport can influence the distribution of passively drifting surface matter, and more in general if and how the circulation in the basin can promote the renovation of the surface layer. To this aim, we carried out a multiplatform analysis by putting together HF radar current fields, satellite images and modelling tools. Surface current fields and satellite images of turbidity patterns were used to initialise and run model simulations of particle transport and diffusion. Model results were then examined in relation to the corresponding satellite distributions. This integrated approach permits to investigate the concurrent effects of surface dynamics and wind forcing in determining the distribution of passive tracers over the basin of interest, identifying key mechanisms supporting or preventing the renewal of surface waters as well as possible areas of aggregation and retention.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 99

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12


  1. Arnone RA, Parsons AR (2005) Real-time use of ocean color remote sensing for coastal monitoring. In: Miller RL, Del Castillo CE, Mckee BA (eds) Remote sensing of coastal aquatic environments—technologies, techniques and applications. Springer, The Netherlands, pp 317–337

  2. Barrick DE, Lipa BL (1986) An evaluation of least-squares and closed-form dual-angle methods for CODAR surface–current applications. IEEE J Ocean Eng OE 11:322–326

  3. Barrick DE, Evans MW, Weber BL (1977) Ocean surface currents mapped by radar. Science 198:138–144

  4. Beegle-Krause C J (1999) GNOME: NOAA’s next-generation spill trajectory model. In: OCEANS ’99 MTS/IEEE Riding the Crest into the 21st Century, Vol 3. IEEE/Marine Technology Society, Seattle, pp. 1262–1266

  5. Beegle-Krause C J (2001) General NOAA Oil Modeling Environment (GNOME): a new spill trajectory model. In: IOSC 2001 Proceedings. Mira Digital Publishing, Inc., Tampa, FL, pp. 865–871

  6. Bellucci A, Buffoni G, Griffa A, Zambianchi E (2001) Estimation of residence times in semi-enclosed basins with steady flows. Dyn Atmos Oceans 33:201–218

  7. Bignami F, Sciarra R, Carniel S, Santoleri R (2007) Variability of adriatic sea coastal turbid waters from SeaWiFS imagery. J Geophys Res 112:C03S10

  8. Buffoni G, Falco P, Griffa A, Zambianchi E (1997) Dispersion processes and residence times in a semi-enclosed basin with recirculating gyres: an application to the Tyrrhenian Sea. J Geophys Res 102:699–713

  9. Buonocore B, Cianelli D, Falco P, Guida R, Uttieri M, Zambardino G, Zambianchi E (2010) Hydrocarbon dispersal in the Gulf of Naples: a parametric study. Rapp Comm int Mer Médit 39:725

  10. Carrada GC, Hopkins TS, Bonaduce G, Ianora A, Marino D, Modigh M, Ribera d’Alcalà M, Scotto di Carlo B (1980) Variability in the hydrographic and biological features of the Gulf of Naples. P S Z N I Mar Ecol 1:105–120

  11. Chapman RD, Shay LK, Graber HC, Edson JB, Karachintsev A, Trump CL, Ross DB (1997) On the accuracy of HF radar surface current measurements: intercomparisons with ship-based sensors. J Geophys Res 102:18737–18748

  12. Cianelli D, Uttieri M, Buonocore B, Falco P, Zambardino G, Zambianchi E (2011) Dynamics of a very special Mediterranean coastal area: the Gulf of Naples. In: Columbus F (ed) Mediterranean Ecosystems: Dynamics, Management and Conservation. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, New York

  13. Crombie DD (1955) Doppler spectrum of sea echo at 13.56 Mc./s. Nature 175:681–682

  14. Csanady GT (1973) Turbulent diffusion in the environment. D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordecht

  15. Dahlin H, Flemming NC, Nittis K, Petersson SE (2003) Building the European Capacity in Operational Oceanography. Elsevier Oceanography Series, Vol. 69, Amsterdam

  16. De Maio A, Moretti M, Sansone E, Spezie G, Vultaggio M (1983) Dinamica delle acque del Golfo di Napoli e adiacenze. Risultati ottenuti dal 1977 al 1981. Annali Ist Univ Nav LI: 1–58

  17. De Maio A, Moretti M, Sansone E, Spezie G, Vultaggio M (1985) Outline of marine currents in the Bay of Naples and some considerations on pollutant transport. Nuovo Cimento 8C:955–969

  18. Emery BM, Washburn L, Harlan JA (2004) Evaluating radial current measurements from CODAR high-frequency radars with moored current meters. J Atmos Oceanic Technol 21:1259–1271

  19. Engie K, Klinger T (2007) Modeling passive dispersal through a large estuarine system to evaluate marine reserve network connections. Estuaries Coasts 30:201–213

  20. Esaias WE, Abbott MR, Barton I, Brown OB, Campbell JW, Carder KL, Clark DK, Evans RH, Hoge FE, Gordon HR, Balch WM, Letelier R, Minnett PJ (1998) An overview of MODIS capabilities for ocean science observations. IEEE T, Geosci Remote 36:1250–1265

  21. Flemming NC, Vallerga S, Pinardi N, Behrens HWA, Manzella G, Prandle D, Stel JH (2002) Operational Oceanography—Implementation at the European and Regional Scales. Elsevier Oceanography Series, Vol. 66, Amsterdam

  22. Gibbs MT, Hobday AJ, Sanderson B, Hewitt CL (2006) Defining the seaward extent of New Zealand’s coastal zone. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 66:240–254

  23. Gordon H, Morel A (1983) Remote assessment of ocean color for interpretation of satellite visible imagery: a review. In: Barber RT, Mooers CNK, Bowman MJ, Zeizschel B (eds) Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies, Vol 4. Springer, New York, pp 1–114

  24. Gravili D, Napolitano E, Pierini S (2001) Barotropic aspects of the dynamics of the Gulf of Naples (Tyrrhenian Sea). Cont Shelf Res 21:455–471

  25. Grieco L, Tremblay L-B, Zambianchi E (2005) A hybrid approach to transport processes in the Gulf of Naples: an application to phytoplankton and zooplankton population dynamics. Cont Shelf Res 25:711–728

  26. Kaplan DM, Lekien F (2007) Spatial interpolation and filtering of surface current data based on open-boundary modal analysis. J Geophys Res 112:C12007

  27. Kaplan DM, Largier J, Botsford LW (2005) HF radar observations of surface circulation off Bodega Bay (northern California, USA). J Geophys Res 110:C10020

  28. Largier JL, Lawrence CA, Roughan M, Kaplan DM, Dever EP, Dorman CE, Kudela RM, Bollens SM, Wilkerson FP, Dugdale RC, Botsford LW, Garfield N, Kuebel Cervantes B, Koracin D (2006) WEST: a northern California study of the role of wind-driven transport in the productivity of coastal plankton communities. Deep Sea Res II 53:2833–2849

  29. Lekien F, Coulliette C, Bank R, Marsden J (2004) Open boundary modal analysis: interpolation, extrapolation, and filtering. J Geophys Res 109:C12004

  30. Lipphardt BLJ, Kirwan ADJ, Grosch CE, Lewis JK, Paduan JD (2000) Blending HF radar and model velocities in Monterey Bay through normal mode analysis. J Geophys Res 105:3425–3450

  31. Lohrenz SE, Cai W-J, Chen X, Tuel M (2008) Satellite assessment of bio-optical properties of northern Gulf of Mexico coastal waters following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Sensors 8:4135–4150

  32. Menna M, Mercatini A, Uttieri M, Buonocore B, Zambianchi E (2007) Wintertime transport processes in the Gulf of Naples investigated by HF radar measurements of surface currents. Nuovo Cimento 30(C):605–622

  33. Mobley CD, Stramski D, Bissett WP, Boss E (2004) Optical modeling of ocean waters. Is the Case 1–Case 2 classification still useful? Oceanography 17:60–67

  34. Morel A (1988) Optical modeling of the upper ocean in relation to its biogenic matter content (case I waters). J Geophys Res 93:10749–10768

  35. Morel A, Prieur L (1977) Analysis of variations in ocean color. Limnol Oceanogr 22:709–722

  36. Moretti M, Sansone E, Spezie G, Vultaggio M, De Maio A (1976–1977) Alcuni aspetti del movimento delle acque del Golfo di Napoli. Annali Ist Univ Nav XLV-XLVI: 207–217

  37. Okubo A (1980) Diffusion and ecological problems: mathematical models. Springer, Berlin

  38. Oppenheimer CH, Oppenheimer DP, Blundo R (1981) An ecological survey of the Gulf of Naples area, conducted during September 15 to October 15, 1976, for the Region of Campania. In: Geyer RA (ed) Marine Environmental Pollution, 2 Dumping and Mining. Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam, pp 67–142

  39. Paduan JD, Cook MS (1997) Mapping surface currents in Monterey Bay with CODAR-type HF radar. Oceanography 10:49–52

  40. Paduan JD, Graber HC (1997) Introduction to High-Frequency radar: reality and myth. Oceanography 10:36–39

  41. Paduan JD, Kim KC, Cook MS, Chavez FP (2006) Calibration and validation of direction-finding high-frequency radar ocean surface current observations. IEEE J Ocean Eng 31:862–875

  42. Perusini V, Purini R, Moretti M, De Maio A (1992) Modelli di circolazione costiera. Primi risultati per la costa campana. Annali Ist Univ Nav LIX: 65–76

  43. Pierini S, Simioli A (1998) A wind-driven circulation model of the Tyrrhenian Sea area. J Mar Syst 18:161–178

  44. Ribera d’Alcalà M, Modigh M, Moretti M, Saggiomo V, Scardi M, Spezie G, Zingone A (1989) Una storia infinita. Eutrofizzazione nella Baia di Napoli. Oebalia XV: 491–501

  45. Ribera d’Alcalà M, Conversano F, Corato F, Licandro P, Mangoni O, Marino D, Mazzocchi MG, Modigh M, Montresor M, Nardella N, Saggiomo V, Sarno D, Zingone A (2004) Seasonal patterns in plankton communities in a pluriannual time series at a coastal Mediterranean site (Gulf of Naples): an attempt to discern recurrences and trends. Sci Mar 68:65–83

  46. Schmidt R (1986) Multiple emitter location and signal parameter estimation. IEEE T Antenn Propag 34:276–280

  47. Teague CC, Vesecky JF, Fernandez DM (1997) HF radar instruments, past to present. Oceanography 10:40–44

  48. Ullman DS, Codiga DL (2004) Seasonal variation of a coastal jet in the Long Island Sound outflow region based on HF radar and Doppler current observations. J Geophys Res 109:C07S06

  49. Zingone A, Montresor M, Marino D (1990) Summer phytoplankton physiognomy in coastal waters of the Gulf of Naples. P S Z N I Mar Ecol 11:157–172

  50. Zingone A, Casotti R, Ribera d’Alcalà M, Scardi M, Marino D (1995) ‘St Martin’s Summer’: the case of an autumn phytoplankton bloom in the Gulf of Naples (Mediterranean Sea). J Plankton Res 17:575–593

  51. Zingone A, Siano R, D’Alelio D, Sarno D (2006) Potentially toxic and harmful microalgae from coastal waters of the Campania region (Tyrrhenian Sea, Mediterranean Sea). Harmful Algae 5:321–337

  52. Zingone A, Dubroca L, Iudicone D, Margiotta F, Corato F, Ribera d’Alcalà M, Saggiomo V, Sarno D (2010) Coastal phytoplankton do not rest in winter. Estuaries Coasts 33:342–361

Download references


The authors wish to thank the organisers and participants of 42nd International Liege Colloquium on Ocean Dynamic for the constructive discussions on multiparametric observation of the sea. Insightful comments from two anonymous reviewers greatly improved this manuscript. The authors wish to thank Jeffrey Paduan for advice on coastal radar setup and data processing. Credits are also due to Giovanni Zambardino, Gennaro Bianco and Pasquale Mozzillo for supportive collaboration. The Dipartimento di Scienze per l’Ambiente of the “Parthenope” University operates the HF radar system on behalf of AMRA scarl (formerly CRdC AMRA), a Regional Competence Center for the Analysis and Monitoring of Environmental Risks. Our radar remote sites are hosted by the ENEA centre of Portici, the Fincantieri shipyard in Castellammare, the “Villa Angelina Village of High Education and Professional Training” and “La Villanella” resort in Massa Lubrense, whose hospitality is gratefully acknowledged. This work was partly funded by the MED TOSCA project, cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund; by the PROMETEO project, funded by the Campania Region; by the PRIMI project, financed by the Italian Space Agency; by the FISR–VECTOR project (subtasks 4.1.5 and 4.1.6). Partial support from the Procura della Repubblica (Public Prosecutor’s office) of Torre Annunziata is also acknowledged. M. U. was financially supported by a PROMETEO grant (WP03).

Author information

Correspondence to Marco Uttieri.

Additional information

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Multiparametric Observation and Analysis of the Sea

Responsible Editor: Pierre-Marie Poulain

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

(AVI 11,488 kb)

(AVI 11,604 kb)

(AVI 10,276 kb)

(AVI 10,282 kb)

(AVI 59,735 kb)

(AVI 76,944 kb)


(AVI 11,488 kb)


(AVI 11,604 kb)


(AVI 10,276 kb)


(AVI 10,282 kb)


(AVI 59,735 kb)


(AVI 76,944 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Uttieri, M., Cianelli, D., Nardelli, B.B. et al. Multiplatform observation of the surface circulation in the Gulf of Naples (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea). Ocean Dynamics 61, 779–796 (2011).

Download citation


  • Gulf of Naples
  • HF radar
  • Satellite
  • Transport model