The Red Sea pp 329-342 | Cite as

Air–Sea Interaction and Horizontal Circulation in the Red Sea

Part of the Springer Earth System Sciences book series (SPRINGEREARTH)


This chapter discusses the horizontal circulation of the Red Sea and the surface meteorology that drives it, and recent satellite and in situ measurements from the region are used to illustrate properties of the Red Sea circulation and the atmospheric forcing. The surface winds over the Red Sea have rich spatial structure, with variations in speed and direction on both synoptic and seasonal timescales. Wintertime mountain-gap wind jets drive large heat losses and evaporation at some locations, with as much as 9 cm of evaporation in a week. The near-surface currents in the Red Sea exhibit similarly rich variability, with an energetic and complex flow field dominated by persistent, quasi-stationary eddies, and convoluted boundary currents. At least one quasi-stationary eddy pair is driven largely by winds blowing through a gap in the mountains (Tokar Gap), but numerical simulations suggest that much of the eddy field is driven by the interaction of the buoyancy-driven flow with topography. Recent measurements suggest that Gulf of Aden Intermediate Water (GAIW) penetrates further northward into the Red Sea than previously reported.


Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler Boundary Current Anticyclonic Eddy Cyclonic Eddy Dynamic Height 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Data collection during the WHOI-KAUST collaboration was made possible by Award Nos. USA00001, USA00002, and KSA00011 to the WHOI by the KAUST in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical OceanographyWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA

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