Phytoplankton Variability in Summer in the Northwestern Mediterranean: Modelling of the Wind and Freshwater Impacts


  • Christel Pinazo
  • Patrick Marsaleix
  • Bertrand Millet
  • Claude Estournel
  • Véronique Kondrachoff
  • Raoul Véhi


Numerical model, physical and biogeochemical coupling, phytoplankton biomass, freshwater supply, northwestern Mediterranean.


A coupling between a 3-D mesoscale hydrodynamic model and a biogeochemical model was performed in the northwestern Mediterranean to reproduce the major processes of carbon and nitrogen cycles involved in the new production of phytoplankton biomass, The study was focused on simulating the real conditions of the EURHOGLI campaign, performed in summer in the Gulf of Lions (June-July 19831. Results of the coupled model showed the high variability of the Rhone river plume position and the associated phytoplankton biomass. The validation of the model was in good accordance with field measurements and CZCS and AVHRR remote sensing pictures available at the period considered. In addition, results showed that the phytoplankton biomass induced by freshwater nutrient s was strongly controlled by the variability of the local wind conditions. The model, performed with representative forcing conditions, allowed to better understand the representative phytoplankton features that prevails in summer in the Gulf of Lions, where both strong winds and freshwater runoffs interact.