Seasonal and interannual variations (1996–2000) of the coastal waters east of the Rhone river mouth as indicated by the SORCOM series

Walid A.N Younes, Nathaniel Bensoussan, Jean-Claude Romano, Denise Arlhac, Michel-Guy Lafont
2003 Oceanologica Acta  
Between 1996 and 2000, 79 cruises have been achieved following always the same transect between Marseilles and the Rhone river's mouth. While cruising, salinity, temperature and fluorescence of surface waters (1.5 m) were recorded every minute, in association with precise GPS position. The whole set of data (i.e. 128 measured points per cruise) constitutes the Sorcom series whose synthetic results are presented here. Despite the high spatial and temporal variability encountered between two
more » ... ssive cruises, the regularity and duration of the sampling strategy permitted to define coherent spatial zonation and temporal evolutions. In the Cape Couronne vicinity the dynamic of the eastern extension of the dilution plume clearly changes. Westward, waters are frequently under its influence, but more sporadically to the east, with a less pronounced gradient. In few cases, salinity lowering has been measured up to the gulf of Marseilles. In these two areas, which can be divided in two sub zones, seasonal evolutions are different. In the eastern area (Cape Couronne-Marseilles), the classical rhythm prevailing over marine waters is observed but with earlier phytoplanktonic bloom than usually reported. In the western part, and as getting closer to the Rhone river mouth, a weaker seasonal variability is observed for the phytoplanktonic biomass then salinity and temperature differences remain high. The better knowledge of the eastern dilution plume is of important socio-economical concern due to the numerous population living on this coast and the presence of pollutants in the river waters. correspondant pas à la direction privilégiée du panache, revêt une importance socio-économique particulière du fait de la population qui vit sur cette côte et de la présence, dans les eaux du fleuve, d'un cortège de polluants amenés par le drainage du bassin versant.
doi:10.1016/s0399-1784(03)00037-9 fatcat:pdccddhp7fhmvkqap4p57dikmi