Heat Content from Gliders and Satellites: Eastern Mediterranean Case Study

Yael Amitai*, Hezi Gildor, Aldo Shemesh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Heat content measured directly by ocean gliders in the Eastern Mediterranean (EM) Sea is compared to heat content inferred from remotely sensed sea surface properties, assuming a simple reduced-gravity model. Since the Middle East is one of the most responsive regions to climate changes, expected to be warmer and dryer, monitoring and studying the sea heat capacity and the effects on the local weather regime is of great importance. For example, EM heat content during fall was found to be significant in predicting the amount of precipitation over Israel in the following winter. Heat content is a function of both the mixed layer thickness and its mean temperature. Using temperature profiles observed by gliders, we can verify heat content inferred from remotely sensed sea surface temperature and sea level anomalies under reduced-gravity approximation and study its spatial and temporal variability. Sea gliders missions, conducted in high temporal resolution, provide detailed information on the water column thermal structure along its path. The comparison between the heat content obtained from gliders and the heat content calculated from remotely sensed properties shows that there are places and periods where a distinct separation between the surface and subsurface is found in the EM. This separation occurs when a subsurface dynamical eddy, e.g., is observed in the profiles collected by the glider but has no surface signature, hence is not detected by satellites. Furthermore, satellite products seem to poorly represent the heat content of coastal water which exhibit a different thermal structure than an open-water thermal structure. Another finding from the heat content comparison, obtained by two different methods, is that the subsurface is better represented by the surface during summer than during winter. This indicates that the strength of the stratification is also crucial when remotely monitoring heat content. In summary, heat content obtained directly by gliders, remotely by satellites, and the comparison between the two provides several important insights about water column thermal structure variability in one of the most sensitive regions to climate change. Ocean gliders mapping is needed when accurate heat content estimation is required.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationRecent Advancements from Aquifers to Skies in Hydrogeology, Geoecology, and Atmospheric Sciences - Proceedings of the 2nd MedGU, 2022 Volume 1
EditorsHaroun Chenchouni, Zhihua Zhang, Deepak Singh Bisht, Matteo Gentilucci, Mingjie Chen, Helder I. Chaminé, Maurizio Barbieri, Mahesh Kumar Jat, Jesús Rodrigo-Comino, Dionysia Panagoulia, Amjad Kallel, Arkoprovo Biswas, Veysel Turan, Jasper Knight, Attila Çiner, Carla Candeias, Zeynal Abiddin Ergüler
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)9783031470783
StatePublished - 2024
Event2nd International conference on Mediterranean Geosciences Union, MedGU 2022 - Marrakech, Morocco
Duration: 27 Nov 202230 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Science, Technology and Innovation
ISSN (Print)2522-8714
ISSN (Electronic)2522-8722


Conference2nd International conference on Mediterranean Geosciences Union, MedGU 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024.


  • Glider
  • Heat content
  • Satellite
  • Sea surface anomaly
  • Sea surface temperature


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