Oceans and seas

Balearic Channels

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The Balearic Channels are the Ibiza Channel, the Mallorca Channel and the deep trough in the Gulf of Valencia, all features found within the Balearic Sea caption Balearic Islands and Gulf of Valencia. Source: Wikipedia

According to Pinot et al. [2002], the Balearic Channels are key passages for the meridional exchange between the cooler, more saline waters of the northern basin and the warmer, fresher waters of the southern (Algerian) basin of the western Mediterranean.

The Northern Current carries northern waters from the Gulf of Lions southward along the continental slope in the Balearic Sea. This current bifurcates as it reaches the northern end of the Ibiza Channel. The main branch proceeds southward and crosses the sill carrying cool and salty water into the Algerian Basin, while the minor one is retroflected cyclonically and returns to the northeast forming the Balearic Current that crosses the continental slope of the islands. This latter current is also fed by warmer, fresher southern waters from the Algerian Basin, which flow northward through both channels. This smooth pattern obtained from a climatological analysis was later found to be the average picture of a highly fluctuating circulation.

Channel Islands ecology

See main article: Northeastern Spain and Southern France Mediterranean forests

On the Balearic Islands, thick stands of wild olive (Olea europaea) and carob (Ceratonia siliqua) are termed the Northeastern Spain and Southern France Mediterranean forests; these forests have long been considered a lush locale to inhabit or visit. Some parts of these islands are teeming with millions of birds of vast diversity. The ecoregion encompasses several centers of plant diversity and has a high floral endemism rate. These natural environments, along with the inviting beaches of the Balearic Sea, have given the region an appeal that has meant a long history of human pressure on its ecology. Forest fires, urbanization, agriculture, pollution, and intensive water usage all threaten the biodiversity of this ecoregion.

Further Reading

  • Peter Saundry. 2011. Seas of the world. Topic. ed. C.Michael Hogan. Ed.-in-chief Cutler J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth.
  • Paul A. Tyler. 2003. Ecosystems of the deep oceans. (Google eBook) Elsevier. 569 pages
  • J.-M. Pinot, J. L. L´opez-Jurado, and M. Riera. The CANALES experiment (1996–1998). Interannual, seasonal, and mesoscale variability of the circulation in the Balearic Channels. Progress in Oceanography, 55:335–370, 2002.
  • Sergi Tudela. 2004. Ecosystem effects of fishing in the Mediterranean: an analysis of the major threats of fishing gear and practices to biodiversity and marine habitats. General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). Food & Agriculture Org. 44 pages


Hogan, C. (2014). Balearic Channels. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51cbed097896bb431f68f313


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