A Mediterranean Mystery [with a Saros solution]

A Mediterranean Mystery

The waters of the Mediterranean are relatively calm and on a still day the sea at my favourite beach [Almayate – which is close to Malaga, Spain] can be as calm as a millpond.

The tidal range at Almayate is [as Wikipedia states] very limited.

Being nearly landlocked affects conditions in the Mediterranean Sea: for instance, tides are very limited as a result of the narrow connection with the Atlantic Ocean.

The Mediterranean is characterised and immediately recognised by its deep blue colour.


The sea currents at Almayate are also fairly benign.

Evaporation greatly exceeds precipitation and river runoff in the Mediterranean, a fact that is central to the water circulation within the basin.

Evaporation is especially high in its eastern half, causing the water level to decrease and salinity to increase eastward.

The salinity at 5 m depth is 3.8%.

The pressure gradient pushes relatively cool, low-salinity water from the Atlantic across the basin; it warms and becomes saltier as it travels east, then sinks in the region of the Levant and circulates westward, to spill over the Strait of Gibraltar.

Thus, seawater flow is eastward in the Strait’s surface waters, and westward below; once in the Atlantic, this chemically distinct Mediterranean Intermediate Water can persist thousands of kilometres away from its source.


Mediterranean Currents
The Messinian Salinity Crisis (1/3) – Salt all over the Mediterranean
Retos Terricolas – Daniel Garcia-Castellanos – 28 Oct 2010

Basically, Almayate appears to be a textbook example of a Mediterranean shoreline.

However, inexplicably the whole tidal range at Almayate slowly advanced up the beach and then eventually began to retreat over a period of a few years – peaking around 2009-2010.


Camping Almanat

Effectively, Almayate experienced [for a year – or so] a sea level rise of [about] two metres.

The effects of this rise in the tidal range were quite dramatic.

Firstly, the usually spacious beach area suddenly became very crowded during the summer months because the beach had shrunk quite dramatically.

Secondly, the high tides began to undermine the terraces and foundations of the beach restaurants.

Of the two beach side restaurants that I frequent only one could afford to truck in [and mechanically manoeuvre] enough large boulders and cement to protect their foundations.

The second restaurant was less fortunate and the front terrace was undermined and the restaurant was forced to close when the terrace collapsed into the sea.

Thirdly, the sea [at high tide] started to encroach onto the adjacent stables, camping area and farm land which were temporarily protected by makeshift dykes of sand and gravel from the beach.

Almayate Stables

Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, y Medio Rural y Marino responde
Asociación Naturista Nudista de Andalucía – Joseluisdv – 1 December 2011

The extraordinary aspect of this whole episode is that [as far as I can tell] there appears to be no mainstream interest in this event and no mainstream explanation for the change in the tidal range.

I could understand mainstream indifference if these events were associated with a storm [or series of storms] but it’s a different matter when the coastline experiences 666 years worth of Global Warming sea level rise [officially said to be about 3 mm per year] in the space of a few years.

However, this indifference is probably because when it comes to the Mediterranean the mainstream gets a little weird with their blotchy [and sometimes negative] trends in the Mediterranean sea level.

For example, when modelling “the altimeter sea level trend” for the Mediterranean the mainstream suggests that the sea level is rising at [about] +7 mm per year off the west coast Crete while it is simultaneously falling by [about] -4 mm per year off the east coast of Crete.

This 11 mm per year difference implies that after 10 years there would be a difference in sea level of [roughly] 110 mm [11 cm] between these two proximate locations.

Satellite measurements show a rate of global mean sea-level rise of around 3.2 mm/year over the last two decades.

Trend in absolute sea level
European Environment Agency (EEA) – Global and European sea-level rise

Digging deeper it appears that there are distinct differences in absolute sea level across the Mediterranean during the Winter and Summer.

These dramatic differences are simply attributed [by the mainstream] to heat content and winds.

Summer vs Winter Sea Level Patterns
Oceanic seasons (seasonal changes in sea-level height caused by a change in heat content and prevailing winds) were discovered in the Mediterranean Sea.

Jason-2 Using Satellite Altimetry to Monitor the Ocean

These sea level patterns are variable and can change from week to week.

The Mediterranean Sea shows a complex circulation, which is characterized by a high spatial and interannual variability in each sub-basin: Alboran Sea, Algerian basin, Tyrrhenian basin, Balearic Sea, Ionian Basin, Aegean Sea, Levantine basin.

The two regular eddies of the Alboran Sea (1 ° W, 36 ° N) are visible over the almost whole period.
Off the Algerian coasts, the animation shows the evolution of several eddies detached from the Algerian current which it flows along the coast.

In the Tyrrhenian basin (between Corsica-Sardinia and Italy), the Absolute Dynamic Topography clearly shows the presence of the intermittent Bonifacio cyclonic gyre, centered near 41.5 ° N between late August and early November.

In the Levantine Basin, South of Crete, the seasonal activity of the Ierapetra gyre is detected from late August and continues until the end of the period represented, in November.

Altimetry Animation
Mediterranean animated currents
CNES – AVISO Satellite Altimetry Data – 14 March 2008

The implication of these seasonal and weekly sea level changes is that these patterns can also change annually [and over longer time scales] due to changes in tides, winds and weather patterns.

All these short and long term oscillations in the sea level of the Mediterranean may help explain why the data modellers produce such ludicrously patchy long term tends in sea level changes.

However, none of this explains the strange observations at Almayate beach.

But there is one clue tucked away in the temporal data used by the data modellers.

The clue lies in the underlying trend in the annual sea level data.

The modellers identified a negative trend between 1993-98 and a positive trend between 2008-12.

However, a more accurate description could be that there is an underlying 18 years cycle with minimums occurring [overall] in the “European Area” during 1994 and 2012.

A negative trend can be distinguished over the period 1993-1998 and a positive trend over the period 2008-2012, suggesting that both products are converging over the first period and diverging over the second one.

Temporal Evolution of Mean Sea Level in Europe

For Sea Level TAC products
Copernicus Marine Service – 25 March 2014

Digging further into this European “negative trend” [between 1993-1998] it appears water was strangely stacking up in the Eastern Mediterranean between 1993-2000 [10 mm x 7 years = 70 mm] whilst simultaneously dipping down near the south coast of Italy [-10 mm x 7 years = -70 mm].

Sea level trend in the Mediterranean for January 1993 to July 2000. (Credits Legos).

CNES – AVISO – Mean rise in sea level is only part of the story – March 2001

This strangeness of this pattern of sea level change in the Mediterranean between 1993-2000 is further underlined by the Western Mediterranean [generally] experiencing rises of just 0 to 5 mm.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a matching graphic to cover the “positive trend” in the “European Area” during 2008-2012 but the evidence from Almayate suggests that during this period water was stacking up in the Western Mediterranean.

This apparent 18 year cycle [in the merged European data] may imply an association with the 18 year Saros cycle [when Sun, Earth, and Moon return to approximately the same relative geometry].

The saros is a period of approximately 223 synodic months (approximately 6585.3211 days, or 18 years, 11 days, 8 hours), that can be used to predict eclipses of the Sun and Moon.

One saros period after an eclipse, the Sun, Earth, and Moon return to approximately the same relative geometry, a near straight line, and a nearly identical eclipse will occur, in what is referred to as an eclipse cycle.

After one saros, the Moon will have completed roughly an integer number of lunar orbit cycles and synodic, draconic, and anomalistic periods (241, 223, 242, and 239) and the Earth-Sun-Moon geometry will be nearly identical: the Moon will have the same phase and be at the same node and the same distance from the Earth.

In addition, because the saros is close to 18 years in length (about 11 days longer), the earth will be nearly the same distance from the sun, and tilted to it in nearly the same orientation (same season)


This association would make perfect sense because tides are associated the combined effects of the Sun and the Moon upon the Earth.

Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of gravitational forces exerted by the Moon, Sun, and rotation of the Earth.

The times and amplitude of tides at a locale are influenced by the alignment of the Sun and Moon, by the pattern of tides in the deep ocean, by the amphidromic systems of the oceans, and the shape of the coastline and near-shore bathymetry.


If this theory is correct then the tidal range at Almayate should next be at its maximum in 2028-29.

Only time will tell.

However, whether the mainstream will ever recognise these long term trends is doubtful.

This is primarily because the mainstream believe they “know” exactly how tides function and “know” exactly how each tidal component functions.

Semi-Diurnal Components


Based upon this “knowledge” of tides they can subtract their computed tidal influence from the measured sea level data so that any [positive or negative] remainder can be attributed to winds, currents and sea level rise [by the relevant sub-specialists who are blindly working in the dark].

This partitioning of the data enables the sub-specialists to produce, for example, this remarkable image [from the non-tidal remainder] of the Mediterranean sea surface topography [with a North-South gradient of up to 30 centimetres] which they claim is solely attributable “to mean ocean circulation” during 1993-1999.

Topography due to mean ocean circulation

Mean Dynamic Topography 1993-1999 (sea surface topography due to mean ocean circulation), computed from altimetric, in situ and Grace gravimetry satellite data


This partitioning [aka divvying-up] of the data based upon the preconceived ideas of Settled Science means Earth Scientists will continue to churn out bizarre and erratic sea level change data as they flounder in the dark abyss of mainstream tidal theory.

Sad but true.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Spain, Tides, Water. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Mediterranean Mystery [with a Saros solution]

  1. A C Osborn says:

    Off topic, but you might find it of interest.
    Could this be yet another poke in the eye with a stick for “Settled Science”?
    According to the said settled science and it’s “laws” this can’t happen.
    But even with more rigorous tests it is still happening.


  2. tallbloke says:

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Interesting empirical evidence from the sunny Mediterranean points to geo-effective lunar cycles altering tidal ranges.

  3. rishrac says:

    +1 on this article.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Also of note is that three of these clycles has the recurrance over the same face of the Earth, giving that near 54 to 60 year weather cycle. Full moon at perigee over the pacific having a different effect globally than when over mid-Asia.

    I did a posting on that some years back but never went back to clean it up with proper math and data maps. Starting from this 18 year point and moving it forward to three cycles and ocean tide patterns would likely be a better approach. If you have 60 year Mediterranean Sea data, that would likely show something interesting too.

  5. p.g.sharrow says:

    Over the years I have noticed even very small bodies of water have “tides” that slosh from side to side as well as end to end. Wind and gravity changes set up the motion and the shape of the basin set the frequency…pg

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