Mediterranean sea (oceanography)

A mediterranean sea /ˌmɛdɪtəˈrniən/ is, in oceanography, a mostly enclosed sea that has limited exchange of water with outer oceans and with water circulation dominated by salinity and temperature differences rather than winds.[1][2] The eponymous Mediterranean Sea, for example, is almost completely enclosed by Europe, Asia, and Africa.

List of mediterranean seas

The mediterranean seas of the Atlantic Ocean

The Mediterranean seas of the Indian Ocean

Types of mediterranean seas

There are two types of mediterranean sea.

Concentration basin

  • A concentration basin has a higher salinity than the outer ocean due to evaporation, and its water exchange consists of inflow of the fresher oceanic water in the upper layer and outflow of the saltier mediterranean water in the lower layer of the connecting channel.
    • The Red Sea
    • The Persian Gulf
    • The Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea is also a concentration basin as a whole, but the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea are dilution basins (see below) owing to the Danube, Don, and Dnieper Rivers and the Po River respectively.

Dilution basin

  • A dilution basin has a lower salinity due to freshwater gains such as rainfall and rivers, and its water exchange consists of outflow of the fresher mediterranean water in the upper layer and inflow of the saltier oceanic water in the lower layer of the channel. Renewal of deep water may not be sufficient to supply oxygen to the bottom.
    • The Arctic Ocean
    • The American Mediterranean Sea
    • The Baltic Sea
    • Baffin Bay
    • The Australasian Mediterranean Sea


  • The Hudson Bay is so shallow it functions like a huge estuary.[6]
  • Having shallow channels and deep basins, the Sea of Japan could form a mediterranean sea, but the strong currents from the Pacific prevent it from having an independent water circulation.
  • The Baltic Sea is a brackish inland sea, alleged to be the largest body of brackish water in the world (other possibilities include the Black Sea). It occupies a basin formed by glacial erosion.

See also


  1. Kämpf, Jochen (2010). "5.5.2 : Mediterranean Seas". Advanced Ocean Modelling: Using Open-Source Software. Heidelberg: Springer Science & Business Media. p. 138. ISBN 9783642106101. Retrieved 2017-09-05. Mediterranean seas of the Indian Ocean are the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, and the Australasian Mediterranean Sea, including the Banda, Sulu, Sulawesi and Java Seas, being connected with the Pacific Ocean.
  2. Tomczak, M.; Godfrey, J. Stuart (2003). "Chapter 7: Arctic oceanography; the path of North Atlantic Deep Water" (PDF). Regional oceanography : an introduction (2nd ed.). Delhi: Daya. ISBN 8170353068. OCLC 52613155. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  3. General oceanography : an introduction (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley. 1980. p. 501. ISBN 0471021024. OCLC 6200221.
  4. The Oceans Their Physics, Chemistry, and General Biology. pp. 15, 35 and 637–643.
  5. Tang, Charles C. L; Ross, Charles K.; Yao, Tom; Petrie, Brian; DeTracey, Brendan M.; Dunlap, Ewa (2004-12-01). "The circulation, water masses and sea-ice of Baffin Bay". Progress in Oceanography. 63 (4): 183–228. doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2004.09.005. ISSN 0079-6611.
  6. "Hudson Bay Estuaries". Retrieved 2019-05-23.
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