Why has the level of the Mediterranean Sea dropped by a foot in just a few days?

In the past few weeks, the level of the Mediterranean Sea seems to have dropped sharply. An impressive phenomenon, which, according to meteorologists, is harmless.

Why is the water level of the Mediterranean Sea so low? From southern France to Algeria, many residents are wondering. In fact, the water at the edges of the beach has receded for a few days. This is actually a temporary, completely normal phenomenon.

As the tidal expert from the Navy’s Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service explains to our Paris colleagues, “it’s a phenomenon that occurs every year and this year is really amplified by a strong anticyclone”.

A quick return to normal

According to him, it is therefore a seasonal phenomenon “mainly linked to the rather cold water temperature, which causes the water masses to contract and thus lower the sea level, as well as reversals of the currents on the plain of the Strait of Gibraltar”. All this combined with a “fairly small amount of precipitation” leads to an increase in the phenomenon.

“It is reinforced by a large anticyclone and high pressures. This results in a drop of 20 cm, which is on top of the seasonal phenomenon of 10 cm,” he explains to our colleagues. Specifically, the level of the Medtirranea has dropped by “thirty centimetres”, but a return to normality should happen “quite quickly”.