SYNTHESIS REPORT

Master Thesis - Civil Engineering
Prof. Schleiss Anton, thesis supervisor
Mr. J. Franca Mario, thesis coordinator
Mr. Gustav R. Grob, external advisor
Mr. Zeimetz Fraenz, tutor
Mr. Smaoui Hassan, tutor




* Corresponding author. Tel.: +41 78 9121076
E-mail address: ha-phong.nguyen@epfl.ch
Numerical modelling of the Strait of Gibraltar for the purpose of a
project to stabilize the level of Mediterranean Sea from the globally
rising ocean levels
Ha-Phong Nguyen
a
*
a
Laboratory of Hydraulic Construction, EPFL, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

REPORT I N F O
Article history:
Received 20 June 2014

Keywords:
Finite difference
Numerical model
Sea level increase
Strait of Gibraltar
Tidal barrage
Tidal simulation

A B S T R A C T
In recent year, the threat of the rising ocean level due to global warming endangers coastal area. To solve
flooding problems in the Mediterranean shores, a dam project within the Strait of Gibraltar, called
MEDSHILD, is proposed in order to lower the sea level of the whole region. The objective of this study is
to simulate the water exchange through the Strait by considering the tidal forcing and to determine an
optimal closure that allows keeping the Mediterranean level constant by considering a climate change
scenario of 50 centimetres. A two dimensional general circulation model called MECCA (Model for
Estuarine and Coastal Circulation Assessment) is used. It is a sigma coordinates, time varying free
surface, primitive equation ocean model and uses the implicit finite difference techniques to solve the
hydrodynamic equations. The model works under the hydrostatic and Boussinesq approximations. The
domain incorporates actual bathymetry in very high resolution. Uniform horizontal and vertical grid
spacing of 500 metres is used. The model is forced along the open boundaries (Atlantic Ocean and
Alboran Sea) through the specification of the semidiurnal tidal heights. As first results, computed M2 and
S2 amplitudes and phases are in good agreement with data in literature. Model results indicate, also, that a
closed area equal to 90% is sufficient to maintain the Mediterranean constant, coupled with a non-
negligible increase of the Atlantic level. The potential total annual tidal energy that can be extracted from
the barrage is assessed to range between 680 and 1364 GWh.
© 2014 EPFL. All rights reserved.


1. Introduction
Since decade, the Strait of Gibraltar is an area of great strategic
importance, given its geographical position between Africa and Europe.
Its position at a crossroad between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean
constitue a major corridor for maritime traffic. Over the years, many
projects, like the dam of German architect Sörgel or the railway tunnel of
Lombardi Engineering Ltd, were developed in order to make the Western
Mediterranean area a key exchange passage between Africa and Europe.
Nowadays, bridging the gap between the two continents is still relevant,
but for others reasons than economic. Indeed, many surveys (Nicholls and
Hoozemans 1996; Gonella et al. 1998; Brochier and Ramieri 2001;
Nicholls 2002; Snoussi, Ouchani, and Niazi 2008; Vargas Yánez 2010;
Cronin 2012; Jevrejeva, Moore, and Grinsted 2012; Horton et al. 2014)
highlighted the threat of the constantly sea level rise on the coastal area of
the Mediterranean, Black and Red seas. Risk of flooding, erosion, salinity
intrusion, safety of foundations, to name but a few of the most serious
cases currently threatening the coastal population, deltas and islands.
More recently, according to the fifth assessment report on climate change
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Church, J.A. et al.
2013), scientists expect an increase of seal level of 26 cm to 98 cm by
2100 against 18 cm to 59 cm in the Fourth Assessment Report (Meehl,
G.A et al. 2007). As a result, the coastal populations and areas will be
subject to more frequent risk of flooding and erosion, two phenomena
aggravated by the massive urbanization of seashores.
It is in this context that the International Sustainable Energy Organisation
2 SYNTHESIS REPORT

and the International Clean Energy Consortium decided to launch the
Millenium Energy Project to protect the Mediterranean, Black and Red
seas regions from flooding and erosion. The project consists of a number
of dam subprojects: the MEDSHILD and the REDSHILD. Both aim to
control the sea level rise on the Atlantic side (MEDSHILD) and Indian
Ocean (REDSHILD). Beyond the main goal to maintain at a constant
level the Mediterranean, Black and Red Sea, the Millenium project will
also become one of the largest sustainable energy parks due to the
numerous hydropower, wind power, solar energy, marine power and deep
geothermal cogeneration technology expected. As part of this research,
the MEDSHILD subproject has been studied. This dam within the Strait
of Gibraltar should contain, amongst other things like fish passes or
electrical production facilities, a gap in order to maintain the high density
maritime traffic, assessed at more than 300 merchant ships per day.

In the present work, a numerical model is applied to the Strait of Gibraltar
in order to reproduce the mean exchange and the semidiurnal tidal
exchange through the strait. If successful, the next step would be to
determine the size of the gap needed to ensure a constant level of the
Mediterranean to solve flooding problems due to global warming.

The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 starts with a description of
GCM, in particularly the MECCA model used for the simulations. It
continues showing details on model configuration and experiment
performed. In section 3, procedures to validate MECCA model are
conducted. Section 4 is devoted to present the results of simulations both
for the basic and climate scenario under different closures of the strait. An
estimation of the annual energy output from the tidal barrage is also
presented. Finally conclusions and recommendations complete this paper
in section 5.
Nomenclature
GCM General Circulation Model
MECCA Model for Estuarine and Coastal Circulation Assessment
2. Model Description
The two dimensional vertically integrated tidal model MECCA developed
by Smaoui and Ouahsine (2006) is used for this study. The general
circulation model MECCA is initially designed by Hess (1986) to study
costal, estuarine and open ocean circulation. The numerical ocean model
MECCA has been already used successfully in some applications
including the simulation of tidal flow and sediment transport at the
English Channel (Smaoui 1996) and the Mediterranean Sea (Berthet
1996). In this study, the model is implemented for the Strait of Gibraltar.

MECCA model is a sigma coordinates
1
, time varying free surface, and
primitive equation ocean model. It uses the finite difference
approximations to solve the hydrodynamic equations of momentum, mass,
heat, salt and temperature conservation (Hess 2000) on a beta plane.



1
The vertical coordinates is defined as fractions of the total water depths (Torsvik
2013). Also known as “terrain following” coordinate system.
MECCA 2D model assumes the hydrostatic and Boussinesq
approximation. Thanks to its ability to simulate three dimensional water
currents in a shallow water domain (for time scales varying from a few
minutes to several months and space scales ranging from a few kilometers
to a few hundred kilometers), MECCA is able to reproduce the circulation
forcing by wind, tidal effects, water density and atmospheric pressure
gradient as well as surface fluxes.
2.1. Governing Equations
In the orthogonal Cartesian coordinate system (x, y, z), x and y are
oriented Eastward and Northward respectively, z, the vertical coordinate
increases upward from the sea surface. Metric units are used throughout
unless specifically noted. The following expressions are used to describe
the linearized equations of motion.

!!
!!
! !!! ! !" ! !
!
!
!
!!
!!
!
!
!!
!
!
!!
!!
! !
!
!!!
!!
!!
! !!! ! !" ! !
!
!
!
!!
!!
!
!
!!
!
!
!!
!!
! !
!
!!!
!" ! !
!"
!"
!!!
Where ! ! !! !! ! is the velocities in x, y and z direction respectively;
! ! !!!"# !the Coriolis parameter; !0 the reference density; p the
pressure; Av the vertical viscosity; Fu and Fv the horizontal viscosity
terms. The conservation equations for temperature and salinity are:

!!
!!
! !!" !
!
!!
!
!
!!
!!
! !"
!
! !
!
!!!
!!
!!
! !!" !
!
!!
!
!
!!
!!
! !"
!
! !
!
!!!
With T the temperature; S the salinity; ! ! !! !! ! the velocities in x, y
and z direction respectively; Dv the vertical diffusivity; (DHT, DHS) and
(RT, RS) the horizontal diffusion and sources and sinks of heat and salinity
respectively. The fluid density is computed according to an equation of
state of the form:
! ! !
!
! ! !
!
!! ! !!!
Where T is the temperature; S the salinity; ! the fluid density; F! an
empirical function used to calculate the perturbation density from the
temperature and salinity. In MECCA 2D, the Boussinesq hypothesis is
used. Finally, the conservation of mass is expressed by the incompressible
continuity equation:

!!
!!
!
!!
!!
!
!!
!!
! ! !!!
With (u, v, w) the components of the three dimensional velocity vector !.
2.2. Mixing and Diffusion
Motions induced by small scale mixing processes (e.g. not directly
resolved by the model grid) are parameterized by horizontal eddy
viscosity/diffusivity terms. In Equations (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5), the terms
3

“Fu”, “Fv” , “DHT” and “DHS” represent these unresolved processes and
are defined by turbulent horizontal mixing and diffusion terms, computed
as follow (Blumberg and Mellor 1987).

!
!
!
!
!!
!!
!
!!
!!
!
!
!!
!!
!
!!
!!
!
!!
!!
!!!
!
!
!
!
!!
!!
!
!!
!!
!
!
!!
!!
!
!!
!!
!
!!
!!
!!!
!!
!!!
!
!
!!
!
!
! !! !
!!
!
!
!!
!
!
! !! !
!!
!!"!
Where ! ! !! !! ! is velocities in x, y and z direction respectively; T
the temperature; S the salinity; Ah and Dh the horizontal diffusivities. The
terms “Ah” and “Dh” found in Equations (8), (9) and (10) represent the
horizontal turbulent viscosity and diffusivity respectively. According to
Smagorinsky (1963), these depend on the horizontal velocity shear, the
local deformation field and on the horizontal grid spacing.

!
!
! !
!
! !
!!
! !!!!! !
!!
!!
!
! !
!!
!!
!
!
!!
!!
!
!!
!!
!
!
!
!!!!
With Ah0 a small background horizontal viscosity of 10 m
2
s
-1
; " a
constant equal to 10
-2
; #x and #y the grid sizes; ! ! !! !! ! the
velocities in x, y and z direction respectively.
2.3. Equations for Av and Dv
Equations (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) are not completed without including the
vertical turbulent viscosity “Av”, and the vertical diffusivity “Dv”. Many
papers on turbulence modelling for flows in oceans exist, see for instance
Davies, Luyten, and Deleersnijder (1995). However, there are many
possible factors (e.g. stratification, tidal forcing, vertical resolution, etc.)
that may influence the choice of which turbulence model may work best
for our application.

In the present study, based on previous experience of MECCA
applications (Smaoui 1996; Smaoui and Ouahsine 2006), a one equation
turbulence model is used to parameterize the vertical turbulent mixing
processes. According to Smaoui (1996): « The MECCA model was
applied successfully to the English Channel area to simulate a tidal flow
and the sediment transport (Smaoui 1996). Simulations have shown that
the model gives good results concerning the wave propagation (e.g. mean
velocity and sea elevation) compared to the available data or other
existing models. However, simulations of the dispersion of the fresh water
plume show some difference between the available observations (Smaoui
1996): MECCA model overestimates the width of the fresh water plume.
This difference has been attributed to the turbulence-closure scheme
initially used in the model (zero-equation model), and to the implicit
mixing caused by the spatial discretization of the advection term. To solve
in part this problem, a one-equation model was introduced. It consists in
solving an equation for the turbulent kinetic energy, K (Equation (12)),
and a semi-empirical expression for the mixing length. The selection of
this turbulent scheme is justified by (i) the shallow depth in the simulated
region, which makes the boundary layer thickness occupy nearly the
totality of the water column and (ii) the modest means of computation ».

In their concluding remarks, Davies, Luyten, and Deleersnijder (1995)
state that the one equation models turbulence model are a reliable
alternative to two equations and allow to reduce computational cost while
giving sufficiently accurate results for a wide range of problem.

The governing equation for the one equation turbulence diffusion scheme
used in this study takes the form:

!!
!!
! !!" !
!
!!
!
!
!
!
!!
!!
! ! ! ! ! !
!
! ! !!"!
This is the prognostic equation for turbulence energy K used in MECCA
where ! ! !! !! ! is the velocities in x, y and z direction respectively; P
the shear production of turbulence energy (e.g. kinetic energy); G the rate
of conversion of turbulence energy into potential energy which appears as
the dissipation of turbulence energy by buoyancy; DK the horizontal
diffusion of turbulence energy; $ the turbulence energy dissipation rate
(Davies, Luyten, and Deleersnijder 1995). In the one equation model, the
turbulence energy dissipation “$” in Equation (12) is given by Davies,
Luyten, and Deleersnijder (1995):

! !
!
!
!
!
!
!
!!"!
With S1=0.046
3/4
for homogeneous flow (Davies, Luyten, and
Deleersnijder 1995). K is the turbulence energy; l the mixing length.

The mixing length “l” in Equation (13) is a function of the turbulent
energy and depends on the mixing lengths “l0” and “lm” given by
(Blackadar 1962):

!
!
!
!"
! !
!"
!
!
!!"!
!
!
! !
!
! !!"
!"#$%&'
!"#
!!"
!"#$%&'
!"#
!!"!
Where ! ! !!! is the Von Karman constant; !
!
a constant in the range 0.1
to 0.4 (Blackadar 1962). In stratified flow configurations, in order to
consider the effects of stratification on turbulence energy, the mixing
length is multiplied by a correction factor expressed in terms of the
Richardson number (Munk 1948).

! ! !
!
! ! !"!"
!!
! !!"!
Where l0 is defined according to Equation (14); Ri is the Richardson
number defined in Equation (17).

!" ! !
!
!
!!
!!
!!
!!
!
!
!!
!!
!
!!
!!"!
Finally, the eddy viscosity “Av” and diffusivity “Dv” defined in Equations
Equations (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) are computed as function of the
turbulence energy “K” and the mixing length “l”.

!
!
! !
!
!
!
!! !!"!

4 SYNTHESIS REPORT

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!!"!
K is the turbulence energy; l the mixing length defined in Equation (16);
!
!
the Prandtl number; !
!
! !!!!"# the coefficient of friction.
2.4. Model Grid and Bathymetry
Area covered by the model contains the Strait of Gibraltar, and is limited
by the two sub-basins on both sides of the Straits; namely the Gulf of
Cadiz and the Alboran Sea. The model domain extends longitudinally
from 6.241° to 4.567° West and 35° to 36.666° North. Horizontal grid is
made by 306 x 330 grid points. It is characterized by a uniform spacing
and a high spatial resolution of 500 metres in both directions in order to
well resolve the dynamic within the Strait of Gibraltar Sannino (2004).
The model topography was generated by linear interpolation of the depth
data on to each grid point of the model grid. The depth data were obtained
from the EMODnet Bathymetry portal (available at http://www.emodnet-
bathymetry.eu). Model bathymetry is illustrated in Figure (1) with the
main topographic features (from left to right): Spartel sill, Tangier basin,
Camarinal sill, Tarifa narrow.



















2.5. Boundary and initial conditions
As shown in Figure 1 the domain is composed of two open boundaries
located at the Eastern and Western end of the computation domain. At
these boundaries, values of surface elevation (!) or mean velocity (!! !)
should be specified. A lot of setting for open boundary conditions exists,
however, in this study, boundaries conditions used are the same as used
by Sannino, Bargagli, and Artale (2002) and Sannino (2004). Indeed, they
are proven to give the best model results for an application in the Strait of
Gibraltar. A description of these boundaries is set forth hereafter.
For boundary conditions on either side of the computational domain, they
need to ensure that phenomena (e.g. waves) generated inside the domain
can freely leave it without being reflected at the boundaries and
accordingly contaminate the interior solution (Schot 1992; Blumberg and
Kantha 1985). For the purpose of minimizing the effects due to wave
reflection at the open boundaries, a force Orlansky radiation condition
(Orlanski 1976) is used for the sea surface elevation (!). According to
Bills and Noye (1987), this can be state as follow:

!
!
!!
!
!
!
!
!"
!!
!
!
! !
!"
!
!"
!
!
!
!!
!
!
! !"!
!!!
!
! !
!"
!
!!"!
Where !
!
!
is the surface elevation at the i grid point for the open
boundaries at time step n; !" ! !!! !!! the Courant number in x-
direction; !
!"
!!!
the tidal elevation at grid point i and time step n-1; !
!"
the
time independent mean sea elevation at grid point i (Bills and Noye 1987;
Sannino 2004).

As explained by Sannino (2004), Equation (20) « incorporates a radiation
mechanism that allows the undesired transients to pass through the open
boundaries, going out of the model basin, without contaminating the
desired forced solution ». In Equation (20), the sea elevation at the grid
points (!
!
!
) situated on the open boundaries should be specified. To
achieve this, values from literature (Candela, Winant, and Ruiz 1990;
Padman and Erofeeva 2005) has been used. Moreover, as suggested by
Sannino (2004), sea elevation values must be augmented by the time
independent mean sea elevation, !
!"
, equal to 12 metre at the Western
open boundary and to 0 meter at the Eastern open boundary. These values
were obtained from the model of Sannino (2004) in the following manner:
« The time independent mean elevation (!
!"
) value used at the open
boundaries is obtained running the model in barotropic mode. This model,
as the baroclinic version (three dimensional), has at the eastern and
western ends of the computational domain two open boundaries where
values of barotropic velocity and surface elevation must be specified. For
the surface elevation an Orlansky radiation condition (Orlanski 1976) was
used at the western boundary while a clamped to zero condition was used
for the eastern end. For the barotropic velocity a zero gradient condition
was used at both ends. In this way the barotropic model was able to freely
adjust the western surface elevation, after 180 days of simulation, to about
12 cm ».

Concerning the velocity, a zero gradient condition is used for the depth
integrated velocity (!! !).
As the most energetic system in the Strait of Gibraltar is the tidal
dynamics, the model is forced at the open boundaries with the tidal
forcing. The main tidal harmonics are shown in Table 1.
Table 1 – The main tidal harmonic
Symbol Period [hour] Description
Semidiurnal components
M2 12.42 Main lunar constituent
S2 12.00 Main solar constituent
Diurnal components
K1 23.93 Soli-lunar constituent
O1 25.82 Main lunar constituent

The semidiurnal tides arise from the gravitational forces of the moon (M2)
and sun (S2) while the diurnal components originates from the declination
in the moon’s orbit about the earth (O1) and the corresponding solar
declination (K1). In order to study the dynamic of the Strait of Gibraltar to
tidal forcing, the model is forced with the main semidiurnal (M2 and S2)
components. M2 wave has a period higher than 0.5 day because every day
the moon offset slightly (1/28
th
turn) whereas the period of S2 is worth
exactly 0.5 day. Consequently, the two waves will angle slightly towards
each another. Note also that the amplitude of M2 is larger than S2 (M2 %
Figure 1 Model bathymetry. The colour levels indicate the water depth in
meter.
5

2.7 S2). Consequently, M2 imposes the period with a small perturbation
from S2. The choice to limit the simulation to the semidiurnal component
is justify because 90% of the total kinetic energy in the Strait of Gibraltar
stem from the semidiurnal components M2 and Ss (Kinder and Bryden
1987; Kinder and Bryden 1988; Candela, Winant, and Ruiz 1990).
Finally, the resulting two major semidiurnal surface tidal elevations
forcing at the open boundaries of the domain is defined as:

! !! ! ! !
!
! !"# !
!
! ! !
!
! !!"!
!
!!!

Where!
!
! and !
!
! are the surface elevation amplitude and phase of
the n
th
harmonic of the tidal signal; !
!
its frequency. The semidiurnal tidal
elevation amplitude (!
!
! ) and phase (!
!
! ) are obtained from the
TPXO 7.1 global model of ocean tides (Padman and Erofeeva 2005). At
the Western and Eastern boundaries, four and three points are specified in
MECCA respectively (Table 2). Linear interpolation from these points is
made for the entire boundaries with satisfactory results as the variation in
regional amplitude and phase are relatively small.
Table 2 – Semidiurnal tidal elevation amplitude and phase enter at
the Western and Eastern end of the computational domain for the
interpolation in MECCA.
Latitud
e [°N]
Longitude
[°W]
M2 S2
Amplitude
[m]
Phase
[°]
Amplitude
[m]
Phase
[°]
36.6667 -6.2410 1.0092 54.61 0.3653 79.15
36.5000 -6.2410 1.0104 54.46 0.3658 78.32
35.5000 -6.2410 0.9705 56.29 0.3529 82.2
35.0000 -6.2410 0.9992 54.97 0.3609 80.83
36.1467 -4.5670 0.2075 53.82 0.0777 81.9
35.9067 -4.5670 0.2099 55.96 0.0788 83.65
35.2800 -4.5670 0.2084 59.15 0.0791 86.48

For example, the tidal signal forced at the middle of the Western
computational domain is shown in Figure 2. The combination of M2 and
S2, known as beating, has a fortnightly modulation with a period of 14.79
days.













Time step is fixed to 10 seconds according to the Courant–Friedrichs–
Lewy (CFL) condition.
2.6. Model experiments
The model is initially run separately for the M2 and S2 constituent forcing
over 123 hours and 131 hours respectively in order to compare the results
(amplitude and phase) with observed data (Candela, Winant, and Ruiz
1990; Tsimplis, Proctor, and Flather 1995; Sannino 2004). Once
validated, the model simulation is integrated for a fortnight period by
considering the combination of the semidiurnal component.
Three closures (70%, 85% and 95%) from both side of the Strait and two
(50% and 70%) starting from the Moroccan side representing the dam are
considered. The dam site is chosen according to previous geological study
from Lombardi Engineering Ltd. The five alternatives differ above all in
terms of the dam closure and site. The dam is 500 metres wide (this
choice is based on the grid resolution of 500 metres in each direction)
with a maximum length of 27 kilometres (Figure (3)). Total area
computed according to the so-called “Rectangle Method” equals 4025865
square meters. The model is run again for these configurations.






































In this study, based on these forecast, a climate scenario of 50 centimetres
is considered. It is implemented in the model by adding a height of 50
centimetres to the semidiurnal tidal elevation forcing applied at the
Western open boundary (Atlantic). The simulations were extended for this
climate scenario by considering the different closures defined previously.
Figure 2 Semidiurnal tidal elevation forcing applied at the middle of the
Western end.
2
7

k
m

0.5 km
Figure 3 (top) Dam site with the main characteristics. (bottom) Cross section
(b) corresponding to the dam site showing the bottom topography.
Area = 4025865 m
2
6 SYNTHESIS REPORT

3. Model validation
A harmonic analysis is made for the tidal elevations and currents in order
to compare the obtained results with measured data (Candela, Winant, and
Ruiz 1990; Tsimplis, Proctor, and Flather 1995; Sannino 2004).
3.1. Tidal elevation
Compilation from these data of the two semidiurnal components for the
observed amplitudes and phases are summarized in Table 3 and 4. Also,
the simulated amplitudes and phases of the semidiurnal tide computed by
the model are given in order to compare them with the observed values at
some relevant points (Figure 4) in the Strait of Gibraltar.





Table 3 – Comparison between observed and computed amplitudes
(A) and phases (P) of M2 tidal elevation.















Table 4 – Comparison between observed and computed amplitudes
(A) and phases (P) of S2 tidal elevation.










































































As it can be observed, a general good agreement between observed and
Figure 4 Chart of the computational domain showing the geographic
features referred to in the text. Blue points are the relevant points used for
the comparison between observed and predicted values (exception at
Tangier and Sebta). Shaded red line represents the dam site.
7

computed values of amplitudes and phases for the semidiurnal component
is found. Indeed, the maximum difference do not exceed 8.6 centimetres
in amplitude and 8.24° in phase for M2 constituent and 4.6 centimetres in
amplitude and 8.47° in phase for S2 constituent. The maximum differences
(in relative units) are concentrated in coastal regions (e.g. Tarifa, SN, SS)
since the model grid is not coastal-fitted Sannino (2004).

Figures (5) and (6) show the computed amplitude and phase contours of
the simulated M2 and S2 tidal waves respectively. For the M2 chart (Figure
5.2), it is in good qualitative and quantitative agreement with those
presented in literature (Candela, Winant, and Ruiz 1990; Tejedor et al.
1999; Tsimplis 2000). However, the cotidal lines (lines of constant phase)
of M2 differ slightly at the Camarinal sill area causing a deviation toward
North. This deformation can be explained by the irregularities of the
topography in this area.










































From Figure (5) two information can be highlighted: (i) the unchangeable
of the amplitude in the cross-Strait direction except the Eastern part of the
Tarifa narrow and (ii) a decline of more than two-fold in the M2 amplitude
in the along-Strait direction. Concerning the M2 phase, it is characterized
by a southwestward propagation. For the S2 tidal wave (Figure (6)), the
same features are observed. The amplitude and phase ratios differences
between M2 and S2 constituents remain constant throughout the Strait of
Gibraltar as predicted by Candela, Winant, and Ruiz (1990). The
amplitude and phase ratios range from 2.5 to 2.8 and from 23.8° to 27.5°
respectively.














































Figure 5 Amplitude (left), in meters, and Phase (right), in degrees, contours of the M2 tidal wave
Figure 6 Amplitude (left), in meters, and Phase (right), in degrees, contours of the S2 tidal wave.

8 SYNTHESIS REPORT

3.2. Tidal currents
In order to describe the motion of fluids within the Strait of Gibraltar, the
depth integrated velocity (!! !) is computed for the M2 and S2 constituent
as well as for the semidiurnal M2S2 constituents. Appendix G (refer to the
report) shows the direction of the velocity field during an entire M2 period
(12.42 hours) simulation with the module in background for the high
water at Gibraltar harbour. As expected, the direction of the velocity
reverses periodically. The velocity is the highest in the area of Camarinal
sill section. Figure (7) shows a semidiurnal tidal cycle during spring tide
at Gibraltar (top) and Pt5 (bottom).





































Tidal currents value during the spring tide ranges from 0.06 m s
-1
at
Gibraltar to 1.85 m s
-1
at the cross section of Camarinal sill. For the neap
tide (Figure (8)), the currents range from 0.02 m s
-1
at Gibraltar to 1.02 m
s-
1
at the cross section of Camarinal sill. These values are in quite good
agreement with Sannino (2004). The fact that the Camarinal sill exhibits
the highest current was an expected result. Consequently, at the Camarinal
sill, due to the interaction of the strong tidal flow with the complex
bathymetry, the currents are not always reverse which means that the
water column can flow in the same direction twice per day. This result
should be confirmed with a three dimensional model (Sannino 2004) in
order to highlight outflow and inflow currents at the Camarinal sill.





































4. Results
4.1. Basic scenario
The sea elevation for the semidiurnal tidal cycle during spring tide for a
closure of 70% (Figure 9) compared to the normal case (without closure)
at some relevant point is computed. Only results for spring tide are
presented as it is the regime with the higher surface elevation. The major
sea elevation change is at Pt5 with a decrease of 12.6 centimetres
compared to the normal case. The maximum increase in sea level is at Pt4,
with an increase of 9.4 centimetres. These points are located to the right
(Mediterranean) and left (Atlantic) side of the dam respectively. The
change in sea elevation at other location is: Tanger (+2.8 cm), Sebta (-0.6
cm), Gibraltar (-1cm), Tarifa (-2.9 cm), Pt1 (-0.3 cm), Pt2 (-1.5 cm), Pt3
(+1.5 cm).

Figure 7 Semidirunal (M2S2) tidal cycle during spring tide at Gibraltar
(top) and Pt5 (bottom) (see location in Figure 4). Blue line indicates the
tidal height, green line the corresponding velocity in absolute value.
Figure 8 Semidirunal (M2S2) tidal cycle during neap tide at Gibraltar (top)
and Pt5 (bottom) (see location in Figure 4). Blue line indicates the tidal
height, green line the corresponding velocity in absolute value.
9






For a closure of 85% (Figure (10)), the change in sea elevation at the
locations is: Tanger (+5.9 cm), Sebta (-1.3 cm), Gibraltar (-2.2cm), Tarifa
(-6.5 cm), Pt1 (-0.5 cm), Pt2 (-2.1 cm), Pt3 (+2.7 cm), Pt4 (+12.1 cm), Pt5
(-17.2 cm). The same trend is observed with an amplification of the
increase or decrease in sea level at each location.






















For a closure of 95% (Figure (11)), the change in sea elevation at the
locations is: Tanger (+21.5 cm), Sebta (-4.2 cm), Gibraltar (-8.2cm),
Tarifa (-22.5 cm), Pt1 (-1.8 cm), Pt2 (+1.1 cm), Pt3 (+8.2 cm), Pt4 (+24.9
cm), Pt5 (-34.2 cm). It can be seen that the sea surface variation follow the
same trend than the two previous cases except for Pt2 who undergoes an
increase of sea level instead of a decrease as previously observed. This is
certainly caused by the high degree of obstruction or numerical noise in
the computation of surface elevation at this point.























For the closure of 95%, the phase shift is most pronounced with the higher
closure. Indeed, the signal is perturbed and distorted. This effect is more
pronounced at Tarifa (Figure 12), Pt3, 4 and 5. This can be explained by
plotting the stream function corresponding to this closure (Figure (13)).
The disturbance stems from the fact that eddies and recirculation zones
appear on both sides of the closure. As the latter points are in this area,
their signals are deformed. Indeed, water coming from the Atlantic (and
respectively the Mediterranean) through the closure will form an eddy just
behind it creating a stagnant region. The streamlines (tangent curve to the
velocity vector field) form an arc just after passing through the opening.
At this location, the water is stagnant with small tides. As Tarifa is very
close, the signal at Tarifa is completely disturbed.

























Total Area = 4025865 m
2
Close Area = 1229670 m
2
Open Area = 2796195 m
2

9.5 km 9.5 km 8 km
Figure 9 Cross section corresponding to the dam site showing the bottom
topography where shaded blue represents the area closes by the dam. In
this case, 30% area closed.
Total Area = 4025865 m
2
Close Area = 2449500 m
2
Open Area = 1576365 m
2

4 km 11.5 km
11.5 km
Figure 10 Cross section corresponding to the dam site showing the
bottom topography where shaded blue represents the area closes by the
dam. In this case, 60% area closed.
Figure 11 Cross section corresponding to the dam site showing the
bottom topography where shaded blue represents the area closes by the
dam. In this case, 90% area closed.
Total Area = 4025865 m
2
Close Area = 3608600 m
2
Open Area = 417265 m
2

12.5 km 12.5 km
1 km
Figure 12 Semidirunal (M2S2) tidal cycle during spring tide at Tarifa. Blue
line indicates the sea elevation for the normal case, green line the sea
elevation for a closure of 95% of the Strait.
10 SYNTHESIS REPORT




















Figure (14) shows surface elevation difference (maximum absolute sea
elevation for normal situation minus maximum absolute sea elevation for
closure situation) for the closure of 70%, 85% and 95% at different
locations for a semidiurnal (M2S2) tidal cycle during spring tide. The
closure is expressed in term of percentage closed area (closed area divided
by total area), which corresponds to 30%, 60% and 90% respectively
(markers in Figure (14)). Positive values indicate an increase in surface
elevation and negative value a decrease of sea level. As expected, a
correlation between the closed area and the increase or decrease of sea
level difference is established. When the surface elevation increases (at
Tanger, Pt3 and Pt4), the larger the closed area, the greater the increase.
Same pattern is observed when the surface elevation decreases (at
Gibraltar, Sebta, Tarifa, Pt1 and Pt5); the larger the closed area, the
greater the decrease. Sea elevation of points situated to the left of the dam
tend to increase while it decrease for the points located to the right side.
Moreover, the closer to the dam the points, the higher the increase (Pt4) or
decrease (Pt5).





















In order to confirm these results, two others simulations with a closure
from the Moroccan side is made. Results are presented in the following.

Figure (15) shows the sea elevation for the semidiurnal tidal cycle during
spring tide for a closure of 95% compared to the normal case at some
relevant point. The change in sea elevation at the locations is: Tanger
(+6.8 cm), Sebta (-1.3 cm), Gibraltar (-2.2cm), Tarifa (-5.7 cm), Pt1 (-0.5
cm), Pt2 (+3.0 cm), Pt3 (+2.0 cm), Pt4 (+0.3 cm), Pt5 (-18.5 cm). These
results are in good agreement with the closure of 85% from both sides,
except at Pt4 where the difference in sea level does not change much
because of the opening on the Spanish side (contrary to the closure of
85% on both sides).





















For a closure of 95% (Figure (16)), the change in sea elevation at the
locations is: Tanger (+30.2 cm), Sebta (-7.4 cm), Gibraltar (-12cm), Tarifa
(-34.5 cm), Pt1 (-2.8 cm), Pt2 (+14.1 cm), Pt3 (+15.5 cm), Pt4 (+10.3
cm), Pt5 (-50.5 cm). Same pattern are observed with the important
deformation of the tidal signal and can be explained as before by plotting
the streamlines (Figure (17)).


















Figure 13 Stream function for the M2 constituent for a closure of 95%.
Figure 14 Difference in sea elevation of the closures compared to the
normal case at different location for a semidiurnal tidal cycle (M2S2)
during spring tide. Positive value means an increase sea level compared to
the normal case, negative value a decrease in seal level. X-axis shows the
closed area (30%, 60%, 90%) corresponding to the closure 70%, 85% and
95% respectively.
Total Area = 4025865 m
2
Close Area = 2064500 m
2
Open Area = 1961365 m
2

13.5 km 13.5 km
Figure 15 Cross section corresponding to the dam site showing the bottom
topography where shaded blue represents the area closes by the dam. In
this case, 50% area closed on Moroccan side.
Figure 16 Cross section corresponding to the dam site showing the
bottom topography where shaded blue represents the area closes by the
dam. In this case, 95% area closed on Moroccan side.
Total Area = 4025865 m
2
Close Area = 3818100 m
2
Open Area = 207765 m
2

8 km 19 km
11



Finally, the trend of Figure (14) is confirmed by Figure (18). The higher
area closed, the higher the increase or decrease in surface elevation
compared to the normal case. The dam site (closure on both sides or on
Moroccan side) does not affect the trend for points located far from the
dam (Sebta, Gibraltar, Tarifa, Pt1, Pt3). This means that for a constant
closed area, the result is the same no matter where the dam is positioned
(same longitude but different latitude). Concerning points situated near
the dam (Pt4, Pt5), different behaviours are observed. For Pt4, when the
closure is only on the Moroccan side, there is almost no increase in sea
elevation which is logical since it is an open area. For Pt5, the fact to close
only the Moroccan side seems to accentuate the decrease of sea level
compared to the closure on both side. This suggests that the dam site has
an area of influence on the flow regardless of area closed. From these
results, it can be seen that a closure of the Strait of Gibraltar can reduce
the sea level on the Mediterranean side. However, with counterpart an
increase of the surface elevation on the Atlantic side.






















4.2. Climate scenario
Results of simulations by modifying the signal at the Western open
boundaries (+50 centimetres) and with different closures are presented.

The increase in sea level is taken into account by increasing the signal at
the Western end of the computational domain. Figure (19) shows how the
signal is modified. The rise is not exactly equal to 50 centimetres as linear
interpolation from four points is made for the Western boundary.


Figure 19 Semidiurnal (M2S2) tidal cycle during spring tide applied at the
middle of the Western computational domain.
The increase in sea level introduced at the Western boundary did not
spread everywhere throughout the domain in the similar manner. The
signal decrease as moving away from the Western boundary. For example,
at Tanger, the climate scenario is still strong (+46 centimetres). But at
Gibraltar, as the signal passes through rugged bathymetry, friction and
other phenomena, it decreases in intensity (+8 centimetres).

The goal with the closure is to ensure that the sea level in the
Mediterranean stay constant, meaning that the difference between the sea
level in the normal case (without climate and closure) and the climate
scenario with closure must be as close as possible to zero for points
located in the Mediterranean side. If this difference is greater than zero,
this means that the closure is too much. On the contrary, if the difference
is below zero, this means that the closure is not enough to keep the level
constant (equal to the normal case). For example, Figure (20) shows the
surface elevation at Tarifa. If the difference (in term of maximum absolute
value) between the normal case (in blue in Figure (20)) and the climate
with closure is positive, this means that the corresponding closure (95%
and 70% Moroccan side in this case) is enough to ensure the sea level to
stay constant (in purple and black in Figure (20)). If the difference is
negative, the closure is not enough (70%, 85% and 50% Moroccan side in
this case).

Figure 17 Stream function for the M2 constituent for a closure of 70% on
the Moroccan side.
Figure 18 Difference in sea elevation of the closures compared to the
normal case at different location for a semidiurnal tidal cycle (M2S2)
during spring tide. Positive value means an increase sea level compared to
the normal case, negative value a decrease in seal level. X-axis shows the
closed area (30%, 60%, 90%, 50%, 95%) corresponding to the closure
70%, 85%, 95% on both side and 50%, 70% on the Moroccan side
respectively. Pt 2 is not presented for the closure 50% (50% area closed)
and 70% (95% are closed) on Moroccan side.
12 SYNTHESIS REPORT


Figure 20 Semidirunal (M2S2) sea elevation during spring tide at Tarifa for
different configuration.
In Figure (21), the difference between the sea level in normal case and the
climate scenario with different closure is shown for point located in the
Mediterranean side. A closed area equal to 90% allows maintaining the
sea level constant at these locations and even reduces the surface elevation
compared to the actual situation.


Figure 21 Difference in sea elevation of the closures with climate change
compared to the normal case at Mediterranean points for a semidiurnal
tidal cycle (M2S2) during spring tide. Positive value means a decrease in
sea level compared to the normal case, negative value an increase in sea
level. X-axis shows the closed area (30%, 60%, 90%, 50%, 95%)
corresponding to the closure 70%, 85%, 95% on both side and 50%, 70%
on the Moroccan side respectively.
Taking a look at the other side of the dam is necessary. Figure (22) shows
the difference between the sea level in normal case and the climate
scenario with different closure is shown for point located in the Atlantic
side. As expected, the more the closure, the more the increase of surface
elevation at the Atlantic. This important counterpart cannot be neglected.
Indeed, Moroccan and Spanish coastal area would be flooded due to the
important increase of surface elevation.

Figure 22 Difference in sea elevation of the closures with climate change
compared to the normal case at Atlantic points for a semidiurnal tidal
cycle (M2S2) during spring tide. Positive value means a decrease in sea
level compared to the normal case, negative value an increase in sea level.
X-axis shows the closed area (30%, 60%, 90%, 50%, 95%) corresponding
to the closure 70%, 85%, 95% on both side and 50%, 70% on the
Moroccan side respectively.
4.3. Estimation of annual energy output
In order to estimate the annual energy that can be extracted from a dam
exploiting the tidal power through the Strait of Gibraltar, a method based
on the principle of tidal hydrodynamic is used (Xia et al. 2012). The
principle is to block the entry and exit tides to create a water level
differential. As suggested by Charlier and Finkl (2009), the most efficient
way to operate for tidal barrage is to generate power during ebb tide as
shown in Figure (23).


Figure 23 Sketch of ebb generation mode. Image from Xia et al. (2012).
The principle described by Xia et al. (2012) is as follows: First, the basin
(upstream) is filled through the sluice of the barrage until it achieves the
high tide level. From there, the sluices are closed (filling C-D in Figure
(23)). The turbines and sluices stay closed until the sea level downstream
decreases sufficiently to create a water level differential (called starting
head) across the dam (holding D-A in Figure (23)). Therefore, the turbines
gate are spun to create electricity (generating A-B in Figure (23)) until the
13

water head goes below a certain limit, defined as the minimum water level
differential for turbine operation. Lastly, the turbines and sluices are
closed again until the sea level is greater than the basin level (holding B-C
in Figure (23)) in order to repeat the process.
The minimum difference in height to operate depends on several factors
(e.g. rate of starting the turbines, variations in water levels on both sides
of the dam) and is an important criterion for the energy output from a tidal
barrage. According to previous study on the Severn Barrage, Xia,
Falconer, and Lin (2010) suggested: « The starting head needs to vary
with the incoming tidal range at the seaward boundary in order to acquire
the maximum energy output over each tide cycle. The minimum water
head that the turbines can operate under ranges typically from 1.0 to 1.5
m, which is usually determined by the turbine performance ».
Estimation of annual energy output for a tidal barrage within the Strait of
Gibraltar is based on the potential energy contained in the water volume
impounded in a basin (Lamb 1994)and can be calculated as:

!
!
!
!
!
!"!
!
!!
!
!
!!!!
Where !
!
!" is the potential energy over a tide cycle; ! ! !"#$!"!
!!

the density of seawater; g the gravity; !
!
the horizontal area of the
enclosed basin; !!
!
the mean tidal range (vertical difference between the
high tide and the succeeding low tide) in the basin.
In this study, the estimation of the annual energy output lies on the M2
constituent in basic scenario which consists of two flood and two ebb
tides per day with a period of 12.42 hours. This choice does not represent
a limitation since the M2 component has larger amplitude (M2 % 2.7 S2).
Equation (22) should be adjusted for this case. Knowing that during the
two low tides per day the potential energy is equal to zero, the total
potential energy per day for the M2 tidal regime is:

!"
!"!!"
!
!
!!"!
In term of mean potential power:
! !
!"
!"!!"
!
!
!"#$$
! !!!"##!!"
!!
!
!
!!
!
!
!!"!
Where ! !" is the mean potential power; !
!
the horizontal area of the
enclosed basin; !!
!
the mean tidal range in the basin; !
!
the potential
energy over a tide cycle;
According to Tester (2005), the efficiency (!) of tidal barrage is low
(ranging from 20% to 40%). Hence, the potential annual tidal energy
output from a barrage is computed as follow:
!
!"
! !!!"#!
!
!!
!
!
! !!"!
With !
!"
!"! the potential annual tidal energy output for a tidal
barrage under M2 tidal cycle; !
!
the horizontal area of the enclosed basin;
!!
!
the mean tidal range in the basin; ! the operating efficiency.
In order to calculate the potential energy contained in the water volume
impounded in a basin, the values of “Ab” and “#hb” is calculated. In this
study, the area considered for the enclosed basin is the one on the right
side of the dam. The procedure to compute the mean tidal range
computation is explained as follows: (i) Determine the mean tidal range
(hi) at each cell of a computational domain, with the submerged area of
each cell of Ai; (ii) Calculate the sum of Hi*Ai and the sum of Ai; (iii)
Obtain the mean tidal range of the study domain
!
!
!
!
!
!
. However, as the
aim of this work is to provide a rough estimation of the annual energy
output, a simplified method based on linear interpolation is used to
compute the mean tidal range. This is justified with the unchangeable
character of the amplitude in the cross-Strait direction as stated in section
3. The study domain is divided into nine blocks where the surface
elevation is computed for three points of each blocks as shown in Figure
(24).

Figure 24 M2 surface elevation for three points in Block 1 defined in
Figure (25).
Then, the average value of tidal range for the three points is calculated.
The mean tidal range distribution in the study domain is shown in Figure
(25).

Figure 25 Distribution of mean tidal ranges for the M2 constituent in the
study domain. Shaded red line represents the dam site.
The calculated mean tidal range in the area upstream of the dam varies
from 1.47 metres to 0.42 metres with a water surface area equal to
9595.75 km
2
. For the estimation of the annual energy output using
Equation (25), the mean tidal range enclosed by the barrage of 0.6 metres
with the corresponding water surface area of 9595.75 km
2
was used. An
14 SYNTHESIS REPORT

estimated annual tidal energy of 1364 GWh is found by using an
operating efficiency of 0.4.
5. Summary and Conclusions
The aim of this project has been the developing of a numerical model able
to reproduce the circulation through the Strait of Gibraltar by considering
the tidal forcing. Then, the paper is devoted to determine the size of the
closure needed to ensure a constant level of the Mediterranean to solve
flooding problems due to global warming.
The GCM used in this study is the two dimensional vertically integrated
tidal model MECCA initially developed by Hess (1986) to study costal,
estuarine and open ocean circulation. The version used has already been
successfully implemented for the Strait of Gibraltar by Smaoui and
Ouahsine (2006). Study domain extends longitudinally from 6.241° to
4.567° West and 35° to 36.666° North. The model grid has a uniform
horizontal and vertical spacing of 500 metres. A significant aspect of this
model is that it solves a prognostic equation for the turbulent kinetic
energy and uses a semi-empirical expression for the mixing length
(Davies, Luyten, and Deleersnijder 1995). At the two open boundaries, the
model is forced with the semidiurnal M2 and S2 surface elevation. The
model is run for a complete fortnightly period and a harmonic analysis is
performed to compare results with observed data. Computed amplitudes
and phases for the two semidiurnal constituent are in good agreement with
observed values. Also, results show that the model is able to reproduce
some major features of the tidal flow in this region: a decline of more than
two-fold in the M2 amplitude in the along-Strait direction, a general
invariability of the amplitude in the cross-Strait direction, a
southwestward propagation of the phases, and a constant amplitude and
phase ratios differences between M2 and S2 constituents throughout the
Strait of Gibraltar. However, the two dimensional model has proved its
limitations concerning the simulation of tidal current and cannot substitute
a global modelling of the water circulation in this area (a three
dimensional model is needed). Since the flow within the Strait is done at
least in two layers, it is evident that a two dimensional model is not able
to describe all the exchange and hydraulics circulation aspect due to the
complex physics present in one of the most complicated region of the
world.
Once the model validated, simulations are performed for three closures
(70%, 85%, 95% corresponding to 30%, 60%, 90% are closed
respectively) starting both sides of the Strait and two closures (50%, 70%
corresponding to 50%, 95% area closed respectively) starting from the
Moroccan side supposed to represent the dam. The location of the latter it
determined by previous geological reconnaissance. The dam is 500 metres
wide with a maximum length of 27 kilometres. As a first step, simulations
are made for the basic scenario, i.e. with the actual surface elevation
specified at the two open boundaries. Sea elevations at some relevant
points are compared in order to assess the impact of the closure on tidal
height. For the basic scenario, results show a clear correlation between the
percentage area closed and the increase or decrease of sea level compare
to the normal case (without dam): the larger the closed area, the greater
the increase for points situated to the left of the dam, the greater the
decrease for points situated to the right side. Also, for points located
sufficiently far away from either side of the barrage, the dam
configuration (closure on both side or on Moroccan side only) does not
affect the increase/decrease trend. Consequently, a closure of the Strait of
Gibraltar can reduce the sea level on the Mediterranean side. However,
with counterpart an increase of the surface elevation on the Atlantic side.
The second step consisted to add 50 centimetres to the semidiurnal tidal
elevation signal at the Western open boundary supposed to reproduce the
sea level increase due to global warming. As expected, due to the rugged
bathymetry and friction, the signal did not spread everywhere throughout
the domain in the similar manner. By considering the sea level increase of
50 centimetres, it was found that a closed area equal to 90% allows
maintaining the sea level constant at points located on the Mediterranean
side. However, with such closure, the sea level on the Atlantic side
dramatically increased.
In the final part of this paper, a first assessment of the annual energy
output from a barrage within the Strait of Gibraltar is done using a
theoretical estimation method (Xia et al. 2012). The result indicates that
the magnitude of the annual energy output from the barrage would range
between 680 and 1364 GWh depending on the power conversion
efficiency considered. These values are relative with regard to the surface
area being considered. Moreover, as these predictions are based on
simplifying assumptions, a more accurate estimation of the annual energy
output should be conducted with more detailed information on the dam,
sluices, turbines and tidal ranges.
The objective of this study is reached, since its principal aim is the
understanding of tidal flow in the Strait of Gibraltar for a dam project. In
the future, a three dimensional version of MECCA model should be
develop in order to be able to simulate others major features of the flow in
the Strait, especially to estimate water transports along the whole Strait
and to provide an estimation of the impact of the barrage on these
quantities. The simulations have brought to light an important issue
(increase surface elevation on the Atlantic part) of a closure in the Strait
of Gibraltar. But it also showed that a barrage with an adapted closing can
keep the Mediterranean Sea level constant. Two improvement of this
study can be done in the future: (i) extend the area covered by the model
to cover the whole Mediterranean Sea in order to avoid forcing the
Eastern boundary with surface elevation values. As the Mediterranean is
an enclosed sea, it will be able to freely adjust to the forcing of the
Atlantic. From there, one can specify a constant sea level in the
Mediterranean and optimize the corresponding closure of the Strait; (ii)
the global mean sea level increase introduced in the model assumes a
sudden rise of 50 centimetres applied uniformly on the Atlantic. In reality,
this increase takes place in the long term and is highly nonuniformly
distributed over the ocean. A solution could be to make a simulation of
several years with a different sea level increase every year for each
location.
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank my external advisor, Hassan Smaoui (UTC-
CETMEF), for his vital guidance during this project. He kindly provided
his numerical model for the purpose of my work. His deep knowledge in
oceanography modelling allowed insightful discussions and constructive
critique of my simulations. I would also like to thank the members of
FlowScience, Frieder Semler, Dr. Matthias Todte and John Wendelbo for
their warm welcome in Rottenburg and for their support. I am also
extremely grateful to Gustav R. Grob (ICEC) for his constant
encouragement and financial support for my trip to Germany.
This project was supervised by Prof. Dr. Anton Schleiss, Mario Franca
and Fraenz Zeimetz from the department of Hydraulic Constructions,
EPFL. I wish to thank them for their willingness to help and advise
throughout the duration of the project.
15

Finally, a special thanks to my dear family and friends, for their patience
and for never being short of a few words of encouragement when they
were needed.
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