High-Resolution Ocean Circulation Modeling during MUSE

Jeff Paduan, Naval Postgraduate School
Igor Shulman, University of Southern Mississippi
James McWilliams, UCLA



An effort is underway to set-up and validate a high-resolution (~1 km), primitive equation circulation model of the coastal ocean around Monterey Bay. The initial development, testing, and data assimilation trials of this model have been carried out using a version of the Princeton Ocean Model (POM) as part of the National Ocean Partnership Program's Innovative Coastal-Ocean Observing Network (NOPP/ICON). Details of the present model configuration can be seen under the ICON modeling links. (An example SST map from the wind-forced spin-up runs for the 1995 upwelling season is shown in the figure below.) As with any ocean model, and particularly for open ocean coastal models, there are many important issues to work out before the model can be used to simulate important bio-chemical processes, such as upwelling-related productivity and air-sea interactions. ICON is addressing many of these issues, including:

The next modeling-related steps beyond these will involve tests with higher horizontal resolution to assess the effects of fronts and the implementation of bio-chemical tracking submodels that will, ultimately, provide for estimates of seasonally varying primary productivity as well as the ability to study the coupling between mesoscale circulation and bio-chemical responses.

sst model output
Snapshot of model sea surface temperaure from a nested run using large-scale (~100 km), 12-hourly wind forcing showing typical upwelling-related filaments and meanders. The modeled area includes Monterey Bay, California and is about 80 km x 150 km with horizontal grid resolution between 1 km and 3 km and 30 vertical levels.

MUSE Efforts

As part of MUSE, the ICON team will be conducting a set of special model runs that will double or triple the horizontal grid resolution during the August 2000 field campaign (see FINE GRID sample). This will provide a set of model outputs that can be compared with the high-resolution sampling of the expected upwelling fronts by aircraft, ships, and AUVs involved in MUSE. Several months of SST output from the initial model run illustrated above is also being used within the MUSE planning effort to develop and exercise optimal sampling schemes.

MUSE will also provide a starting point for the implementation of bio-chemical submodels aimed at tracking primary productivity within the Monterey Bay coastal upwelling system, which is a system with a rich set of validation data for both physical and bio-chemical modeling components. In this arena, ICON scientists will be joined and aided by the research team of Prof. James McWilliams of UCLA who are just beginning an effort to nest a Monterey Bay high-resolution grid as part of a newer-generation modeling framework (ROMS). The UCLA effort will include bio-chemical modeling and will take place in parallel with ICON modeling while the merits of POM-based versus ROM-based models are documented. Again, the MUSE field data will provide one of the best-ever validation opportunities for these types of comparisons.

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Last Modified: 8, January 2003
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