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On the use of current meter data to assess the realism of ocean model simulations

By Thierry Penduff, Bernard Barnier, Jean-Marc Molines and Gurvan Madec


The evaluation of ocean simulations against observed datasets is essential to assess their realism and to guide model development, but often remains qualitative, and ignores certain datasets. This paper presents a three-dimensional, quantitative comparison of a 1/6° Atlantic numerical simulation (CLIPPER) with the WOCE current meter dataset in terms of mean velocity and eddy kinetic energy. Our metrics reveal the good behaviour of CLIPPER open boundary conditions and forcing with respect to full-depth current records. Due to its still moderate resolution, however, the model globally underestimates the observed mean speeds and eddy activity. This discrepancy is barely noticeable at low latitudes but increases toward the poles, probably since the poleward decrease of the Rossby radius exceeds that of the horizontal grid step. At least in this eddy-admitting regime, it is suggested that the numerics of geopotential-coordinate models like ours dissipate mean and eddy momentum at depth and adversely affect current–topography interactions

Topics: [PHYS.MECA.MEFL]Physics [physics]/Mechanics [physics]/Mechanics of the fluids [physics.class-ph], [SPI.MECA.MEFL]Engineering Sciences [physics]/Mechanics []/Fluids mechanics [physics.class-ph]
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.ocemod.2005.02.001
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:hal-00183320v1
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