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The seasonal circulation and volume transport on the northwest European continental shelf: a fine-resolution model study

Holt, J.T.; Proctor, R.. 2008 The seasonal circulation and volume transport on the northwest European continental shelf: a fine-resolution model study. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113 (C6). Art. No. C06021. 10.1029/2006JC004034

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Abstract/Summary

In this paper the circulation of the northwest European continental shelf is investigated using the first year-long density-evolving simulation at shelf wide scales and sub-Rossby Radius resolution (similar to 1.8 km). A series of numerical experiments are conducted to distinguish between the wind-, density-, and oceanic-driven components of the flow. These demonstrate that, while all components have a role throughout the year, the density- driven component is particularly important during the summer and autumn months. The time evolution of the density field makes a significant contribution to the seasonal variation of volume transport on shelf wide scales and is persistent in direction; whereas the wind- driven volume transport acts on much shorter timescales and is more variable in direction. The importance of the oceanic forcing is demonstrated, representing tidal residuals and large-scale oceanic sea level (pressure) variation; this forcing drives a substantial component of the circulation throughout the year. Twenty six satellite tracked drifters deployed in the summer of 2001 are used for a direct validation of the model currents. The model current speeds are found to be accurate to similar to 46% when averaged over similar to 40 d, but tend to be too slow. The summer volume fluxes are compared with estimates in the literature showing good agreement, although there is a suggestion that the North Sea inflows are overestimated. Comparisons with the coarser resolution model used for boundary conditions demonstrate the importance of fine-resolution to the details of the frontal currents with consequences for modeling exchange processes and biological activity in these regions

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2006JC004034
Programmes: Oceans 2025 > Next generation ocean prediction systems
ISSN: 0148-0227
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Published 2008 American Geophysical Union. Not Subject to US Copyright.
Additional Keywords: POLIRISH; JET LIKE CIRCULATION; DENSITY EVOLVING MODEL; ST GEORGES CHANNEL; WESTERN IRISH SEA; CELTIC SEA; COASTAL CURRENT; BOUNDARY LAYER; OCEAN MODEL; FRONT; HYDRODYNAMICS
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 03 Feb 2009 11:54
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5388

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