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

Penduff, Thierry; Barnier, Bernard; Molines, Jean-Marc; Madec, Gurvan. 2006 On the use of current meter data to assess the realism of ocean model simulations. Ocean Modelling, 11 (3-4). 399-416.

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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.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1463-5003
Date made live: 10 Dec 2008 +0 (UTC)

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