Impacts of high resolution model downscaling in coastal regions

Bricheno, Lucy M.; Wolf, Judith ORCID:; Brown, Jennifer M. ORCID: 2014 Impacts of high resolution model downscaling in coastal regions. Continental Shelf Research, 87. 7-16.

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The issue of appropriate resolution of coastal models is addressed in this paper. The quality of coastal predictions from three different spatial resolutions of a coastal ocean model is assessed in the context of simulation of the freshwater front in Liverpool Bay. Model performance is examined during the study period February 2008 using a 3-D baroclinic hydrodynamic model. Some characteristic lengthscales and non-dimensional numbers are introduced to describe the coastal plume and freshwater front. Metrics based on these lengthscales and the governing physical processes are used to assess model performance and these metrics have been calculated for the suite of downscaled models and compared with observations. Increased model resolution was found to better capture the position and strength of the freshwater front. However, instabilities along the front such as the tidal excursion led to large temporal and spatial variability in its position in the highest resolution model. By examining the spatial structure of the baroclinic Rossby radius in each model we identify which lengthscales are being resolved at different resolutions. In this dynamic environment it is more valuable to represent the governing time and space scales, rather than relying on strict point by point tests when evaluating model skill.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0278-4343
Additional Keywords: Liverpool Bay; Coastal oceanography; River plume; Dynamic downscaling; Numerical modelling
Date made live: 14 Nov 2013 14:10 +0 (UTC)

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