Kilometric scale modeling of the North West European shelf seas: exploring the spatial and temporal variability of internal tides

Guihou, K.; Polton, J. ORCID:; Harle, J.; Wakelin, S. ORCID:; O'Dea, E.; Holt, J. ORCID: 2018 Kilometric scale modeling of the North West European shelf seas: exploring the spatial and temporal variability of internal tides. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123 (1). 668-707.

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The North West European shelf-break acts as a barrier to the transport and exchange between the open ocean and the shelf seas. The strong spatial variability of these exchange processes is hard to fully explore using observations, and simulations generally are too coarse to simulate the fine-scale processes over the whole region. In this context, under the FASTNEt programme, a new NEMO configuration of the North West European Shelf and Atlantic margin at 1/60° (∼1.8km) has been developed, with the objective to better understand and quantify the seasonal and interannual variability of shelf break processes. The capability of this configuration to reproduce the seasonal cycle in SST, the barotropic tide, and fine-resolution temperature profiles is assessed against a basin-scale (1/12°, ∼9km) configuration and a standard regional configuration (7 km resolution). The seasonal cycle is well reproduced in all configurations though the fine-resolution allows the simulation of smaller scale processes. Time-series of temperature at various locations on the shelf show the presence of internal waves with a strong spatio-temporal variability. Spectral analysis of the internal waves reveals peaks at the diurnal, semi-diurnal, inertial and quarter-diurnal bands, which are only realistically reproduced in the new configuration. Tidally induced pycnocline variability is diagnosed in the model and shown to vary with the spring neap cycle with mean displacement amplitudes in excess of 2m for 30% of the stratified domain. With sufficiently fine-resolution, internal tides are shown to be generated at numerous bathymetric features resulting in a complex pycnocline displacement superposition pattern.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 21699275
Date made live: 19 Dec 2017 16:40 +0 (UTC)

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