The impact of a new high-resolution ocean model on the Met Office North-West European Shelf forecasting system

Tonani, Marina; Sykes, Peter; King, Robert R.; McConnell, Niall; Péquignet, Anne-Christine; O'Dea, Enda; Graham, Jennifer A.; Polton, Jeff ORCID:; Siddorn, John ORCID: 2019 The impact of a new high-resolution ocean model on the Met Office North-West European Shelf forecasting system. Ocean Science, 15 (4). 1133-1158.

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The North-West European Shelf ocean forecasting system has been providing oceanographic products for the European continental shelf seas for more than 15 years. In that time, several different configurations have been implemented, updating the model and the data assimilation components. The latest configuration to be put in operation, an eddy-resolving model at 1.5 km (AMM15), replaces the 7 km model (AMM7) that has been used for 8 years to deliver forecast products to the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service and its precursor projects. This has improved the ability to resolve the mesoscale variability in this area. An overview of this new system and its initial validation is provided in this paper, highlighting the differences with the previous version. Validation of the model with data assimilation is based on the results of 2 years (2016–2017) of trial experiments run with the low- and high-resolution systems in their operational configuration. The 1.5 km system has been validated against observations and the low-resolution system, trying to understand the impact of the high resolution on the quality of the products delivered to the users. Although the number of observations is a limiting factor, especially for the assessment of model variables like currents and salinity, the new system has been proven to be an improvement in resolving fine-scale structures and variability and provides more accurate information on the major physical variables, like temperature, salinity, and horizontal currents. AMM15 improvements are evident from the validation against high-resolution observations, available in some selected areas of the model domain. However, validation at the basin scale and using daily means penalized the high-resolution system and does not reflect its superior performance. This increment in resolution also improves the capabilities to provide marine information closer to the coast even if the coastal processes are not fully resolved by the model.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1812-0792
Date made live: 13 Nov 2019 11:32 +0 (UTC)

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