1Laboratoire d'études en géophysique et océanographie spatiales (LEGOS), UMR 5566, CNRS – Université de Toulouse, 14 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
2Mercator-Océan, Parc Technologique du Canal, 8–10 rue Hermès, 31520 Ramonville Saint Agne, France
3Puertos del Estado, Avda. del Partenón, 10 – 28042 Madrid, Spain
4Laboratoire d'Aérologie/CNRS/Université de Toulouse, 14 avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
*now at: Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine, Toulouse, France
Abstract. The Iberia-Biscay-Ireland (IBI) system serves one of the 7 MyOcean "Monitoring and Forecasting Centres". A high resolution simulation covering the IBI region is set-up over July 2007–February 2009. The NEMO (Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean) model is used with a 1/36° horizontal resolution and 50 z-levels in the vertical. New developments have been incorporated in NEMO to make it suitable to open- as well as coastal-ocean modelling. In this paper, we pursue three main objectives: (1) give an overview of the model configuration used for the simulations; (2) give a broad-brush account of one particular aspect of this work, namely consistency verification; this type of validation is conducted upstream of the implementation of the system before it is used for production and routinely validated; it is meant to guide model development in identifying gross deficiencies in the modelling of several key physical processes; (3) show that such a regional modelling system has potential as a complement to patchy observations (an integrated approach) to give information on non-observed physical quantities and to provide links between observations by identifying broader-scale patterns and processes. We concentrate on the year 2008. We first provide domain-wide consistency verification results in terms of barotropic tides, transports, sea surface temperature and stratification. We then focus on two dynamical sub-regions: the Celtic shelves and the Bay of Biscay slope and deep regions. The model-data consistency is checked for variables and processes such as tidal currents, tidal fronts, internal tides, residual elevation. We also examine the representation in the model of a seasonal pattern of the Bay of Biscay circulation: the warm extension of the Iberian Poleward Current along the northern Spanish coast (Navidad event) in winter 2007–2008.