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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Dec 2018

Research article | 21 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Can wave coupling improve operational regional ocean forecasts for the North-West European Shelf?

Huw W. Lewis1, Juan Manuel Castillo Sanchez1, John Siddorn1, Robert R. King1, Marina Tonani1, Andrew Saulter1, Peter Sykes1, Anne-Christine Pequignet1, Graham P. Weedon1, Tamzin Palmer1, Joanna Staneva2, and Lucy Bricheno3 Huw W. Lewis et al.
  • 1Met Office, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
  • 2Institute for Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Max-Planck Strasse 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
  • 3National Oceanography Centre, Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool, L3 5DA, UK

Abstract. Operational ocean forecasts are typically produced by modelling systems run using a forced mode approach. The evolution of the ocean state is not directly influenced by surface waves, and the ocean dynamics are driven by an external source of meteorological data which is independent of the ocean state. Model coupling provides one approach to increase the extent to which ocean forecast systems can represent the interactions and feedbacks between ocean, waves and the atmosphere seen in nature. This paper demonstrates the impact of improving how the effect of waves on the momentum exchange across the ocean-atmosphere interface is represented through ocean-wave coupling on the performance of an operational regional ocean prediction system. This study focuses on the eddy-resolving (1.5 km resolution) Atlantic Margin Model (AMM15) ocean model configuration for the North-West European Shelf (NWS) region.

A series of two-year duration forecast trials of the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) North-West Shelf regional ocean prediction system are analysed. The impact of including ocean-wave feedbacks via dynamic coupling on the simulated ocean is discussed. The main interactions included are the modification of surface stress by wave growth and dissipation, Stokes–Coriolis forcing and wave height dependent ocean surface roughness. Given the relevance to operational forecasting, trials with and without ocean data assimilation are considered.

Summary forecast metrics demonstrate that the ocean-wave coupled system is a viable evolution for future operational implementation. When results are considered in more depth, wave coupling was found to result in an annual cycle of relatively warmer winter and cooler summer sea surface temperatures for seasonally stratified regions of the NWS. This is driven by enhanced mixing due to waves, and a deepening of the ocean mixed layer during summer. The impact of wave coupling is shown to be reduced within the mixed layer with assimilation of ocean observations. Evaluation of salinity and ocean currents against profile measurements in the German Bight demonstrates improved simulation with wave coupling relative to control simulations. Further, evidence is provided of improvement to simulation of extremes of sea surface height anomalies relative to coastal tide gauges.

Huw W. Lewis et al.
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Huw W. Lewis et al.
Huw W. Lewis et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Forecasts of ocean temperature, salinity, currents and sea height can be improved by linking state-of-the-art ocean and wave models, so that they can interact to better represent the real world. We test this approach in an ocean model of north-west Europe which can simulate small-scale details of the ocean state. The intention is to implement the system described in this study for operational use so that improved information can be provided to users of ocean forecast data.
Forecasts of ocean temperature, salinity, currents and sea height can be improved by linking...