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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-168
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-168
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Jan 2019

Research article | 17 Jan 2019

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

Skill assessment of global, regional and coastal circulation forecast models: evaluating the benefits of dynamical downscaling in IBI surface waters

Pablo Lorente1, Marcos García-Sotillo1, Arancha Amo-Baladrón1, Roland Aznar1, Bruno Levier2, José Carlos Sánchez-Garrido3, Simone Sammartino3, Álvaro De Pascual1, Guillaume Reffray2, Cristina Toledano1, and Enrique Álvarez-Fanjul1 Pablo Lorente et al.
  • 1Puertos del Estado, Madrid, Spain
  • 2Mercator Ocean, Toulouse, France
  • 3Physical Oceanography Group of University of Málaga (GOFIMA), Málaga, Spain

Abstract. In this work, a multi-parameter inter-comparison of diverse ocean forecast models was conducted at the sea surface, ranging from global to local scales in a two-phase strategy. Firstly, a comparison of CMEMS-GLOBAL and the nested CMEMS-IBI regional system was performed against satellite-derived and in situ observations. Results highlighted the overall benefits of both the GLOBAL data assimilation in open-waters and the increased horizontal resolution of IBI in coastal areas, respectively. Besides, IBI proved to capture shelf dynamics by better representing the horizontal extent and strength of a river freshwater plume, according to the results derived from the validation against in situ observations from a buoy moored in NW Spain. Secondly, a multi-model inter-comparison exercise for 2017 was performed in the Strait of Gibraltar among GLOBAL, IBI and the nested SAMPA high-resolution coastal forecast system in order to elucidate the accuracy of each system to characterize the Atlantic Jet (AJ) inflow dynamic. A quantitative validation against High Frequency radar (HFR) hourly currents highlighted both the steady improvement in AJ representation in terms of speed and direction when zooming from global to coastal scales though a multi-nesting model approach and also the relevance of a variety of factors at local scale such as a refined horizontal resolution, a tailored bathymetry and a higher spatio-temporal resolution of the atmospheric forcing. The ability of each model to reproduce a 2-day quasi-permanent full reversal of the AJ surface inflow was examined in terms of wind-induced circulation patterns. SAMPA appeared to better reproduce the reversal events detected with HFR estimations, demonstrating the potential added value of coastal models with respect to coarser parent regional systems. Finally, SAMPA coastal model outputs were also qualitatively analysed in the Western Alboran Sea to put in a broader perspective the context of the onset, development and end of such flow reversal episodes.

Pablo Lorente et al.
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