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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-44
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-44
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 13 May 2019

Research article | 13 May 2019

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

Very high-resolution modelling of submesoscale turbulent patterns and processes in the Baltic Sea

Reiner Onken, Burkard Baschek, and Ingrid M. Angel-Benavides Reiner Onken et al.
  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Stra├če 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany

Abstract. In order to simulate submesoscale turbulent patterns and processes (STPPs) and to analyse their properties and dynamics, the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) is applied to a subregion of the Baltic Sea around the island of Bornholm. The modeled STPPs provide an aid for the interpretation of observations that were taken during the Expedition Clockwork Ocean in the same region in June 2016. To create a realistic mesoscale and submesoscale environment, ROMS with 500-m horizontal resolution is one-way nested into an existing operational model. The comparison of the results with satellite images shows good agreement. STPPs with horizontal scales < 1 km are resolved with a second nest of 100-m resolution providing a deep insight into ageostrophic processes and associated quantities. STPPs evolve rapidly within a about a day. They are characterised by strong vertical speeds of ­Łĺ¬(100 m/day) and relative vorticities and divergences reaching multiple of the Coriolis parameter. Typical elements of the secondary circulation of two-dimensional strain-induced frontogenesis are identified at an exemplary front in shallow water, and details of the ageostrophic flow field are revealed. The conditions for inertial and symmetric instability are evaluated for the whole domain, and the components of the tendency equation are computed in a subregion. While anticyclonic eddies are generated solely along coasts, cyclonic eddies are rolled-up streamers and found in the entire domain. A special feature of the cyclones is their ability to absorb internal waves and to sustain patches of continous upwelling for several days favouring plankton growth. The kinematic properties show good agreement with observations, while some observed details within a small cyclonic eddy are only partly reproduced, most likely due to a lack of horizontal resolution or non-hydrostatic effects.

Reiner Onken et al.
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Reiner Onken et al.
Reiner Onken et al.
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Short summary
In order to provide an aid for the interpretation of observations of the formation, the structure and the dynamics of submesoscale patterns, a numerical model is applied in a double-offline nested setup to a subarea of the Baltic Sea. A model with 500-m horizontal resolution is nested into an existing operational model in order to create a realistic mesoscale environment. Turbulent patterns with horizontal scales < 1 km are resolved by a second nest with 100-m resolution.
In order to provide an aid for the interpretation of observations of the formation, the...
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