Articles | Volume 21, issue 1
31 Jan 2003
 | 31 Jan 2003

High-resolution nested model simulations of the climatological circulation in the southeastern Mediterranean Sea

S. Brenner

Abstract. As part of the Mediterranean Forecasting System Pilot Project (MFSPP) we have implemented a high-resolution (2 km horizontal grid, 30 sigma levels) version of the Princeton Ocean Model for the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea. The domain extends 200 km offshore and includes the continental shelf and slope, and part of the open sea. The model is nested in an intermediate resolution (5.5 km grid) model that covers the entire Levantine, Ionian, and Aegean Sea. The nesting is one way so that velocity, temperature, and salinity along the boundaries are interpolated from the relevant intermediate model variables. An integral constraint is applied so that the net mass flux across the open boundaries is identical to the net flux in the intermediate model. The model is integrated for three perpetual years with surface forcing specified from monthly mean climatological wind stress and heat fluxes. The model is stable and spins up within the first year to produce a repeating seasonal cycle throughout the three-year integration period. While there is some internal variability evident in the results, it is clear that, due to the relatively small domain, the results are strongly influenced by the imposed lateral boundary conditions. The results closely follow the simulation of the intermediate model. The main improvement is in the simulation over the narrow shelf region, which is not adequately resolved by the coarser grid model. Comparisons with direct current measurements over the shelf and slope show reasonable agreement despite the limitations of the climatological forcing. The model correctly simulates the direction and the typical speeds of the flow over the shelf and slope, but has difficulty properly re-producing the seasonal cycle in the speed.

Key words. Oceanography: general (continental shelf processes; numerical modelling; ocean prediction)