Articles | Volume 23, issue 6
15 Sep 2005
 | 15 Sep 2005

Vertical structure of extreme currents in the Faroe-Bank Channel

C. Carollo, I. Astin, and J. Graff

Abstract. Extreme currents are studied with the aim of understanding their vertical and spatial structures in the Faroe-Bank Channel. Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler time series recorded in 3 deployments in this channel were investigated. To understand the main features of extreme events, the measurements were separated into their components through filtering and tidal analysis before applying the extreme value theory to the surge component. The Generalized Extreme Value (GEV) distribution and the Generalized Pareto Distribution (GPD) were used to study the variation of surge extremes from near-surface to deep waters. It was found that this component alone is not able to explain the extremes measured in total currents, particularly below 500 m. Here the mean residual flow enhanced by tidal rectification was found to be the component feature dominating extremes. Therefore, it must be taken into consideration when applying the extreme value theory, not to underestimate the return level for total currents. Return value speeds up to 250 cm s–1 for 50/250 years return period were found for deep waters, where the flow is constrained by the topography at bearings near 300/330° It is also found that the UK Meteorological Office FOAM model is unable to reproduce either the magnitude or the form for the extremes, perhaps due to its coarse vertical and horizontal resolution, and is thus not suitable to model extremes on a regional scale.

Keywords. Oceanography: Physical (Currents; General circulation; General or miscellaneous)