Modeling Intrinsic Variability and Connectivity in Shelf and Littoral Circulation

Lead PI: James McWilliams, University of California, Los Angeles
Start Year: 2015 | Duration: 3 Years
Partners: Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of Michigan, Kobe University, Japan & LEGOS, Toulouse, France

The objectives in this research will be discovering and understanding the physical phenomena in the transition zone between shelf and surf currents (inner shelf), the outer shelf, and the upper continental slope with the existing Regional Oceanic Modeling System (ROMS) and then utilizing the model results to guide and interpret the Inner Shelf DRI field measurements. The model comprises oceanic currents, atmospheric coupling, tides, and surface gravity waves. A dual approach is proposed. The focus is on intrinsic variability (eddies) rather than wind and tide forced responses.  One research branch is to simulate realistic shelf regimes at several different sites over extended intervals to encounter a variety of forcing conditions and spontaneous realizations. The other branch is to solve idealized problems that simplify and isolate various dynamical processes to determine their influences on the resulting phenomena and to test theoretical ideas.  A technical component is testing the global HYCOM model product as a parent data set for downscaling in nested-grid regional subdomains.

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