Evaluation of Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment Products on South Florida Nested Simulations with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model

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coastal dynamics, data assimilation, florida current, loop current, numerical modeling

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The South Florida Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (SoFLA-HYCOM) encompasses a variety of coastal regions (the broad Southwest Florida shelf, the narrow Atlantic Keys shelf, the shallow Florida Bay, and Biscayne Bay) and deep regions (the Straits of Florida), including Marine Protected Areas (the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary and the Dry Tortugas Ecological Reserve). The presence of the strong Loop Current/Florida Current system and associated eddies connects the local and basin-wide dynamics. A multi-nested approach has been developed to ensure resolution of coastal-scale processes and proper interaction with the large scale flows. The simulations are free running and effects of data assimilation are introduced through boundary conditions derived from Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment products. The study evaluates the effects of boundary conditions on the successful hindcasting of circulation patterns by a nested model, applied on a dynamically and topographically complex shelf area. Independent (not assimilated) observations are employed for a quantitative validation of the numerical results. The discussion of the prevailing dynamics that are revealed in both modeled and observed patterns suggests the importance of topography resolution and local forcing on the inner shelf to middle shelf areas, while large scale processes are found to dominate the outer shelf flows. The results indicate that the successful hindcasting of circulation patterns in a coastal area that is characterized by complex topography and proximity to a large scale current system requires a dynamical downscaling approach, with simulations that are nested in a hierarchy of data assimilative outer models.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Ocean Dynamics, v. 59, issue 1, p. 47-66