Assessment of a zoomed global model for the North Sea by comparison with a conventional nested regional model

Jian Su, Dmitri Sein, Moritz Mathis, Bernhard Mayer, Kieran O'Driscoll, Xinping Chen, Uwe Mikolajewicz, Thomas Pohlmann

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    Assessment of marine downscaling of global model simulations to the regional scale is a prerequisite for understanding ocean feedback to the atmosphere in regional climate downscaling. Major difficulties arise from the coarse grid resolution of global models, which cannot provide sufficiently accurate boundary values for the regional model. In this study, we first setup a stretched global model (MPIOM) to focus on the North Sea by shifting poles. Second, a regional model (HAMSOM) was performed with higher resolution, while the open boundary values were provided by the stretched global model. In general, the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the two experiments are similar. Major SST differences are found in coastal regions (root mean square difference of SST is reaching up to 2°C). The higher sea surface salinity in coastal regions in the global model indicates the general limitation of this global model and its configuration (surface layer thickness is 16 m). By comparison, the advantage of the absence of open lateral boundaries in the global model can be demonstrated, in particular for the transition region between the North Sea and Baltic Sea. On long timescales, the North Atlantic Current (NAC) inflow through the northern boundary correlates well between both model simulations (R~0.9). After downscaling with HAMSOM, the NAC inflow through the northern boundary decreases by ~10%, but the circulation in the Skagerrak is stronger in HAMSOM. The circulation patterns of both models are similar in the northern North Sea. The comparison suggests that the stretched global model system is a suitable tool for long-term free climate model simulations, and the only limitations occur in coastal regions. Regarding the regional studies focusing on the coastal zone, nested regional model can be a helpful alternative.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number23927
    Number of pages13
    JournalTellus A
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


    • regional ocean model, global ocean model, North Sea, HAMSOM, MPIOM, marine downscaling

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