Evaluation of a global internal-tide resolving and submesoscale admitting ocean simulation

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Clement Ubelmann1, Dimitris Menemenlis1, Lee-Lueng Fu2 and Zhongxiang Zhao3, (1)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States
We will present ongoing evaluation of a global ocean and sea ice configuration of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm) that has 0.75 to 2.2 km horizontal grid spacing and 1-m thick vertical levels near the surface. Surface boundary conditions are from the 0.14-degree European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) atmospheric operational model analysis, starting in 2011, including atmospheric pressure forcing. The simulation also includes tidal forcing. A unique feature of this simulation is that we save hourly output of full 3-dimensional model prognostic variables, making it a remarkable tool for the study of ocean processes and for the simulation of satellite observations. Although this initial simulation was run without ocean data constraints, it already presents very interesting features and interactions between an exceptionally wide range of scales. The simulation resolves geostrophic eddies and internal tides and admits submesoscale variability and unbalanced dynamics such as internal waves at non-tidal frequencies.

We will present some evaluation of these different components based on altimetry observations and moorings. As a first result, the internal tides for the major tidal components have overall realistic amplitudes and spatial patterns compared to independent analyses from altimetry, although some discrepancies arise in equatorial regions. Despite discrepancies with observations, this simulation already constitutes an extremely useful tool for ocean process studies and for satellite observation system experiments, for example, in preparation for the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. As a preliminary exercise, the simulation has been tested in the SWOT simulator developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Fu et al., in this session). Some illustrations of the challenges will be presented.