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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model experiment description paper 06 Feb 2019

Model experiment description paper | 06 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

The INALT family – a set of high-resolution nests for the Agulhas Current system within global NEMO ocean/sea-ice configurations

Franziska U. Schwarzkopf1, Arne Biastoch1,2, Claus W. Böning1,2, Jérôme Chanut3, Jonathan V. Durgadoo1, Klaus Getzlaff1, Jan Harlaß1, Jan K. Rieck1, Christina Roth1, Markus M. Scheinert1, and René Schubert1 Franziska U. Schwarzkopf et al.
  • 1GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
  • 2Kiel University, Christian-Albrechts-Platz 4, 24118 Kiel, Germany
  • 3Mercator-Ocean, Parc Technologique du Canal, 8-10 rue Hermès, 31520 Ramonville St-Agne, France

Abstract. The Agulhas Current, the western boundary current of the South Indian Ocean, has been shown to play an important role in the connectivity between the Indian and Atlantic oceans. The greater Agulhas Current system is highly dominated by mesoscale dynamics. To investigate their influence onto the regional and global circulations, a family of high-resolution ocean general circulation model configurations based on the NEMO code has been developed. Horizontal resolution refinement is achieved by embedding nests covering the South Atlantic and the western Indian oceans at 1/10° (INALT10) and 1/20° (INALT20) within global hosts with coarser resolutions. Nests and hosts are connected through two-way interaction, allowing the nests not only to receive boundary conditions from their respective host, but also to feed back the impact of regional dynamics onto the global ocean. A double-nested configuration at 1/60° resolution (INALT60) has been developed to gain insights into sub-mesoscale processes within the Agulhas Current system. Large-scale measures such as the Drake Passage transport and the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation are rather robust among the different configurations indicating the important role of the hosts in providing a consistent embedment of the regionally refined grids into the global circulation. The dynamics of the Agulhas Current system strongly depend on the representation of mesoscale processes. Both, the southward flowing Agulhas Current and the northward flowing Agulhas Undercurrent increase in strength with increasing resolution towards more realistic values, which suggests the importance of improving mesoscale dynamics as well as bathymetric slopes along this narrow western boundary current regime. The exploration of numerical choices such as lateral boundary conditions and details of the implementation of surface wind stress forcing demonstrates the range of solutions within any given configuration.

Franziska U. Schwarzkopf et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
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Franziska U. Schwarzkopf et al.
Franziska U. Schwarzkopf et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
A family of nested global ocean general circulation model configurations, the INALT family, has been established with resolutions of 1/10°, 1/20° and 1/60° in the South Atlantic and western Indian oceans, covering the greater Agulhas Current (AC) system. The INALT family provides a consistent set of configurations that allows to address eddy dynamics in the AC system and their impact on the large-scale ocean circulation.
A family of nested global ocean general circulation model configurations, the INALT family, has...