Improving Surface Tidal Accuracy Through Two-Way Nesting in a Global Ocean Model

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Marine Science


In global ocean simulations, forward (non-data-assimilative) tide models generally feature large sea-surface-height errors near Hudson Strait in the North Atlantic Ocean with respect to altimetry-constrained tidal solutions. These errors may be associated with tidal resonances that are not well resolved by the complex coastal-shelf bathymetry in low-resolution simulations. An online two-way nesting framework has been implemented to improve global surface tides in the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). In this framework, a high-resolution child domain, covering Hudson Strait, is coupled with a relatively low-resolution parent domain for computational efficiency. Data such as barotropic pressure and velocity are exchanged between the child and parent domains with the external coupler OASIS3-MCT. The developed nesting framework is validated with semi-idealized basin-scale model simulations. The M2 sea-surface heights show very good accuracy in the one-way and two-way nesting simulations in Hudson Strait, where large tidal elevations are observed. In addition, the mass and tidal energy flux are not adversely impacted at the nesting boundaries in the semi-idealized simulations. In a next step, the nesting framework is applied to a realistic global tide simulation. In this simulation, the resolution of the child domain (1/75°) is three times as fine as that of the parent domain (1/25°). The M2 sea-surface-height root-mean-square errors with tide gauge data and the altimetry-constrained global FES2014 and TPXO9-atlas tidal solutions are evaluated for the nesting and no-nesting solutions. The better resolved coastal bathymetry and the finer grid in the child domain improve the local tides in Hudson Strait and Bay, and the back-effect of the coastal tides induces an improvement of the barotropic tides in the open ocean of the Atlantic.

Publication Title

Ocean Modelling

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