Numerical Modeling Study of the Gulf of Mexico Basin: Skill Assessment.
Final rept. Sep 95-Nov 96,
OLD DOMINION UNIV NORFOLK VA DEPT OF OCEANOGRAPHY
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This report contains the results of an assessment of a three dimensional primitive equation model simulation of the Gulf of Mexico, using surface drifter observations collected as part of the Sculp program. The assessment focuses mainly on the surface circulation of the Louisiana-Texas shelf. The model is fully thermodynamic, and it assimilates both TOPEX and ERS-1 altimetric data. The drifter observations were used to asses the models ability to accurately describe the surface circulation on the Louisiana-Texas shelf. Twenty-six model drifter trajectories were used to make side-by-side comparisons between the model and observations on this shelf. The statistical properties of these 26 modeled and observed drifters were also compared. This assessment shows that the model produces many mesoscale flow structures similar to those seen in the observations. Nevertheless, the model generally does not well describe specific observed shelf circulation events. Error in the wind field used to force the model are suspected to be an important cause of these discrepancies. Apparently, these wind forcing errors masked any underlying problems in the models ability to describe the dynamics on the shelf.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography