Unstructured-grid model for the North Sea and Baltic Sea: Validation against observations


A new unstructured-grid model and its application to the North Sea and Baltic Sea are described. The research focus is on the dynamics in the two basins and in the multiple straits connecting them and more specifically on how the model replicates the temporal and spatial variability of physical processes. The comparison against observed data indicates the realism in the simulations of the exchange flows. The simulations demonstrated that in contrast to the tidal variability which decreases in the strait, the role of the barotropic forcing due to weather systems increases. In this zone reversal of transport is well manifested by the increased difference between the surface and bottom salinity values. Small sub-basins like Arkona and Bornholm play the role of reservoirs for denser water which under specific conditions cascades on its way to the Gotland Deep. Unlike the intermediate and deep water salinity in the Baltic Sea, which is strongly affected by fluxes in the straits, the simulated winter-refill and evolution of cold intermediate water are rather driven by surface cooling and processes in the upper mixed layer.
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