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Improved representation of topographic effects by a vertical adaptive grid in Vector-Ocean-Model (VOM). Part II: Simulations in unstructured adaptive grids

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Backhaus, J. O., Harms, I., & Huebner, U. (2008). Improved representation of topographic effects by a vertical adaptive grid in Vector-Ocean-Model (VOM). Part II: Simulations in unstructured adaptive grids. OCEAN MODELLING, 22(3-4), 128-145. doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2008.02.002.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0017-CA2D-9
A static adaptive grid approximates the topography and defines the vertical resolution in Vector-Ocean-Model (VOM). The adaptation to topography creates unstructured grids, which are organised in a one-dimensional vector by column-wise storage of only wet cells. The model's name reflects this data structure. The intention of VOM is better resolving flow and stratification near topographic boundaries in Z-coordinates. This is the second part of a publication that describes the generation of adaptive grids (part I), and simulations with VOM in unstructured grids (this part). Adaptive grids generated for a synthetic topography in part I include shelf, continental slope, and ocean. Three of those grids are here utilised in upwelling simulations. Under the same forcing increased vertical resolution at seabed and slopes yields a significant increase in flow energy as compared to coarser grids. Results allow explaining the surface intensification of a continental slope jet by vertical displacements of water masses in the seabed Ekman layer. Results in unstructured grids are almost identical to reference simulations in equidistant grids where the respective smallest grid size of unstructured grids was used. Negative effects of grids on predicted flow and stratification are absent also over particularly rough topography, as demonstrated by using vertical velocity as most sensitive indicator. In a further simulation an overflow governed by the advection of water mass properties is presented to demonstrate the conservation properties of the model. After 5 months of simulation the predicted domain average temperature deviated by 10(-8) from the initial temperature field. Compared to equidistant grids the advection/diffusion scheme looses about one order of magnitude in accuracy when used in an unstructured grid. The results of VOM, being defined in Z-coordinates, are void of coordinate transformation errors. In an arbitrary topography unforced zero-flow remains quiescent in a stratification that only varies in the vertical. VOM due to its depth-independent vertical resolution appears particularly suitable for simulations of ocean-shelf exchange. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.