Collaborative Research: Development of a High-Resolution, Unstructured Grid, Finite-Volume Coupled Ice-Ocean Model for the Arctic Ocean
Basic Project Information
Arctic Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (AOMIP) studies recommend two key model improvements for Arctic Ocean research: 1) increase model horizontal and vertical grid resolution and 2) include tidal motions in the model dynamics to provide physically-based mixing rates that vary both horizontally and vertically depending on tidal currents and ice-tide interactions. This effort seeks to complete the development and evaluation of a new high-resolution unstructured-grid, finite-volume coupled ice-ocean model for the Arctic Ocean (AO-FVCOM) and use this model to investigate the influences of coastline fitting, steep bathymetry, tides and tidal processes, surface wind stress, heat flux, atmospheric loading, coastal freshwater forcing, ice dynamics, and boundary forcing on Arctic Ocean circulation and water mass/sea ice distributions and variability. Both AO-FVCOM hindcast experiments following AOMIP specifications and process-oriented experiments are planned. These simulations will quantify the impacts of coastal geometry and bathymetry resolution on circulation and freshwater transport in the complex Canadian Archipelago and other coastal seas and the exchange processes between the Archipelago, Arctic basins, and the North Atlantic, plus provide new insight into the nonlinear interactions between ocean circulation, atmospheric forcing, sea ice, tides, and time-dependent river discharge and Bering Strait inflow and their different influences on Arctic Ocean oceanography. AO-FVCOM will be an open community model system available through the project website.
This project will provide a new high-resolution unstructured-grid, finite volume Arctic Ocean model (AO-FVCOM) for use in regional and global ocean circulation and climate change studies. AO-FVCOM is significantly different from existing Arctic Ocean structured-grid models due to the geometric flexibility inherent in the unstructured-grid approach and the local mass, momentum, heat, and salt conservation and computational efficiency inherent in the finite-volume approach. AO-FVCOM hindcasts using AOMIP forcing and analysis methods will help evaluate AO-FVCOM for long-term ocean and climate change studies, while the AO-FVCOM process-oriented experiments will advance our understanding of the nonlinear interactions between tides, sea ice, wind stress, heat flux, atmospheric loading, and time dependent river discharge and boundary inflow on ocean circulation, water structure and sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. AO-FVCOM development and model experiments will provide an exciting new tool to study the linkages between Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans (especially through the Canadian Archipelago) and allow direct numerical simulation of the high-latitude buoyancy driven coastal boundary current that drives the shelf and upper slope circulation from Labrador south to Cape Hatteras.