Marine Ecosystem Dynamics Modeling Laboratory

Arctic Ocean FVCOM

We are an UMASS-WHOI joint Arctic Ocean model development team led by Dr. C. Chen (UMASS), Dr. A Proshutinsky (WHOI) and Dr. R. C. Beardsley (WHOI). Funded by NSF, we have successfully developed a high-resolution unstructured-grid, finite-volume coupled ice-ocean model for the Arctic Ocean (AO-FVCOM). AO-FVCOM has been validated via comparison to observed data under climatological conditions This project will provide a new high-resolution unstructured-grid, finite-volume coupled ice-ocean Arctic Ocean model 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. The geometric flexibility of this model enables detailed examination of multi-scale shelf-basin interactions in the Arctic, particularly over the shelfbreak and in the region connected to the Canadian Archipelago. The AO-FVCOM hindcast simulations 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 are providing 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.

Posted on January 16, 2014