A regional modeling study of the entraining Mediterranean outflow
Chassignet, Eric P.
Price, James F.
Ozgokmen, Tamay M.
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We have evaluated a regional-scale simulation of the Mediterranean outflow by comparison with field data obtained in the 1988 Gulf of Cádiz Expedition. Our ocean model is based upon the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) and includes the Richardson number–dependent entrainment parameterization of Xu et al. (2006). Given realistic topography and sufficient resolution, the model reproduces naturally the major, observed features of the Mediterranean outflow in the Gulf of Cádiz: the downstream evolution of temperature, salinity, and velocity profiles, the mean path and the spreading of the outflow plume, and most importantly, the localized, strong entrainment that has been observed to occur just west of the Strait of Gibraltar. As in all numerical solutions, there is some sensitivity to horizontal and vertical resolution. When the resolution is made coarser, the simulated currents are less vigorous and there is consequently less entrainment. Our Richardson number–dependent entrainment parameterization is therefore not recommended for direct application in coarse-resolution climate models. We have used the high-resolution regional model to investigate the response of the Mediterranean outflow to a change in the freshwater balance over the Mediterranean basin. The results are found in close agreement with the marginal sea boundary condition (MSBC): A more saline and dense Mediterranean deep water generates a significantly greater volume transport of the Mediterranean product water having only very slightly greater salinity.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2007. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 112 (2007): C12005, doi:10.1029/2007JC004145.
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