Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
Ocean Sci., 4, 1–14, 2008

Special issue: Mediterranean Ocean Forecasting System: toward environmental...

Ocean Sci., 4, 1–14, 2008

  24 Jan 2008

24 Jan 2008

A high-resolution free-surface model of the Mediterranean Sea

M. Tonani1, N. Pinardi2, S. Dobricic3, I. Pujol1, and C. Fratianni1 M. Tonani et al.
  • 1Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Bologna, Italy
  • 2University of Bologna, Corso di Scienze Ambientali, Ravenna, Italy
  • 3Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici, Bologna, Italy

Abstract. This study describes a new model implementation for the Mediterranean Sea with what is currently the highest vertical resolution over the Mediterranean basin. The resolution is of 1/16°×1/16° in the horizontal and has 72 unevenly spaced vertical levels. This model has been developed in the frame of the EU-MFSTEP project and is the operational forecast model currently used at the basin scale.

The model considers an implicit free surface and this characteristic enhances the model's capability to simulate the sea surface height variability and the net transport at the Strait of Gibraltar.

In this study we show the calibration/validation experiments performed before and after the model was used for forecasting. The first experiment consists of a six-year simulation forced by a perpetual year forcing, and the other experiment is a simulation from January 1997 to December 2004, forcing the model with 6-h atmospheric forcing fields from ECMWF. The model Sea Level Anomaly has been compared for the first time with satellite SLA and with ARGO data to provide evidence of the quality of the simulation.

The results show that this model is capable of reproducing most of the variability of the general circulation in the Mediterranean Sea. However, some basic model inadequacies stand out and should be corrected in the near future.