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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-24
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-24
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 Apr 2020

14 Apr 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Properties and dynamics of mesoscale-eddies in the Fram Strait from a comparison between two high-resolution ocean-sea ice models

Claudia Wekerle1, Tore Hattermann2,3, Qiang Wang1, Laura Crews4, Wilken-Jon von Appen1, and Sergey Danilov1 Claudia Wekerle et al.
  • 1Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
  • 3Energy and Climate Group, Department of Physics and Technology, The Arctic University of Tromsø, Norway
  • 4School of Oceanography and Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Abstract. The Fram Strait, the deepest gateway to the Arctic Ocean, is strongly influenced by eddy dynamics. Here we analyse the output from two eddy-resolving models (ROMS and FESOM) with around 1 km mesh resolution in the Fram Strait, with focus on their representation of eddy properties and dynamics. A comparison with mooring observations shows that both models reasonably simulate hydrography and eddy kinetic energy. Despite differences in model formulation, they show relatively similar eddy properties. The eddies have a mean radius of 4.9 km and 5.6 km in ROMS and FESOM, respectively, with slightly more cyclones than anticyclones (ROMS: 54 %, FESOM: 55 %). The lifetime of detected eddies is relatively short in both simulations (ROMS: 10 days, FESOM: 11 days), and the mean travel distance is 35 km in both models. More anticyclones are trapped in deep depressions or move toward deep locations. The two models show comparable patterns of baroclinic and barotropic instability. However, ROMS has relatively stronger eddy intensity and baroclinic instability, possibly due to its smaller grid size and higher effective resolution. Overall, the relatively good agreement between the two models strengthens our confidence in their ability to realistically represent the Fram Strait ocean dynamics, and also highlights the need for very high mesh resolution.

Claudia Wekerle et al.

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Claudia Wekerle et al.

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Short summary
High-resolution ocean models ROMS and FESOM configured for the Fram Strait reveal very turbulent ocean conditions there. The two main currents meander strongly, and shed circular currents of water, called eddies. Our analysis shows that this region is characterised by small and short living eddies (on average around 5 km radius and 10 days lifetime). Both models agree on eddy properties and show similar patterns of baroclinic and barotropic instability of the West Spitsbergen Current.
High-resolution ocean models ROMS and FESOM configured for the Fram Strait reveal very turbulent...
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