Midshelf to surfzone coupled ROMS-SWAN model data comparison of waves, currents, and temperature: Diagnosis of subtidal forcings and response

TitleMidshelf to surfzone coupled ROMS-SWAN model data comparison of waves, currents, and temperature: Diagnosis of subtidal forcings and response
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsKumar N., Feddersen F, Uchiyama Y., McWilliams J., O'Reilly W.
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Date Published2015/06
Type of ArticleReview
ISBN Number0022-3670
Accession NumberWOS:000356227700002
KeywordsBuoy observations; circulation; continental-shelf; coupled; current system; Empirical orthogonal; Fecal indicator bacteria; functions; inner-shelf; internal waves; Mathematical and statistical techniques; Model comparison; modeling; models; Models and modeling; new-england shelf; Numerical analysis; Observational techniques and algorithms; oceanic; oregon coast; Profilers; radiation stress; southern california bight; transport

A coupled wave and circulation model that includes tide, wind, buoyancy, and wave processes is necessary to investigate tracer exchange in the shelf region. Here, a coupled Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS)-Simulating Waves Nearshore (SWAN) model, resolving midshelf to the surfzone region of the San Pedro Bay, California, is compared to observations from the 2006 Huntington Beach experiment. Waves are well modeled, and surfzone cross- and alongshore velocities are reasonably well modeled. Modeled and observed rotary velocity spectra compare well in subtidal and tidal bands, and temperature spectra compare well in the subtidal band. Observed and modeled mid- and inner-shelf subtidal velocity ellipses and temperature variability determined from the first vertical complex EOF (cEOF) mode have similar vertical structure. Although the modeled subtidal velocity vertical shear and stratification are weaker than observed, the ratio of stratification to shear is similar, suggesting model vertical mixing is consistent with observations. On fortnightly and longer time scales, the surface heat flux and advective heat flux divergence largely balance on the inner shelf and surfzone. The surfzone and inner-shelf alongshore currents separated by 220 m are unrelated. Both modeled and observed subtidal alongshelf current and temperature are cross-shelf coherent seaward of the surfzone. Wind forcing explains 50% of the observed and modeled inner-shelf alongshore current variability. The observed and modeled inner-shelf alongshelf nonuniformities in depth-averaged alongshore velocities are similar. Inferred, inner-shelf, wave-induced, cross-shore exchange is more important than on the U.S. East Coast. Overall, the coupled ROMS-SWAN model represents well the waves and subtidal circulation dynamics from the midshelf to the surfzone.

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