A fine resolution model of the Coastal Eastern Boundary Current systems off Iberia and Morocco
Martinho, Antonio S.
Batteen, Mary L.
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To investigate the role of wind forcing, bottom topography and thermohaline gradients on classical as well as unique features in the northern Canary Current system (NCCS), four experiments are conducted with a sigma coordinate primitive equation model. The first experiment, which investigates the pressure gradient force error, shows that velocity errors inherent in three dimensional sigma coordinate models can be successfully reduced from ^1 m/s to less than 0.5 cm/s in the NCCS. The second experiment, which investigates the effect of annual wind forcing on a flat bottom, accurately portrays classical eastern boundary current features as well as unique NCCS features associated with a large embayment (i.e., the Gulf of Cadiz), poleward spreading of Mediterranean Outflow, and the generation of Meddies. The additional effect of bottom topography in Experiment 3 shows that topography plays important roles in intensifying and trapping the equatorward current near the coast, in weakening the subsurface poleward current and in intensifying eddies off the capes of Iberia. The use of full instead of horizontally averaged thermohaline gradients in Experiment 4 highlights the development of the Iberian Current off the Portugal west coast, a feature not seen in the previous experiments. This shows that thermohaline gradients play an important role for the formation of the Iberian Current.
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