Time and space resolution and mixed layer model accuracy
Hone, David M
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The oceanic turbulent boundary layer is a critical region to understand for oceanic and atmospheric prediction. This thesis answers two fundamental questions: (1) what is the response of the ocean mixed layer system to transient forcing at the air sea surface? (2) what is the necessary time and space resolution in an ocean mixed layer model to resolve important transient responses? Beginning with replication of de Szoeke and Rhines' work, additional physical processes were added to include more realistic viscous dissipation and anisotropy in the three-dimensional turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) budget. These refinements resulted in modification of de Szoeke and Rhines' findings. Firstly, TKE unsteadiness is important for a minimum of 10 to the 5th power seconds. Secondly, viscous dissipation should not be approximated as simply proportional to shear production. Thirdly, entrainment shear production remains significant for a minimum of one pendulum-day. The required temporal model resolution is dependent on the phenomena to be studied. This study focused on the diurnal, synoptic, and annual cycles, which the one-hour time step of the Naval Postgraduate School model adequately resolves. The study of spatial resolution showed unexpectedly that model skill was comparable for 1 m, 10 m and even 20 m vertical grid spacing
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