On Intermediate Models for Barotropic Continental Shelf and Slope Flow Fields. Part III: Comparison of Numerical Model Solutions in Periodic Channels Public Deposited

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  • The study of intermediate models for barotropic continental shelf and slope flow fields initiated in Parts I and II is continued. The objective is to investigate the possible use of intermediate models for process and data assimilation studies of nonlinear mesoscale eddy and jet current fields over the continental shelf and slope. Intermediate models contain physics between that in the primitive equations and that in the quasi-geostrophic equations and are capable of representing subinertial frequency motion over the O(1) topographic variations typical of the continental slope while filtering out high-frequency gravity–inertial waves. We concentrate on the application of intermediate models to the f-plane shallow-water equations. The accuracy of several intermediate models is evaluated here by a comparison of numerical finite-difference solutions with those of the primitive shallow-water equations (SWE) and with those of the quasi-geostrophic equations (QG) for flow in a periodic channel. The intermediate models that we consider are based on the balance equations (BE), the balance equations derived from momentum equations (BEM), the potential vorticity conserving linear balance equations (LQBE), the hybrid balance equations (HBE), the near balance equation (NBE), a geostrophic vorticity (GV) approximation, the geostrophic momentum (GM) approximation, and the quasi-geostrophic momentum and full continuity equations (IM). The periodic channel provides a basic geometry for the study of physical flow processes over the continental shelf and slope. Wall boundary conditions are formulated for the intermediate models and implemented in the numerical finite-difference approximations. The ability of intermediate models to represent linear ageostrophic coastally trapped waves, i.e., Kelvin and continental shelf waves, is verified by numerical experiments. The results of numerical solution intercomparisons for initial-value problems involving O(1) topographic variations are as follows. For flow at small local Rossby number |ϵ[subscript]L| < 0.2, where ϵ[subscript]L is given by the magnitude of the vorticity divided by f, all of the intermediate models do well, while the QG model does poorly. For flows with larger values of |ϵ[subscript]L|, e.g., |ϵ[subscript]L| ≈ 0.5, the performance of the different intermediate models varies. BEM and BE consistently give extremely accurate solutions while the solutions from LQBE are almost as good. The other models are substantially less accurate with errors generally increasing in the order NBE, HBE, GV, GM, IM. The QG solution always has the largest errors. Consistent with the results from the studies in Part II in a doubly periodic domain, the balance equations BE and BEM, followed closely by LQBE, appear to be the most accurate intermediate model
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  • Allen, J. S., J. A. Barth, P. A. Newberger, 1990: On Intermediate Models for Barotropic Continental Shelf and Slope Flow Fields. Part III: Comparison of Numerical Model Solutions in Periodic Channels. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 20(12), 1949–1973.
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