Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Development, performance evaluation and application of a physical model of the Kenyan-Tanzanian coastal region Public Deposited

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  • A Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) application for the coastal region of Kenya and Tanzania (0-10° S, 38.7-46.98° E) was developed with the aim of better resolving the circulation patterns in the coastal region that is poorly represented in global models. The model has a horizontal resolution of 4 km, and uses realistic time- and space-varying climatological forcing derived from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis daily product, and boundary conditions from the OFES global ocean general circulation model. To evaluate the performance of the model, results were compared with satellite sea surface temperature (SST) and altimeter products, as well as temperature and salinity profiles. The climatologically forced model does a reasonably good job of representing the hydrographic fields. Model fields show that there is strong seasonality in the nearshore circulation, with generally sluggish flows and longer retention times during December, January and February, and strong northward alongshore coastal flow during the rest of the year. Lagrangian particle tracking experiments using the modeled circulation fields were conducted to quantify retention differences between seasons. The particle dispersion patterns observed have important implications for local environmental issues such as ocean disposal and discharge of pollutants and the ability of coral reef organisms to self-seed to local-scale coral reefs and to facilitate dispersal and connectivity among multiple coral reefs on the shelves of Kenya and Tanzania. In addition to the climatologically forced model, two specific contrasting years, 2000 and 2007, were modeled using year specific forcing to examine interannual variability in the hydrographic fields. High variability in the eddy field and SST was observed. The Kenyan-Tanzanian coastal model provides a framework for the study of more detailed physics, biology and chemistry processes of this region, and will enable examination of connectivity among coral ecosystems in East African coastal waters.
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