Ocean Dynamics

, 59:969

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) to improve the ocean circulation from a GCM 20th century simulation

  • Arne MelsomAffiliated withNorwegian Meteorological Institute Email author 
  • , Vidar Suren LienAffiliated withInstitute of Marine Research
  • , William Paul BudgellAffiliated withInstitute of Marine ResearchBjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchDept. of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Memorial University of Newfoundland


Global coupled climate models are generally capable of reproducing the observed trends in the globally averaged atmospheric temperature. However, the global models do not perform as well on regional scales. Here, we present results from a 20-year, high-resolution ocean model experiment for the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. The atmospheric forcing is taken from the final 20 years of a twentieth-century control run with a coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model. The ocean model results from the regional ocean model are validated using observations of hydrography from repeat cruises in the Barents Sea. Validation is performed for average quantities and for probability distributions in space and time. The validation results reveal that, though the regional model is forced by a coupled global model that has a noticeable sea ice bias in the Barents Sea, the hydrography and its variability are reproduced with an encouraging quality. We attribute this improvement to the realistic transport of warm, salty waters into the Barents Sea in the regional model. These lateral fluxes in the ocean are severely underestimated by the global model. The added value with the regional model that we have documented here lends hope to advance the quality of oceanic climate change impact studies.


Model validation Barents Sea Regional climate Ocean modeling