Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 266–283 | Cite as

Simulating the temporal and spatial dynamics of the North Sea using the new model GETM (general estuarine transport model)

  • Adolf StipsEmail author
  • Karsten Bolding
  • Thomas Pohlmann
  • Hans Burchard


Here we present results of a 1-year realistic North Sea simulation from the new model GETM (general estuarine transport model) and assess the capabilities of this model by comparing them to model results from the well-known HAMSOM (Hamburg shelf sea and ocean model) model, in situ data from the North Sea project and satellite-derived sea-surface temperature data. The annual cycle and the spatial variability of stratification and mixing in the North Sea is simulated. It is shown that the new model is successful in reproducing the general temporal and spatial dynamics of the North Sea. The major advantages of GETM for achieving improved results in this simulation are the implementation of general vertical coordinates, of a state-of-the-art turbulence model and of higher-order advection schemes. By exploiting the full capabilities of these features a more realistic simulation could be achieved. We found that the greatest differences in the model results are produced by applying advection schemes of different complexity. Here we are able to demonstrate that better advection schemes lead to stronger horizontal gradients and stronger vertical stratification during summer. When comparing these results to measurements from the North Sea project and to satellite data, we find that these stronger gradients are more realistic. Therefore, we consider it as essential to use such high-order advection schemes if the spatial variability of estuarine or shelf seas like the North Sea is to be resolved adequately. The advanced turbulence closure scheme also contributed to more realistic simulation of the vertical stratification. Finally, general vertical coordinates better resolve the shallow regions, but are also useful for the deeper regions, as they allow a better estimation of sea-surface temperature compared to traditional σ coordinates.


Numerical modelling Shelf seas Sea-surface temperature 


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The authors of this paper are grateful to the NOMADS2 consortium, which undertook great efforts in order to establish a basis for model intercomparisons in the North Sea area. Especially we wish to thank Roger Proctor the coordinator of NOMADS2 and Morten Skogen for supplying the model bathymetry and the open-boundary data. The meteorological data are provided by the UK-Met Office. Part of this work was done under the project ECOWAT (2121) in framework programme FP6.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adolf Stips
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karsten Bolding
    • 2
  • Thomas Pohlmann
    • 3
  • Hans Burchard
    • 4
  1. 1.CEC Joint Research CentreInstitute for Environment and Sustainability, Inland and Marine Waters UnitIspra(VA)Italy
  2. 2.Bolding & Burchard Hydrodynamics GbRAsperupDenmark
  3. 3.Institute for Marine ResearchUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Baltic Sea ResearchUniversität RostockRostockGermany

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