Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 47–66 | Cite as

Evaluation of Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment products on South Florida nested simulations with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model

  • Vassiliki H. Kourafalou
  • Ge Peng
  • HeeSook Kang
  • Patrick J. Hogan
  • Ole-Martin Smedstad
  • Robert H. Weisberg


The South Florida Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (SoFLA-HYCOM) encompasses a variety of coastal regions (the broad Southwest Florida shelf, the narrow Atlantic Keys shelf, the shallow Florida Bay, and Biscayne Bay) and deep regions (the Straits of Florida), including Marine Protected Areas (the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary and the Dry Tortugas Ecological Reserve). The presence of the strong Loop Current/Florida Current system and associated eddies connects the local and basin-wide dynamics. A multi-nested approach has been developed to ensure resolution of coastal-scale processes and proper interaction with the large scale flows. The simulations are free running and effects of data assimilation are introduced through boundary conditions derived from Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment products. The study evaluates the effects of boundary conditions on the successful hindcasting of circulation patterns by a nested model, applied on a dynamically and topographically complex shelf area. Independent (not assimilated) observations are employed for a quantitative validation of the numerical results. The discussion of the prevailing dynamics that are revealed in both modeled and observed patterns suggests the importance of topography resolution and local forcing on the inner shelf to middle shelf areas, while large scale processes are found to dominate the outer shelf flows. The results indicate that the successful hindcasting of circulation patterns in a coastal area that is characterized by complex topography and proximity to a large scale current system requires a dynamical downscaling approach, with simulations that are nested in a hierarchy of data assimilative outer models.


Numerical modeling Coastal dynamics Loop Current Florida Current Data assimilation 



This study was funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Ocean Partnership Program (ONR/NOPP N000140510892). Additional funding to V. Kourafalou was available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Ocean Program (NOAA/COP NA17RJ1226) and the National Science Foundation (NSF OCE0550732). We thank George Halliwell (UM/RSMAS) for fruitful discussions and Viva Benzon (UM/RSMAS Satellite Group) for preparing the composite ocean color image.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vassiliki H. Kourafalou
    • 1
  • Ge Peng
    • 1
    • 5
  • HeeSook Kang
    • 1
  • Patrick J. Hogan
    • 2
  • Ole-Martin Smedstad
    • 3
  • Robert H. Weisberg
    • 4
  1. 1.Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Naval Research LabStennis Space CenterHancock CountyUSA
  3. 3.QinetiQ North America, Technology Solutions Group—PSI, Stennis Space CenterHancock CountyUSA
  4. 4.College of Marine ScienceUniversity of South FloridaSt PetersburgUSA
  5. 5.Raytheon CompanyPasadenaUSA

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