Effects of the air–sea coupling time frequency on the ocean response during Mediterranean intense events
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The near-sea surface meteorological conditions associated with the Mediterranean heavy precipitation events constitute, on a short time scale, a strong forcing on the ocean mixed layer. This study addresses the question of the optimal time frequency of the atmospheric forcing to drive an ocean model in order to make it able to capture the fine scale ocean mixed layer response to severe meteorological conditions. The coupling time frequency should allow the ocean model to reproduce the formation of internal low-salty boundary layers due to sudden input of intense precipitation, as well as the cooling and deepening of the ocean mixed layer through large latent heat fluxes and stress under the intense low-level jet associated with these events. In this study, the one-dimensional ocean model is driven by 2.4-km atmospheric simulated fields on a case of Mediterranean heavy precipitation, varying the time resolution of the atmospheric forcing. The results show that using a finer temporal resolution than 1 h for the atmospheric forcing is not necessary, but a coarser temporal resolution (3 or 6 h) modifies the event course and intensity perceived by the ocean. Consequently, when using a too coarse temporal resolution forcing, typically 6 h, the ocean model fails to reproduce the ocean mixed layer fine scale response under the heavy rainfall pulses and the strong wind gusts.
KeywordsAir-sea coupling Mediterranean Sea Mesoscale modeling Temporal resolution
This work has been sponsored by the “CYclogénèse et PRécipitations Intenses en Méditerranée” (CYPRIM) project of the program ACI-FNS “Aléas et Changements Globaux” of the French research ministry. The authors would like to thank the two anonymous journal reviewers for their constructive comments.
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