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Content archived on 2024-05-14

Tracing the water masses of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean


It is proposed to use a new method of tracing water masses to study the North Atlantic and Mediterranean water masses and their interactions. The method is based on Lagrangian trajectories simulated by numerical models. In order to estimate the sensitivity of the results to the choice of model, we are going to use four general circulation models, as different as possible: OCCAM (eddyresolving, B-grid, global model with depth coordinates), OPA (coarse resolution, C-grid, global with depth coordinates), MEDMOM (Cox-Bryan type over the Mediterranean) and GIM (C-grid with isopycnic coordinates). In recent years rapid progress in numerical modelling has made the tracing of water masses in numerical simulations a very attractive alternative to the more traditional methods based on observational points of view. The continuing rapid progress of the numerical models will make these indispensable tools for tracing water masses. It will permit us to estimate both qualitatively and quantitatively the water mass exchanges. The fate and the origin of the North Atlantic Deep Water, which forms the world thermohaline Conveyor Belt is going to be traced. The circulation in the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean Water's influence on the creation of North Atlantic Deep Water is going to be studied. The seasonal and interannual variability of these circulations will be addressed. The Lagrangian trajectory methods will also be further developed in order to incorporate more accurately time and eddy variations.
EU countries will benefit in two ways. In the short term, EU scientists will acquire a new tool in their armoury of methods to understand and predict the ocean. In the longer term, the EU will have a validated method to use for predicting the outcome of ecological disasters and the fate of pollutants. The proposed use of four existing ocean general circulation models provides a cost-effective method of further developing and validating the current Lagrangian trajectory techniques. Further, by providing a framework for cooperation and inter-comparison, this project aims to widely and quickly distribute a data analysis technique which is independent of the type of numerical model. This objective will benefit existing MAST projects (e.g. MEDMEX, CANIGO etc.) and is otherwise beyond the scope of any single laboratory.
Because of the relatively small size of the project the management merely requires a project coordinator and 4 coordinators for each sub-project. The role of the project coordinator is to: assist the entire project, liaise with the MAST Office, be responsible for regular meetings, ensure that output formats are consistent between the groups, be responsible for dissemination of results and information, and control the task execution.
Regular 6-monthly meetings are planned between the investigators. Two workshops are envisioned, at end year 1 and start year 3. Short visits between institutes will occur.
It will be essential that the numerical data are in similar formats between the groups, to facilitate data exchange and plotting. The data will be of a form that permits other researchers to use them for other purposes. The final output from the project will be such a data set, with accompanying documentation. The data will be archived at the various institutions in the project, and will be accessible via the WWW.

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12,Svante Arrheniusväg 12, Arrhenius Laboratory

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Participants (5)