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Hydrodynamical Model____


The PO-Unit has implemented a high resolution hydrodynamical model of the Malta shelf area. This work was carried out as part of the Mediterranean Forecasting System Pilot Project (MFSPP) funded under the IVth Framework Programme of the EU. The model was run with perpetual year forcing for three years to reach a repeating seasonal cycle.The shelf model is capable to reproduce the major dynamical features of the known climatological circulation. Several numerical simulations were conducted to optimise the nesting procedure between models at different resolutions in order to downscale the hydrodynamics from the OGCM (General Circulation Model of the

Three - dimensional view of the model bathymetry
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Mediterranean) to an intermediate coarser model (developed by the Italian partner at IMC in Sardinia) and to the shelf model.

The main research effort consisted also in assessing different initial conditions from the coarser model, time frequency of updating and kind of open boundary conditions, surface flux corrections and the heat penetration laws.

Full details on the model are published in:

DRAGO A., SORGENTE R. & RIBOTTI A. (2002), A high resolution hydrodynamical 3D model of the Malta Shelf area, to appear in Annales Geophysicae.

This work has prepared the way towards ocean forecasting in the Malta shelf area to be implemented in the next phase of MFSPP. In this new project the shelf model will approximately double the spatial resolution in order to arrive at a grid mesh of less than 1Km. This new model configuration is expected to greatly improve the forecast skill. The work will also address:

i) the effects of downscaled atmospheric forcing (very high resolution winds) in improving the models’ forecast skill.

ii) the improvement of sea level prediction in particular Mediterranean regions by including atmospheric pressure and tidal forcing.

iii) the effects of different air-sea coupling strategies on the models’ forecast skill.

Work on the shelf model is expected to lead to forecasting simulations which will furnish weekly predictions in 3D of key physical parameters (including sea temperature, salinity, currents and mixed layer depth) in the Maltese coastal waters.

The model gridded domain and its nesting to the intermediate model and the Ocean General Circulation Model of the Mediterranean.
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