Attribution of horizontal and vertical contributions to spurious mixing in an Arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian ocean model

Angus H. Gibson, Andrew Mc C. Hogg, Andrew E. Kiss, Callum J. Shakespeare, Alistair Adcroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examine the separate contributions to spurious mixing from horizontal and vertical processes in an ALE ocean model, MOM6, using reference potential energy (RPE). The RPE is a global diagnostic which changes only due to mixing between density classes. We extend this diagnostic to a sub-timestep timescale in order to individually separate contributions to spurious mixing through horizontal (tracer advection) and vertical (regridding/remapping) processes within the model. We both evaluate the overall spurious mixing in MOM6 against previously published output from other models (MOM5, MITGCM and MPAS-O), and investigate impacts on the components of spurious mixing in MOM6 across a suite of test cases: a lock exchange, internal wave propagation, and a baroclinically-unstable eddying channel. The split RPE diagnostic demonstrates that the spurious mixing in a lock exchange test case is dominated by horizontal tracer advection, due to the spatial variability in the velocity field. In contrast, the vertical component of spurious mixing dominates in an internal waves test case. MOM6 performs well in this test case owing to its quasi-Lagrangian implementation of ALE. Finally, the effects of model resolution are examined in a baroclinic eddies test case. In particular, the vertical component of spurious mixing dominates as horizontal resolution increases, an important consideration as global models evolve towards higher horizontal resolutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalOcean Modelling
Volume119
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Oceanography
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Atmospheric Science

Keywords

  • Arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian
  • MOM6
  • Spurious mixing

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