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Modeling of homogenized waters dispersion in coastal areas: the Ushant Front.

Audrey Pasquet , Yves Morel , Rémy Baraille
(Abstract received 12/21/2010 for session X)

High frequency processes on the shelves and shelf breaks of the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel are key in shaping the local dynamics. This study aims to a better understanding of one of these processes: the Ushant Front extension, using idealized and realistic numerical experimentation. To perform the numerical experiments, the Miami Isopycnic Coordinate Ocean Model (MICOM) is used in an adiabatic configuration. Both intensity and direction of dispersion of homogenized waters emerging from a frontal, circular dynamical system are investigated. The baroclinic instability is responsible for the production of hetons that advect the mixed waters, while the ondulatory processes and autopropagative mechanisms (due to the sloping bottom and the vertical wall) are the drivers of dispersion. The topography, the stratification, the diapycnal mixing magnitude and the bottom friction are found to have a great impact on the dispersion properties of the baroclinic structures. A sensitivity study on these initial configuration parameters is conducted in order to assess their effects on the extension of homogenized waters. Preliminary results of a realistic configuration of the Ushant front using HYCOM are presented. The results of the model on representing the front are compared to satellite data.

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2011 LOM Workshop, Miami, Florida February 7 - 9, 2011