Collaborative Project: Improving the Representation of Coastal and Estuarine Processes in Earth System Models

Collaborative Project: Improving the Representation of Coastal and Estuarine Processes in Earth System Models


This project aims to improve long term global climate simulations by resolving and enhancing the representation of the coastal and estuary processes. The main computational objectives are;
1) to develop computationally efficient, but physically based, parameterizations of estuary and continental shelf mixing processes;
2) to develop the two-way nested regional modeling framework of particular coastal environments in order to dynamically downscale the climate feedbacks to regional ocean and upscale the regional coastal processes to the Earth System Model (ESM);
3) develop a new ESM tool to enhance efficient data transfer between specific sources and destinations (used in objective 1) within POP, the ocean component of CESM.

The ocean climate research objectives are
1) Test the predictive skill of the newly developed downscaling capabilities using the hindcast experiments driven by the ocean and atmospheric reanalyses;
2) Use the improved two-way nested model framework to downscale decadal climate predictions for the early and late 21st century to advance our understanding of the response of coastal environments to global modes of climate variability and climate change;
3) Investigate the feedbacks of detailed coastal and estuary processes on the upper ocean stratification, water mass formation and global hydrologic cycle in a warming climate using the improved CESM.

This is a collaborative multi-institution project consisting of computational scientists, physical oceanographers and climate model developers. It specifically aims at DOE objectives of advancing simulation and predictive capability of climate models through improvements in resolution and physical process representation.

Estuary-shelf freshwater exchange parameterizations comparisons

Global distribution of surface salinity from WOA09. The 20 largest estuaries are circled, which are ordered by the color and circle size.

Estuary-shelf Box model implementation (evaluation)

ctrl000: default spreading mapping, 3rd-order upwind
ctrl001: point source, 3rd-order upwind scheme
ctrl002: point source, lw_lim-scheme
lbmr001: point source, lw_lim-scheme, add Mike's box model