Validation of Operational Ocean Circulation Forecast Models of the Aegean Sea

by Panourgias Siderakos

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of M.Sc. (Oceanography) by instructional course

FACULTY OF NATURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
OCEAN AND EARTH SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON

From the ancient years till present, the Aegean Sea has always been a sea with major importance. From famous ancient ship battles to modern trading, it always played an essential role for the whole world. Nowadays, all the above combined with its unique oceanographic conditions and topography, the Aegean Sea has become the field of development for two operational, ocean circulation forecast models, the ALERMO model and the POSEIDON model. In this project, an effort for the validation of both models was originally targeted. However, due to lack of data from the POSEIDON model, the validation was performed only for the ALERMO model. Two months were initially chosen, one in winter and one in summer in order to compare their errors based on the different season. As a result, every forecast of the model was being examined in both resolutions of the model (1/30⁰ and 1/60⁰) for both months. Detailed figures of the forecasts are given, in both months and both resolutions in order for the reader to understand the differences that the model demonstrates in relation to the season. In addition, the Root Mean Square Error is calculated and given for each different case. Finally, from in-situ CTD measurements that took place in the Aegean Sea during 2014 and 2016 from an oceanographic ship of the Greek Navy, vertical temperature and salinity profiles were made in relation to depth in order to see the performance of the model in the water column generally. The most important conclusion of this research project is that the model performs very well with specific defects. Each season has its own defects and the model has permanent errors in specific areas in the Aegean. These areas are the mouth of the Dardanelles Strait and the waters adjacent to the coastline of Greece’s mainland. A significant part of these errors happen probably because of the fact that ALERMO is one-way nested to a larger model that covers the whole Mediterranean Sea and has quite low resolution (1/16⁰). Nevertheless, the development of the model is continuous and the improvements are visible both in its function and its errors. A research with salinity data would be very useful and interesting in the future, as today the daily and monthly data for this region are very poor.

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