A study of the sensitivity of coastal ocean models to vertical mixing
Hsu, Marcia Taiming
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The evolution of buoyant plumes in the coastal ocean is intimately related to the verticalmixing within the plumes. The sensitivity of three mixing parameterizations used toapproximate the vertical viscosity and diffusivity - the constant scheme, Mellor-Yamada Level2.5, and the Pacanowski and Philander scheme - was investigated in an idealized coastal oceanmodel. Two types of coastal current systems were first investigated with variations inbackground viscosity/diffusivity magnitude, and then subjected to variations in tidal forcing.The effects of the schemes were examined using parameters that provided a quantitativedescription of the plume; these were the downshelf, upshelf, and across-shelf distances, thedepth, and the integrated horizontal and vertical salt fluxes. Results from this study revealed thatdepending on the user-defined background viscosity/diffusivity, type of plume, and amplitude oftide, the choice of vertical mixing scheme can have a measurable effect on the behavior of theplume.