Table of Contents
ISRN Oceanography
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 215715, 12 pages
Research Article

Sensitivity of Sea Surface Temperature Simulation by an Ocean Model to the Resolution of the Meteorological Forcing

School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK

Received 31 October 2012; Accepted 3 February 2013

Academic Editors: C. Brunet, J. O. Herrle, G. L. Taghon, and M. Wang

Copyright © 2013 F. Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The effect on sea surface temperature (SST) predictions caused by varying atmospheric forcing within an ocean model is examined in the Celtic Sea, a typical shelf sea situated to the southwest of the British Isles. We use the 3D ocean circulation model POLCOMS, with 2 km resolution, 30 vertical layers, and two sets of meteorological forcing, at low (1.6°) and high (0.11°) horizontal resolutions. The model is validated against in situ and satellite observations. Comparisons made for the year 2008 show that increasing the resolution of the meteorological forcing does not necessarily lead to more accurate results in the modelled SST. The discrepancy between the low and high resolution cases was found to be the greatest in the summer, with the errors of the mean SST being 0.15°C and 1.15°C, respectively. Overall, the most accurate reproduction of SST throughout the year is obtained using the low resolution atmospheric data. We show that this is due not to the resolution of the forcing per se, but to the differences between the meteorological models in mean values of parameters such as cloud cover, which in turn reduce the solar radiation flux reaching the sea surface in the oceanographic model.