A nested model study of the Loop Current generated variability and its impact on the West Florida Shelf



[1] A West Florida Shelf model based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) is nested in the North Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (NAT HYCOM). The focus of this work is the study of the impact of the Loop Current on the West Florida Shelf. In order to assess the model's accuracy, it is compared quantitatively to in situ temperature and velocity measurements on the shelf. A series of sensitivity experiments are conducted to determine the appropriate wind forcing, sea surface temperature relaxation, and mixing scheme. By the inclusion of the Loop Current, we are able to study the propagation of an anticyclonic vortex detaching from the Loop Current. We found that the ambient gradient of potential vorticity is able to explain the vortex path and speed. The statistics of such Loop Current generated flow features were examined by including a tracer marking Loop Current water. This allows to track the Loop Current water on the West Florida Shelf and to quantify the amount of Loop Current water reaching the shelf.