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CR 86:145-162 (2022)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01652

Exploring drift simulations from ocean circulation experiments: application to cod eggs and larval drift

Arne Melsom1,*, Kristina Øie Kvile2, Knut-Frode Dagestad3, Göran Broström1,4, Øystein Langangen2

1Norwegian Meteorological Institute, 0371 Oslo, Norway
2Dept. of Biosciences, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
3Norwegian Meteorological Institute, 5007 Bergen, Norway
4Dept. of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 413 19 Gothenburg, Sweden
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Drift models are commonly used to study the transport of early life stages of fish and other marine organisms. Various approaches may be applied to examine the distribution and variability of ocean trajectory pathways. In the present study, we compare results using passive Eulerian tracers and Lagrangian float trajectories that are embedded in numerical models. We supplement this analysis by applying an offline model for drift computations. The contrasts in the results from the various configurations are mainly due to differences in drift depth. Simulations were performed using horizontal resolutions of 4 and 0.8 km. The higher-resolution experiment gives somewhat more realistic results for the drift time from Lofoten to the Tromsøflaket bank at the southwestern entrance of the Barents Sea. Furthermore, differences in results between simulation years are much larger than the differences that arise from the choice of model configuration. Climate variability at high latitudes on a multi-decadal time scale is dominated by large interannual variability superimposed on an underlying moderate warming trend. We conclude that a properly configured offline drift model using hourly or 2-hourly results from a simulation with a horizontal resolution of 1 km or finer is the best approach for investigations of trajectory pathways. The flexibility of an offline drift model is also highly advantageous in biological contexts, as it easily allows for a variety of ways in which behavioural characteristics can be parameterized, including descriptions that are defined after the ocean circulation simulation has been executed.


KEY WORDS: Interannual variability · Ocean drift · Trajectory modelling · Gadus morhua · Regional Ocean Modeling System · ROMS


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Cite this article as: Melsom A, Kvile KØ, Dagestad KF, Broström G, Langangen Ø (2022) Exploring drift simulations from ocean circulation experiments: application to cod eggs and larval drift. Clim Res 86:145-162. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01652

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