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Sensitivities of an adjoint, unstructured mesh, tidal model on the European Continental Shelf
Maßmann, S. (2010). Sensitivities of an adjoint, unstructured mesh, tidal model on the European Continental Shelf. Ocean Dynamics 60(6): 1463-1477.
In: Ocean Dynamics. Springer-Verlag: Berlin; Heidelberg; New York. ISSN 1616-7341, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Unstructured mesh methods; Tidal models; Adjoint models; Parameteroptimization; European Continental Shelf

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  • Maßmann, S.

    Unstructured mesh models can resolve the model domain with a variable and very fine mesh resolution. Nevertheless, tuning the model setup is still required (for example because of parametrized sub-grid processes). Adjoint models are commonly used to calculate sensitivities of ocean models and optimize their parameters so that better agreement is achieved between model simulations and observations. One major obstacle in developing an adjoint model is the need to update the reverse code after each modification of the forward code, which is not always straightforward. Automatic differentiation is a tool to generate the adjoint model code without user input. So far this method has mainly been used for structured mesh ocean models. We present here an unstructured mesh, adjoint, tidal model using this technique, and discuss the sensitivities of the misfit between simulated and observed elevations with respect to open boundary values, the bottom friction coefficient and the bottom topography. The forward model simulates tides on the European Continental Shelf and we show that the tidal model dynamics in the adjoint simulations can be used to define regions, where parameters or mesh has to be optimized. We analyze the dependence of the sensitivities on the wave type and mesh resolution to specify whether the model misfit originates from physical or numerical model deficiencies. In the sensitivity patterns, it is possible to identify islands not resolved in the mesh. We propose to refine the mesh prior to the parameter optimization.

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