Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Collaborative Research: Continuation of Development and Application of AO-FVCOM to Improve Understanding of Arctic Changes (Award# 1203393)

PI: Chen, Changsheng (
Phone: (508) 910.6388 
Institute/Department: U of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, School for Marine Science and Technology 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ANS
Program Manager: Dr. William Wiseman (
Discipline(s): | Oceanography |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
The PIs have successfully developed a high-resolution unstructured-grid, finite volume coupled ice-ocean model for the Arctic Ocean (AO-FVCOM). AO-FVCOM has been validated via comparison to observed data under climatological conditions. Now they seek support to work on the following three tasks: 1) Calibrate and validate AO-FVCOM using observational data collected in the Canada Arctic Basin and its marginal Chukchi and Beaufort Sea. This region is chosen for intense study because it has the most pronounced loss of sea ice extent and thickness in recent years and its unprecedented coverage by multiyear national and international field and modeling studies. 2) Apply the new calibrated and validated AV-FVCOM to investigate the following scientific topics: a) improve understanding of the circulation of the Alaskan Coastal Current and Pacific and Atlantic waters in the study region, b) revisit scientific questions and methodological problems associated with shelf-basin exchange (SBE) processes in the region, and c) apply AO-FVCOM to investigate transformations and transports of fresh water (both liquid and solid) from freshwater sources (Bering Strait, rivers, central Beaufort Gyre, precipitation) towards the North Atlantic Ocean via Fram and Canadian Archipelago Straits. 3) Train a Ph.D. student in advanced Arctic Ocean modeling. Successful completion of this project will provide an additional protocol for modeling Arctic Ocean processes. It will also advance understanding of the circulation and mixing processes in the Arctic Ocean, processes which will grow in socio-economic importance with increasing ice loss and development activities in this part of the globe.

Logistics Summary:
This collaboration between Chen (1203393, Dartmouth) and Proshutinsky (1203643, WHOI) have developed a high-resolution unstructured-grid, finitevolume coupled ice-ocean model for the Arctic Ocean (AO-FVCOM). Researchers will utilize the AO-FVCOM for use in regional and global ocean circulation and climate change studies. This model differs significantly from existing structured-grid models used in Arctic Ocean research due to the great geometric flexibility inherent in the unstructured-grid approach and the local mass, heat, salt, and tracer conservation and computational efficiency inherent in the finite-volume approach. The development of a tested high-resolution AO-FVCOM meets a key AOMIP recommendation and provides an alternative unstructured-grid model for use by AOMIP and other investigators. Integrating high-resolution AO-FVCOM with the observational data of the Beaufort Gyre project will make the model useful to support the ongoing NSF Arctic Ocean observing system. No fieldwork is proposed.

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