Overview of Ocean Modeling Using Spectral Elements

Mohamed Iskandarani

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway Miami, FL 33149-1098


Finite element are relatively uncommon for basin scale simulations of the oceanic circulation. Here, we present the spectral element ocean model, SEOM, an h-p type FEM model that solves the Boussinesq hydrostatic primitive equations. The model exist in two versions that differ primarily in their choice of vertical coordinate system: a "sigma"-like terrain-following coordinate system, and a density (isopycnal) coordinate. We discuss briefly the pro's and cons of each version and present a calculation of the wind-driven circulation over the Pacific Basin using the isopycnal model.