Marine Scotland has led the development of a hydrodynamic model of Scottish continental shelf waters, the Scottish Shelf Model (SSM). The initial model development was contracted out by the Scottish Government to CH2M Hill who worked on the project in conjunction with the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Liverpool. The project was completed at the start of 2016. Marine Scotland Science (MSS) is now the custodian of the SSM and is continuing to develop it. The vision is for the model, and the model outputs, to be available to the wider marine science community. The SSM covers the Scottish continental shelf at relatively high resolution (up to 1 km node spacing at the coastline). In addition to the wider SSM, a number of smaller subdomain areas have been developed. The integrated output combines the output from the wider domain with the output from the smaller, higher resolution domains. This for example allows for detailed particle tracking simulations to be conducted across individual model domain boundaries.
Water surface elevation, zeta;
Depth average horizontal velocity fields, ua and va;
Full water column velocity fields, u and v;
Vertical Sigma Coordinate Velocity, omega;
Turbulent Eddy Viscosity For Momentum, km.
The data combines the climatology data (1960-2004)
Data and Resources
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2016-02-01 to 2017-02-01
English (United Kingdom)
UK Open Government Licence (OGL)
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The SSM is an implementation of the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM). FVCOM was developed by the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, USA, by Chen et al. (2003) and is still actively being developed.
The integrated output covers a full year climatology where both the wider Scottish Shelf Model 1.01, the Wider Loch Linnhe System (WLLS) 1.01, the East Coast of Lewis and Harris (ECLH) 1.01, the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters (PFOW) 1.01 and the St. Magnus Bay, Shetland (SMB) 1.01 have been combined. The climatological runs for each domain represent average conditions with a 1993 tidal component. The sub domains are nested within the wider SSM domain.
There are 10 terrain following sigma layers. The ECLH 1.01 only has 6 months output (May – October) so this integrated grid has two forms, with and without the ELCH 1.01 model incorporated:
The model forcing is made up of the following:
Boundary condition: Climatology derived from Atlantic Margin Model, POLCOMS, 12 km resolution (1960-2004)
The data are formatted as netCDF;
For a full description of the Integration see Wolf et al (2016).
V. Bell, A. Kay, R. Jones, R. Moore, 2007. Development of a high resolution grid-based river flow model for use with regional climate model output, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 11 (1) 532-549.
S.J. Cole, R.J. Moore, 2009. Distributed hydrological modelling using weather radar in gauged and ungauged basins, Adv. Water Resour. 32 (7) 1107-1120.
D.P. Dee, S.M. Uppala, A.J. Simmons, P. Berrisford, P. Poli, S. Kobayashi,
E. O'Dea, A. Arnold, K. Edwards, R. Furner, P. Hyder, M. Martin, J. Siddorn, D. Storkey, J. While, J. Holt, H. Liu, 2012. An operational ocean forecast system incorporating NEMO and SST data assimilation for the tidally driven European North-West shelf, J. Oper. Oceanogr. 5 (1) 3-17.
J Wolf, C Stuiver, D Price, H Johnson, A Gallego and R O’Hara Murray. (2016). The Scottish Shelf Model. Part 6: Wider Domain and Sub-Domains Integration. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 7 No 8, 150pp. doi.org/ 10.7489/1697-1
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Marine Scotland Science
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