Assessment of the Canary current upwelling system in a regionally coupled climate model
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SourceClim Dyn (2021)
The Canary current upwelling is one of the major eastern boundary coastal upwelling systems in the world, bearing a high productive ecosystem and commercially important fisheries. The Canary current upwelling system (CCUS) has a large latitudinal extension, usually divided into upwelling zones with different characteristics. Eddies, filaments and other mesoscale processes are known to have an impact in the upwelling productivity, thus for a proper representation of the CCUS and high horizontal resolution are required. Here we assess the CCUS present climate in the atmosphere-ocean regionally coupled model. The regional coupled model presents a global oceanic component with increased horizontal resolution along the northwestern African coast, and its performance over the CCUS is assessed against relevant reanalysis data sets and compared with an ensemble of global climate models (GCMs) and an ensemble of atmosphere-only regional climate models (RCMs) in order to assess the role of the horizontal resolution. The coupled system reproduces the larger scale pattern of the CCUS and its latitudinal and seasonal variability over the coastal band, improving the GCMs outputs. Moreover, it shows a performance comparable to the ensemble of RCMs in representing the coastal wind stress and near-surface air temperature fields, showing the impact of the higher resolution and coupling for CCUS climate modelling. The model is able of properly reproducing mesoscale structures, being able to simulate the upwelling filaments events off Cape Ghir, which are not well represented in most of GCMs. Our results stress the ability of the regionally coupled model to reproduce the larger scale as well as mesoscale processes over the CCUS, opening the possibility to evaluate the climate change signal there with increased confidence.