A non-orthogonal primitive equation coastal ocean circulation model: Application to Lake Superior

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



A non-orthogonal coordinate primitive equation model has been developed for the study of the Keweenaw Current in Lake Superior. This model provides a more accurate fitting of the coastline. A comparison with a curvilinear orthogonal model shows that the non-orthogonal transformation model provided a better simulation of the current jet in the near-shore region. Accurate fitting of both bathymetry and irregular coastlines plays an essential role in capturing the magnitude of the Keweenaw Current and cross-shelf structure of the thermal bar near the coast. The formation of the Keweenaw Current and thermal front was directly driven by a westerly or southwesterly wind and seasonal development of stratification over steep bottom topography. Under a condition with accurate fitting of steep bathymetry, failure to resolve the irregular geometry of the coastline can result in an underestimation of the magnitude of the Keweenaw Current by about 20 cm/s.

Publication Title

Journal of Great Lakes Research