This paper describes the next-generation ocean forecast model for the European north-west shelf, which will become the basis of operational forecasts in 2018. This new system will provide a step change in resolution and therefore our ability to represent small-scale processes. The new model has a resolution of 1.5 km compared with a grid spacing of 7 km in the current operational system. AMM15 (Atlantic Margin Model, 1.5 km) is introduced as a new regional configuration of NEMO v3.6. Here we describe the technical details behind this configuration, with modifications appropriate for the new high-resolution domain. Results from a 30-year non-assimilative run using the AMM15 domain demonstrate the ability of this model to represent the mean state and variability of the region.
Overall, there is an improvement in the representation of the mean state across the region, suggesting similar improvements may be seen in the future operational system. However, the reduction in seasonal bias is greater off-shelf than on-shelf. In the North Sea, biases are largely unchanged. Since there has been no change to the vertical resolution or parameterization schemes, performance improvements are not expected in regions where stratification is dominated by vertical processes rather than advection. This highlights the fact that increased horizontal resolution will not lead to domain-wide improvements. Further work is needed to target bias reduction across the north-west shelf region.