Development of an Ocean Model for the Turkish Antarctic Research Base Region, Marguerite Bay

Tutak B. (Executive), Ilıcak M.

TUBITAK Project, 2021 - 2023

  • Project Type: TUBITAK Project
  • Begin Date: June 2021
  • End Date: June 2023

Project Abstract

Marguerite Bay, contains Horseshoe Island, where future Turkish Antarctic Research Base will be located. The Bay is very active and dynamic in terms of its oceanography. Bay is located at the edge where Antarctic Peninsula merges to the main continent and it is under the influence of two main Antarctic Current systems. The first current system is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), which has significant effect on global oceanography as well as the global climate. ACC flows towards the north at the mouth of the Marguerite Bay, along the Peninsula. The second current system is called the Antarctic Peninsula Coastal Current (APCC). APCC flows north to south along the Peninsula and enters the Marguerite Bay, at the northern part of the bay mouth. Because the Marguerite Bay is affected by two main current systems, it is very dynamic and has a rich ecosystem. In addition, all of the Turkish Antarctic Expeditions as well as the Turkish Antarctic Research Base feasibility studies are conducted in this region. As a result of the feasibility studies, Horseshow Island was selected as the location for the future Turkish Antarctic Research Base. Therefore, it is important to learn and understand the detailed oceanography of the Marguerite Bay, since it contains the research base location (Horseshoe Island) and Turkish Antarctic Expeditions were realized in this region. Having detailed oceanographic information for the region will be important for both logistics for the base installation operations and for all the marine studies that will be conducted during the future expeditions.

Main objective of this project is to develop an ocean model for the Southern Ocean and a high resolution nested ocean model for the Marguerite Bay. For this purpose, an open source ocean model, MITgcm model, that is used occasionally for global ocean models and the polar regions will be used for the Southern Ocean modeling using a (1/12°) up to 24 south latitude. The southern ocean model is important for the formation of the circumpolar circulation and for providing the initial and boundary conditions to the nested model.

The nested layer of the model will be the high resolution (1 km in average) regional Marguerite Bay model. The nested model will use the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) due to its capabilities in the regional models. The regional model will be initialized and forced with the southern ocean model data. This approach will help the system run more efficiently, since the whole southern ocean model does not require the high resolution that is used for the regional domain.

Using the output of the model, the project aims to provide information to the logistics operations during the Turkish Antarctic Research Base installation and to the marine scientists that are studying inside the Marguerite Bay during the Turkish Antarctic Expeditions. In addition, during the application of the project masters and doctorate students will work with the project. They will gain experience and increase their knowledge on Ocean Modeling, Antarctica, Southern Ocean and Climate Change. In this regard, the project also aims to serve the National Polar Science Program, as one of the main objectives of the program is to develop qualified human resource that has the knowledge of the polar regions.