Physical Oceanography, Vol. 17, No. 5, 2007
THERMOHYDRODYNAMICS OF THE OCEAN
COUPLED MODELING OF CURRENTS AND WIND WAVES
IN THE KERCH STRAIT
V. V. Fomin and V. A. Ivanov
We present a numerical model of the dynamics of the Kerch Strait allowing one to perform the
coordinated analysis of the fields of currents and wind waves. The model includes the spectral
wave module and the hydrodynamic block of currents. The influence of waves on the currents is
taken into account in the hydrodynamic block both via the surface and bottom tangential stresses
and via the radiation stresses. In order to take into account the inverse influence of currents upon
the waves, we use the fields of currents and sea level from the hydrodynamic block in the wave
module. The specific features of the structure of currents and wind waves in the strait are studied
for the typical wave situations. The results of the coupled and separate simulation are compared
and the importance of taking into account the mechanisms of interaction between waves and cur-
rents in the analysis of the dynamic processes in the strait is demonstrated.
The investigation of the dynamic processes in the Kerch Strait seems to be quite urgent for the following
reasons: The exchange of water masses through the strait plays an important role in the formation of hydrologi-
cal and hydrochemical conditions in the Sea of Azov, which largely determines its biological productivity. At
the same time, the Kerch Strait is an independent region of fishery in the Sea-of-Azov–Black-Sea basin and the
sole available way of migration of the main commercial fishes. Moreover, this strait is an extremely important
sailing route joining the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea.
The problem of modeling currents in the Kerch Strait is studied in numerous works whose survey can be
found in . In these works, the basic mechanisms of formation of currents are investigated and the most typical
specific features of the large-scale dynamics of waters in the strait are analyzed. At the same time, the problem
of modeling wind-induced waves in the Kerch Strait is studied in a single work , where the characteristics of
waves are computed for
types of storm situations near the Kosa-Tuzla Island. Generally speaking, the results
of separate modeling of currents and waves, on the one hand, are of limited scientific interest because they neg-
lect the mechanisms of interaction of these phenomena and, on the other hand, do not meet the contemporary re-
quirements imposed on the complex hydrometeorological support of the economical activity in the coastal zones.
Indeed, to solve numerous applied problems (design of technological platforms, shore-protecting structures,
deep-water discharges, and underwater pipelines), it is necessary to have a collection of compatible hydrody-
namical characteristics, which can hardly be obtained within the framework of separate modeling. Since the
wind-induced currents and surface waves have different space-and-time scales, the problem of modeling of these
processes by a single system of hydrodynamic equations is practically unsolvable, at least for the current level of
development of computers. The alternative approach is based on the coupled application of the models of cur-
rents and spectral wave models with the same or close space-and-time resolutions.
Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol.
Translated from Morskoi Gidrofizicheskii Zhurnal, No.
3–20, September–October, 2007. Original article submitted March 27,
2006; revision submitted May 16, 2006.
0928-5105/07/1705–0253 © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 253