Thursday, 15 January 2004
Towards an operational Canadian global coupled assimilation and modelling capacity
It is now widely recognized that weather and climate prediction models need good representations of interactions with the oceans. Recent improvements in basin and global-scale ocean models and the availability of global oceanographic data have made it reasonable to consider the development of coupled ocean-atmosphere models with assimilation of data into both components - potentially providing more reliable hindcasts, nowcasts and forecasts of ocean and atmosphere states.
Of particular relevance, the ARGO float program, to which Canada is a major contributor, is expected to have about 3000 floats deployed in the global oceans by the end of 2005. Together with other data sets (e.g., altimeter, remotely sensed SST, and tropical moored arrays) there is tremendous potential for the development of data assimilative ocean models. With this in mind, a two-day workshop on the theme of “Assessing Operational Global Marine Environmental Prediction for Canada” was held under the auspices of the Centre for Marine Environmental Prediction (CMEP) based in the Department of Oceanography of Dalhousie University. There were presentations outlining related needs within the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC), the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and the Department of National Defence (DND). Experts from other countries that have embarked on similar programs shared their experience and helped assess whether this is feasible and desirable for Canada. Keynote presentations on the international Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) and the related ocean observation program set the scientific context. After considering the available Canadian expertise, participants from MSC, DFO, DND and universities held discussions and decided to recommend that Canada move ahead with the development and implementation of an operational global marine environmental data assimilation and prediction program. Participants also discussed the most effective way of proceeding.
As a follow-on to this workshop, an inter-departmental advisory panel (Doug Bancroft (DFO), Hal Ritchie (EC), Andy Cameron (DND) and Keith Thompson (Dalhousie University)) has been established to make specific recommendations on an operational Canadian coupled modelling capability. The panel is investigating the need, opportunity and feasibility of developing and implementing an operational Canadian atmosphere-ocean-ice modelling system. The panel is formulating recommendations to be considered by EC, DFO and DND management. This program would be a long-term inter-departmental activity, requiring new A-base resources from the collaborating departments. The panel’s findings and recommendations will be presented at the symposium with an emphasis on the potential uses in forecasting the weather and climate of the atmosphere and ocean.