92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 11:00 AM
An Overview of Shelf Hypoxia Efforts in the SURA Super-Regional ModelingTestbed
Room 337 (New Orleans Convention Center )
John Harding, Northern Gulf Institute, Stennis Space Center, MS; and K. Fennel, R. Hetland, and J. Wiggert

The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program Office sponsored a one-year science and engineering activity that commenced 1 June 2010, led by the Southeast Universities Research Association (SURA), entitled A Super-Regional Testbed to Improve Models of Environmental Processes on the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Coasts. (See http://testbed.sura.org/) The long-term goal of this activity is to create a multi-disciplinary, community-modeling testbed that will foster and facilitate improved operational coastal ocean prediction. The testbed will allow scientists to share models, observations, and tools needed to elucidate, prioritize, and resolve issues associated with interoperable coupling of models. Year 1 pilot testbed projects address three chronic issues of high relevance within the super-region: (1) coastal inundation; (2) estuarine hypoxia; and (3) shelf hypoxia. The design and implementation of cyber-infrastructure to support these three issue-motivated science themes is an over-arching theme.

The shelf hypoxia pilot project provides a multi-model nesting, comparison, evaluation, transition scenario intended to improve modeling capabilities and, at the same time, challenge the design and development of the super-regional testbed cyber-infrastructure. The shelf hypoxia pilot project consists of three sub-projects. First is the hindcast comparison and evaluation of the hydrodynamic and biogeochemical performance of a northern Gulf of Mexico shelf hypoxia model based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) and nested within three different existing basin-wide Gulf of Mexico models. Second is the hindcast evaluation of this shelf hypoxia model of the northern Gulf compared to a shelf hypoxia model developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and based on the Naval Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM). Third is the evaluation and transition to operations of the Naval Oceanographic Office AMSEAS Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean regional forecast system based on NCOM. Real-time, operational output from the 3 km resolution AMSEAS is currently available from ftp://ftp.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/grids/operational/NCOM/regional/ at the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center with output archived back to 25 May 2010 available on the NGI/NOAA developmental OceanNOMADS (http://www.northerngulfinstitute.org/edac/ocean_nomads.php). The atmospheric forcing used to drive the ocean model is also included with the ocean forecast variables allowing some limited buoy wind comparisons during this project.

We will present initial results from the hindcast experiments of the nested shelf model demonstrating the importance of the offshore boundary conditions for the skillful prediction of salinity but no demonstrable improvement in predictive skill for dissolved oxygen. Additional results show however that dissolved oxygen is highly sensitive to the choice of bottom boundary condition, suggesting that the most immediate need for improving oxygen predictions is at the bottom boundary. We will also provide selected results from the AMSEAS operational forecast evaluation as well as examples of OceanNOMADS capabilities.

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