J5.1 Operational Forecast Systems for the Coastal and Estuarine Environment in NOAA's National Ocean Service

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 1:30 PM
Conference Center: Chelan 4 (Washington State Convention Center )
Frank Aikman, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD; and E. Myers

NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) applies hydrodynamic models for the development, transition and implementation of operational forecast systems (OFS) in U.S. estuaries, ports, lakes and the coastal ocean. These models and systems have applications in the support of safe and efficient marine navigation and emergency response as well as marine geospatial and ecological applications.  There are currently thirteen water bodies in which operational forecast systems are functioning (e.g. CBOFS - OFS in the Chesapeake Bay). 

Once fully evaluated and deemed accurate by NOS standards, forecast systems are transitioned into the operational environment.  The technical components of a real-time estuarine modeling system are described in terms of a “standard” Coastal Ocean Modeling Framework (COMF) which increases the efficiency of research, development, transition and operations.  The COMF includes the essential operational management of observations and forecasts of atmospheric, coastal and riverine inputs, as well as the operational quality control and dissemination of results.  It also includes protocols and software for the skill assessment of operational forecast systems.  The COMF abides by Integrated Ocean Observing System and Earth System Modeling Framework standards. It is intended to stimulate a community approach to coastal modeling by providing tools, observational data, and a model evaluation environment with which to configure, execute, and determine model uncertainties.  A good example of the results of the community approach is our current NOS partnership with Steven Institute of Technology to disseminate their observational data (held to Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System [PORTS] standards) and model (NYHOPS – in the Ports of NY and NJ) results as an NOS product.

 To enhance the efficiency of development and operations, the NOS will be  implementing several changes over the next few years, to include: (1) Evolution from individual estuarine systems on UNIX servers and nested coastal/estuarine systems (e.g. Nested NGOFS – Northern Gulf of Mexico) to large scale coastal/estuarine systems (i.e. West, Gulf  and East Coasts) using unstructured grids on NOAA’s High Performance Computer System (Weather & Climate Operational Supercomputing System - WCOSS); (2) upgrades to the Great Lakes from the POM to the FVCOM model to include higher resolution, a longer forecast horizon, and ice; (3) operational data assimilation (e.g. under development now for the West coast; and (4) operational coupling of the physical models to ecological models (e.g. harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and the Gulf of Maine; hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay and Northern Gulf of Mexico.)

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