Coastal Environments Interactive Symposium on Developments in Operational and Research Coastal Oceanography and Meteorology


An ocean forecasting system for the east coast of Canada

Charles C. L. Tang, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, NS, Canada

The Canadian East Coast Ocean Forecasting System provides daily forecasts of surface currents, waves, water level and sea-ice for the Grand Banks, N.E. Newfoundland Shelf and Labrador Sea. The system has been in operation since 1997. The operations from acquisition of meteorological data to delivery of ocean forecast data to clients are now automated. The clients include the Canadian Coast Guard, oil companies drilling offshore and environmental consulting firms. The main interests of the clients are surface currents for search and rescue planning and oil spill response, sea state and water level for offshore operations, and sea-ice for navigation. In the coming years, the system will be upgraded to cover a larger area. More calibrations and validations will be carried out to improve the forecast skills. A data assimilation scheme suitable for the area will be developed and implemented. The forecast system implements three separate models - a coupled sea-ice model and Princeton Ocean Model (POM), a Grand Banks tide model and a second generation wave model. The forcing fields are derived from the output of Canadian Meteorological Service’s weather forecast model. The ocean model is run continuously. Ice concentration and thickness are updated every day at -24 hours forecast time using the daily digital ice maps of Canadian Ice Service. The tidal currents and elevation are calculated using three semidiurnal (M2, S2, N2) and two diurnal (K1, O1) constituents. The water level and surface currents include outputs from the coupled model and the tide model. All forecasts start at 1200 UTC for a maximum period of 48 hours. Selected forecast results can be viewed at Bedford Institute of Oceanography’s website at

Session 4, Research Systems
Tuesday, 11 February 2003, 12:45 PM-2:00 PM

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