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Applications: Ocean Forecasting

FOAM Ocean Currents

Ocean model systems provide forecasts of currents and other fields are required by a vareity of Government and commercial groups in a variety of applications including environmental monitoring, Coral reef management, tide preditions, marine sanctuary and estuary management, diving operations, oil and chemical spill drift forecasts, search & rescue operations, offshore oil drilling operations, cable laying and ship-routing and operational wave forecasting to improve predictions of extreme waves. Recently, biogeochemical models are maturing rapidly and will soon provide unique information that will help monitoring the exchange of important greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide) across the air-sea interface, to monitor the quality of near-surface waters and plankton distributions for input into management of fisheries. The primary Customer requirement is for near-shore forecasts of both physical and biological parameters several times per day.

The image shown here depicts a series of surface current outputs from the Met Office Forecasting Ocean Assimilation Model (FOAM). The top panel shows global output, middle pnale 1/3 degree North Atlantic and the lower panel 1/9th degree Atlantic model.

Ocean models have long been used to support a variety of oceanographic research including in cruise planning and operations; for diagnostic studies; climate and seaonal-forecasting and to improve understanding the thermohaline circulation and how to monitor the system on a long- term basis. This year, the Thorpex research programme has begun in earnest which aims to develop reliable 1-2 week forecasts of the atmosphere and improve forecasts of dangerous severe weather (such as hurricanes).

One of the most important ocean model dependencies is for sea surface temperature which is required to properly constrain the upper ocean circulation and thermal structure. SST data products need to be accurate (better than 0.4K), be available in near real time and have high spatial (<10km) and temporal (6-12 hours) resolution.

GHRSST-PP data products have been designed to meet these product requirements based on the user requirements first laid out by the International Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) Steering Team (IGST). In response, the GHRSST-PP was formed to deliver a new generation of SST data products and services that can satisfy the needs of operational ocean model systems. The links below point to several operational ocean forecast systems:

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