Modelling (Operational Oceanography)
Ocean models are computer-generated. They represent an ocean, or a region within an ocean, in three dimensions and depict its evolution over time. Models are based on ocean observations collected by earth observation satellites and direct measurement of conditions such as temperature, salinity, currents and wave heights.
Since the atmosphere also influences the state of the ocean, models also include atmospheric data including wind stress, precipitation, evaporation, and cloud coverage. Modellers call this "atmospheric forcing".
There is increasing recognition that accurate ocean forecast models need to be "coupled models" that couple or incorporate information on atmospheric, ice, and ocean conditions. Based on this coupled information, the model can be run to predict various aspects of ocean conditions which can then be used for operational oceanography, emergency preparedness planning, and to determine health of the oceans.
A few of the Modelling programs at DFO...
Canadian Operational Network of Coupled Environmental Prediction Systems (CONCEPTS): CONCEPTS is an initiative to establish an operational Canadian-global atmosphere-ocean-ice assimilation and modelling system. It aims to take advantage of improvements in ocean models and new near real time global oceanographic data sets in order to produce new ocean products and improve weather predictions and seasonal to inter-annual climate forecasts.
Centre for Ocean Model Development for Applications (COMDA): COMDA's goals include the development of a common set of modelling tools that can be shared and built upon over time and an increased availability of information and forecasts for ocean currents, temperature, salinity, sea levels, and other variables. COMDA's models have many practical applications including ship routing, search and rescue, oil spill response, habitat assessment and ecosystem management
Storm Surge Preparedness: DFO scientists use models to make predictions about the potential impacts that a storm surge may have on coastal communities/cities. This modelling helps inform public policy regarding procedures for storm surge preparedness.
Atlantic Tsunami Modelling: DFO scientists in the Atlantic region are working on models that simulate the propagation of a tsunami wave in real time. These models enable DFO and emergency preparedness managers to better understand how tsunamis will move across oceans and thereby enable Canadians to be better prepared for emergency response.
Canada-Newfoundland Operational Ocean Forecasting System (C-NOOFS)- C-NOOFS is a COMDA pilot project that aims to develop a regional ocean forecasting system for the North West Atlantic waters. By using a combination of satellite based ocean data and data gathered by equipping diving animals with sensors that measure ocean salinity and temperature C-NOOFS hopes to be able to provide the best available ocean analysis.
Ocean Waves: Meteorological buoys continuously monitor waves and winds so that DFO scientists can establish a reliable wave climate and improve daily wave forecasting produced by the weather office of Environment Canada.
Pacific Tsunami Modelling: On the Pacific Coast, DFO scientists are working on models of large tsunamis generated by Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes. These models enable DFO and emergency preparedness managers to better understand how tsunamis will move across oceans and thereby enable Canadians to be better prepared for emergency response.
St. Lawrence Operational Oceanography: DFO scientists use several different types models, such as surface currents, sea ice concentrations, fresh water run-off, etc, to inform ships of oceanographic conditions in the St. Lawrence. As one of the major transport routes for Eastern Canada, these models play an important role in fulfilling DFO's mandate of ensuring that users of the St. Lawrence have access to a safe and secure waterway.
DFO works closely with a range of partners to deliver the best forecasts of accurate and current ocean conditions.
DFO scientists working on Ocean Modelling can be found here.
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