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Development of an Ocean Forecasting System off the West Coast of the United States: Sea Level Applications

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In the context of continuing development and implementation of global and regional ocean observing systems, we describe here the need and essential ingredients for a coastal ocean forecasting system focused on sea level and associated inundation issues and applications. Such a system must consist of the following key components: 1) satellite and in situ observations, 2) atmospheric forcing, 3) ocean circulation and tide modeling, 4) data assimilation for initialization, 5) forecast error estimation, and 6) data and model management. We describe these components, their continuing development and integrated implementation and application as part of a prototype coastal ocean forecast system for the U.S. West Coast. The multiscale nested modeling approach utilized here has demonstrated that sea level simulation can be improved by increasing the spatial resolution of observations. This and other regional ocean forecast systems are complementary and necessary elements of the emerging Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) needed to predict changes in sea level.

Building on the increasing maturity of ocean observing and forecasting capabilities, there are a number of significant challenges that require immediate attention, planning and development. These include: 1) further development of models, data assimilation algorithms and information management system, 2) adaptive sampling to reduce uncertainty in ocean forecasting, 3) Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSE) to optimize observing system design, 4) bridging the land-sea boundary, and 5) moving from measurements to information in support of management and decision-making.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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