The development of the New Zealand Ocean Operational Forecast System

Dr Joao Marcos Azevedo Correia de Souza1

1, Raglan, New Zealand

New Zealand’s maritime domain is one of the largest on the planet. The seafood sector alone brings $4.18B to NZ annually. MetService is the responsible institution for providing a reliable forecast system of the ocean estate to respond to such demand. To accomplish this, a complex system including different ocean models and information endpoint delivery mechanisms was developed. The system is designed for fast operationalization of state-of-the-art techniques and portability between different platforms. A mix of “Regional Ocean Modeling System” (ROMS) and “Semi-implicit Cross-scale Hydroscience Integrated System Model” (SCHISM) domains are used to evaluate and predict ocean circulation and state properties, while “Wave Watch III” (WW3) and “Simulating Waves Nearshore” (SWAN) are used for simulating surface gravity waves. An architecture based on docker images and controlled by an “in house” built python based scheduler ensures a stable and robust system. Following international best practices, new developments to include wave-circulation coupling and data assimilation are under-way. These are undertaken in the framework of publicly funded research projects. A general description of the operational system with its unique architecture is presented. The development of new features is discussed, with a special focus on the assimilation of ocean observations into the national circulation model. The steps taken in the design and implementation of this national operational model are discussed. This effort is part of the Moana Project – a national research project that includes the participation of the main oceanographic institutes in New Zealand.

With more than 15 years of experience, my expertise is in interdisciplinary ocean processes and data assimilative hydrodynamic simulations. I was the principal investigator on several research projects, including the development of an ocean reanalysis using the ROMS model with 4-dimensional variational data assimilation to investigate predictability of ocean forecast systems, analysis of deep circulation in the Gulf of Mexico using a combination of observations and model results, and range of nearshore circulation studies. Currently, I am the science team leader for the MetOcean research and development team and responsible for the development of the data assimlation system.

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