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New System Gives Unprecedented Forecasts of Earth's Second Largest Ocean

NOAA illustration of Real-Time Ocean Forecast System.Feb. 1, 2006 The NOAA Environmental Modeling Center, Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch, has implemented a new revolutionary Real-Time Ocean Forecast System that will provide mariners with "nowcasts" and five-day forecasts for the entire North Atlantic Ocean. The Real-Time Ocean Forecast System generates applications that can support operations at sea such as search and rescue operations, containment of toxic spills, exploration of natural resources, fishing, recreation and much more. (Click NOAA illustration for larger view of Real-Time Ocean Forecast System. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

"Expanded ocean forecasting for areas from Europe to the U.S. East Coast and from the Caribbean to Canada represents a major step in NOAA's commitment to forecasting the Earth system," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "These new capabilities provide us with the potential to mitigate impacts from natural hazards and are just one example of the tangible benefits of an integrated observation system"

Meteorologists, who focus on predicting the weather over the oceans, note that in the future this system will provide the foundation for the initial and boundary conditions for the ocean component of NOAA's coupled ocean-hurricane prediction model, as well as the high-resolution regional models for environmental and ecosystem management, safety of marine transportation, and coastal flooding.

"The inclusion of the new ocean prediction system will contribute to NOAA's ongoing effort to improve hurricane track and intensity forecasts throughout the entire Atlantic Ocean basin," said Steven Lord, director, the NOAA Environmental Modeling Center.

The Real-Time Ocean Forecast System for the Atlantic Ocean produces daily "nowcasts" and five-day forecasts over the Atlantic Ocean domain of 25 degrees south to 70 degrees north and across the basin from west to east, including the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Maine and Gulf of St. Lawrence. The system replaces the regional Ocean Forecast system, which covered a limited part of the U.S. East Coast.

The critical part of Real-Time Ocean Forecast System was developed at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and adapted by the NOAA Environmental Modeling Center and NOAA's other operational settings. "This new system represents a collaborative approach that works," said Louis W. Uccellini, director of the NOAA Centers for Environmental Prediction. "The system has been in operation for six weeks and is demonstrating improved forecast skill over the previous system."

Work on the Real-Time Ocean Forecast System was partially supported through a National Ocean Partnership Project grant. It is the first in a series of the Environmental Modeling Center's real-time, high-resolution ocean forecast system implementations over the next decade. Currently, global and Pacific Ocean (Earth's largest body of water) versions of this system are under development.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Real Time-Ocean Forecast System

NOAA Marine Modeling & Analysis Branch

NOAA Environmental Modeling Center

NOAA Centers for Environmental Prediction

Media Contact:
Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163