NOAA 50th Anniversary
Office of Coast Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

Storm Surge Modeling

Storm Surge Modeling

The Office of Coast Survey is the host of NOS’ Storm Surge Modeling Team that develops modeling infrastructures for end users to perform disaster risk assessments and prediction capabilities to reduce and mitigate coastal vulnerability to natural disasters. These products improve communication and collaboration with national and international agencies by understanding charting, bathymetry, water level, currents, and other NOAA products. Such efforts also support products and services that are vital for: 1) safe maritime navigation, 2) world class geodetic infrastructure, and 3) sustainable use of ocean resources for economic health and growth.

Some of the NOS Storm Surge Team’s key development and operational activities include:


ESTOFS (Extratropical Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System)

The Extratropical Surge & Tide Operational Forecast System (ESTOFS) is one of the oldest-running coastal surge operational forecast systems developed by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey in collaboration with other NOS, NWS, and academic partners. Since 2012, the ADCIRC-based ESTOFS has been deployed for the US East and Gulf Coasts and the Caribbean (ESTOFS-Atlantic), US West Coast and Hawaii (ESTOFS-Pacific), and for the US Territories in Micronesia from Palau to Marshall Islands (ESTOFS-Micronesia). The Global ESTOFS (G-ESTOFS) is scheduled to become operational in late 2020 and will replace the current three existing operational domains with better spatial resolution and superior physics. The new features in the G-ESTOFS include improved spatial resolution in U.S. waters and global coverage without the gaps that currently exists in the regional ESTOFS models (e.g., Western Alaska, American Samoa, and foreign territories).

Illustration of the products resulting from the interface of coastal ocean modeling with other numerical models.

Global ESTOFS mesh and coverage.


Model Coupling and Unified Forecast System

The effort is aimed to interface and enhance other NOAA coastal modelling capabilities that include: hydrological models, wind models, and other multi-physics interaction through Earth System Model Coupling efforts. Several NOAA wide efforts are supporting Earth System Model Coupling with a focus on nearshore and coastal environments such as COASTAL Act Program and NOAA Water Initiative. NOAA's Office of Coast Survey in coordination with other NOAA and NOS line offices will continue developing and testing new modelling paradigms to support NOAA's mission in improving the safety and efficiency of commercial shipping; proactively preventing and mitigating and responding to natural hazards (e.g., compound inland-coastal flooding).

Illustration of the products resulting from the interface of coastal ocean modeling with other numerical models.

Illustration of the products resulting from the interface of coastal ocean modeling with other numerical models.

Revised: 6/22/2020