NOAA-NSF collaboration – evaluating coastal models utilizing Texas Advanced Computing Center services

The Unified Forecast System (UFS) is a proposed community-based earth modeling system that is designed to incorporate oceanographic forecast model core(s) into a simplified NOAA modeling suite. This simplification is intended to reduce the footprint of the number of NOAA models and thus reduce development, operations, and maintenance.

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NOAA ocean mapping and reef surveys in the Mariana Islands

NOAA Ship Rainier alongside Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. on a sunny day with white clouds in the sky.

On March 26, NOAA Ship Rainier  set sail from Honolulu, Hawaii on a 3,307-nautical mile expedition to the Western Pacific. Originally planned for 2020, this will be the ship’s first multidisciplinary expedition to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. This collaborative mission between NOAA’s National Ocean Service and National Marine Fisheries Service will deliver high‐quality data, data products, and tools to the region including a seamless map linking hilltops to underwater depths and integrated data on the surrounding coral reef ecosystems. These data can provide information for countless users to make critical management decisions within disciplines such as habitat management and restoration, tsunami modeling, monitoring, and marine resource management.

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Model Upgrade: Global Extratropical Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System Upgraded to Version Two

Screen captures of two new implementations of version two; federal levees along the Mississippi and flood plain inclusion for Puerto Rico.

In late July 2021, the Global Extratropical Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System (Global ESTOFS) upgrade to version two was implemented into operations on the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System (WCOSS). The modeling system provides forecast guidance for combined water levels caused by storm surge and tides globally, and is to our knowledge the highest resolution global operational storm surge modeling system available today. The forecast guidance from the model is used by forecasters at NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) and the Ocean Prediction Center to generate their storm surge and flood forecasts during storms, including Nor’easters along the U.S. East Coast.

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NOAA releases new visualization resources: Precision Navigation Data Gateway and Data Dashboard

NOAA’s Precision Marine Navigation (PMN) program released two new visualization resources. The first is a beta version Precision Marine Navigation Data Gateway map viewer allowing users to explore NOAA’s S-100 data services. Currently, the Data Gateway presents prototype surface current forecast guidance, but new layers will be added as they are developed. NOAA welcomes feedback on the beta version of the Data Gateway. Please submit all comments to marinenav.team@noaa.gov by March 1, 2021.

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Introducing the Inland-Coastal Flooding Operational Guidance System (ICOGS)

Aerial imagery of inland-coastal flooding during Hurricane Harvey, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

Where the river meets the sea can be both a turbulent and vulnerable space, particularly during strong storms when heavy precipitation and storm surge intersect. This intersection is known as “compound inland-coastal flooding,” and until now, had not been carefully studied and implemented in forecasting centers for public guidance due to its inherent complexity. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science recently developed the Inland-Coastal Flooding Operational Guidance System (ICOGS), the world’s first three-dimensional integrated compound inland-coastal flooding guidance system.

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Model Upgrade: Extratropical Surge & Tide Operational Forecast System (ESTOFS) is Now Global

An example of maximum forecast water levels (m MSL) from a forecast cycle of Global ESTOFS.

On November 24, an upgrade to Global ESTOFS was implemented to provide NWS forecasters with high resolution water level forecast guidance including storm tide (storm surge plus tides) for the entire globe. Global ESTOFS forecast guidance will be used by forecasters at WFOs and the Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) to generate their storm surge forecasts during winter storms including Nor’easters along the U.S. East Coast.

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NOAA bathymetric data helps scientists more accurately model tsunami risk within Barry Arm

Barry Glacier, Alaska.

In May of 2020, local geologists identified a steep, unstable slope that has the potential to become a tsunami-generating landslide in Barry Arm, a glacial fjord 60 miles east of Anchorage, Alaska. With documented cases of tsunami-generating landslides in Alaska including Lituya Bay in 1958 and Taan Fjord in 2015, this new hazard immediately caught the attention of state and federal partners who quickly joined forces to quantify the risk to those living and boating in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, specifically the communities of Whittier, Valdez, Cordova, Tatitlek, and Chenega.

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NOAA Coast Survey’s new strategy supports charting mandates and broader seafloor mapping

This week, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey released the Mapping U.S. Marine and Great Lakes Waters: Office of Coast Survey Contributions to a National Ocean Mapping Strategy. This report is part of NOAA’s ongoing commitment to meet core surveying and nautical charting mandates while supporting broader needs to fill gaps in seafloor mapping and environmental sciences.

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NOAA improves coastal resilience tools for U.S. Pacific Islands vulnerable to natural disasters

NOS tide and surge guidance coverage over the Pacific.

By Jack Riley and Sergey Vinogradov, Ph.D.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth’s oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bound by the continents of Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east. Most of the U.S. Pacific territories are located in the northern half of the Pacific Ocean and are among the Pacific Islands that are highly exposed to natural disasters. As part of NOAA’s coastal resilience efforts, the National Ocean Service (NOS) is developing better tools to define changes in water level related to tropical cyclones and other weather related conditions. This work is part of the global effort to develop disaster risk assessment tools and practical technical applications to reduce and mitigate coastal countries’ vulnerability to natural disasters.

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