Ocean modelling involves building forecast models. Forecasting models for weather have existed for decades. In recent years oceanographers have produced similar forecast conditions for the ocean using mathematical models. Ocean forecast models run on high performance computers to provide high resolution forecasts for the coming days. Forecast model parameters include ocean temperature, salinity, currents and waves.
What is ocean modelling? Why do we do it?
- Ocean models are numerical representations of ocean properties and behaviour.
- Operational ocean models are real-time models using current and long-term data to represent and interpret the ocean. Operational hydrodynamic models are run daily to produce forecasts and to build up a database of model data to support marine research.
- Forecasting models are some of the most common operational model types users encounter. Forecasting models for weather have existed for decades and in recent years, oceanographers have produced similar forecast conditions for the ocean using mathematical models. Ocean forecast models run on high performance computers to provide high resolution forecasts for the coming days. Forecast model parameters include ocean temperature, salinity, currents and waves.
- Models can also be historic and demonstrate an event which has occurred. These types are often helpful in analysing event strategy or mapping trends especially as we regularly work with long-term data sets.
- Our OCS modelling team are often tasked by organisations including the government, coastguard, and Garda Siochána to produce a range of ocean related models[
Using our models, we build products to support services in areas such as aquaculture, fisheries, tourism and safety at sea. We are often tasked to build our products which grounds a majority of our work in impactful, real-life problem solving.
Extreme events: marine heatwaves and suboxic events
Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Bulletins
- Ocean models predict the transport of harmful algae by the movement of water masses at surface, mid-water and near seabed. If harmful algae are present, upwelling and downwelling events are identified. Customised visualisation of this transport assists expert biologists preparing the bulletin in the determination determining of the likelihood of HAB outbreaks in vulnerable bays. Currently the system is implemented in Bantry Bay and Killary Harbour. Weekly HAB bulletins are produced by the Marine Institute.
Tourism: surface current forecasts for sailors
Celtic Sea: ocean physics and biogeochemistry model
- Global climate models (GCMs) consist of a number of separate model elements (ocean physics, ocean biogeochemistry, atmosphere, atmospheric chemistry and land) which interact via coupling to capture the conditions in each respective sphere under past conditions and future scenarios.
- GCM simulations are coordinated by the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) whose mission is to better understand past, present and future climate changes arising from natural or forced variability (forced variability references climate-forcing) in a multi-model context. CMIP is currently in the matured phase of its 6th iteration (CMIP6), with planning underway for the 7th iteration.
- At the Marine Institute, GCMs are downscaled to regional-scale models within Irish waters. We downscale to increase spatial resolution and better reflect local conditions (rivers, mixing) which are simplified or parameterised differently at global-scale. The Marine Institute downscales the GCMs outputs from the evolving CMIP project with every new iteration, to reflect as accurately as possible the regional impacts and effects of climate change scenarios to the Irish marine environment.
- The Marine Institute has participated in the CoCLIME, CE2COAST and Bioceltic projects to downscale the potential impacts of climate change from GCMs produced under CMIP5 and CMIP6.
- To meet the regional climate modelling needs of CE2COAST (JPI Oceans and JPI Climate, https://www.ce2coast.com) and BioCeltic (EMFF), the Marine Institute has developed a new kilometre-scale, 20 vertical layer regional ocean model of ocean physics and biogeochemistry of the Celtic Sea. The model is a coupled deployment of CROCO-v1.2.1 (ocean physics) and PISCESv2 (biogeochemistry).