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Ocean Modeling and Prediction Laboratory

The Ocean Modeling and Prediction Laboratory research activity focuses on the development of numerical models of ocean currents and processes and their application to various problems ranging from water quality in Tampa Bay to variability in large-scale ocean circulation and its relation to climate change. The research work involves combining real-time ocean observations with numerical models of ocean processes to provide hindcasts of past conditions, nowcasts of present conditions or forecasts of future conditions. Some of the laboratory's observations and modeling programs include TB-PORTS, COMPS, BRACE, Tampa Bay Nowcast/Forecast Model, Integrated Model of Tampa Bay

TB-PORTS (Tampa Bay Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System) is a marine information acquisition and dissemination technology developed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service (NOS) in collaboration with University of South Florida College of Marine Science. The goals of TB-PORTS are to improve navigational safety and to protect the environment by providing more accurate water level, current, and meteorological data for Tampa Bay. TB-PORTS integrates real-time current, water level, temperature, wave, visibility, and wind measurements collected every six minutes at multiple locations.

The University of South Florida College of Marine Science has implemented a real-time Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPS) for West Florida. COMPS provides additional data needed for a variety of management issues, including more accurate predictions of coastal flooding by storm surge, safety and efficiency of marine navigation, search and rescue efforts, and fisheries management, as well as supporting basic research programs. COMPS consists of an array of instrumentation both along the coast and offshore of the West Florida Shelf, combined with with numerical circulation models, and builds upon existing in-situ measurements and modeling programs funded by various state and federal agencies.

An array of Meteorological and Oceanographic sensors have been installed on an existing tower in Middle Tampa Bay (Port Manatee Tower) to measure the turbulent flux of atmospheric constituents across the air-water interface. The sensors were installed to support the Bay Regional Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (BRACE) data collection. BRACE main goal is to estimate the direct deposition of biologically active Nitrogen to Tampa Bay. The funding is provided by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (TBEP).

The architecture of the Tampa Bay Coastal Prediction System consists of automated, integrated, subsystems for acquisition processing and quality control of data, three-dimensional numerical circulation modeling; and dissemination of results to the internet. The predictions made by the system may be for past, present, future, or specified time frames (hindcast, nowcast, forecast or on-demand). Both nowcast and forecast protocols, which are fully automated, perform periodical updates at specific intervals; The nowcast model performs model integration updates on the order of every 6 to 12 minutes. The forecast protocol performs 24 hour forecasts every 4 hours.