|April 2005||National Research Flagship||www.csiro.au/wealthfromoceans|
Milestone Approaches for Australia's Ocean Forecasting
Development of Australia's first ocean forecasting system is approaching a critical milestone as computer simulations for 1992-2004 are compared with an historical 12-year record of observations for the same period.
Requiring massive computer power, the ocean reanalysis development is a foundation feature of BLUElink - Ocean Forecasting Australia.
"Two years of research is about to be applied over the next six months in tandem with our historical records and this will indicate the extent of the team's progress," says project co-leader, Andreas Schiller, from CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship.
"The signs have been very positive and by the latter part of the year we hope to be in a position to describe conditions today as a prelude to development of the ocean forecasting capability."
"One of the features we will be looking for is the simulation of the Indonesian Throughflow and how closely our reanalysis replicates features recently observed by the international INSTANT project team" Dr Schiller said. http://www.csiro.au/index.asp?type=mediaRelease&id=oceanographic &style=mediaRelease
Dr Schiller, together with Dr Neville Smith from the Bureau of Meteorology and Chair of Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment, lead BLUElink, Australia's foray into ocean forecasting. Launched by the Australian Government in 2003, BLUElink is a $15 million joint research initiative involving CSIRO through the Wealth from Oceans Flagship, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Royal Australian Navy.
Delivering ocean forecasts
Central to BLUElink is the development of a global and local ocean prediction system. High-resolution analysis of the ocean will be updated every day and ocean forecasts will include the latest changes in the ocean.
In addition, CSIRO currently develops a high-resolution, coupled atmosphere-ocean model predicting out to three days and that was specifically designed for coastal and continental shelf applications. This model will provide accurate data for ocean winds, sea surface height, three-dimensional fields of ocean temperature, salinity and currents closer to Australia.
BLUElink will deliver operational short-range ocean forecasts for the Asian-Australian region by 2006 (test results will be available at http://www.marine.csiro.au/bluelink/). The forecasts will provide information on coastal and ocean currents and eddies, surface and subsurface ocean properties, that impact on, and are linked to, maritime and commercial operations, defense applications, safety-at-sea, ecological sustainability, and regional and global climate.
Products derived from the BLUElink oceanic analyses are being delivered routinely to Navy ships, and have been used recently in Naval exercises in the region. At the same time, work is progressing to integrate oceanic analyses and forecasts from BLUElink into the Navy's tactical decision aids.
Oceans and Australia
Australia has good reason to develop its own regional ocean forecasting system. Responsible for ocean territory nearly twice the size of its landmass, the country is bounded by three ocean basins and influenced by key oceanic features (the Indonesian throughflow system of currents and El Nino and La Nina) that affect rainfall across the continent. Nearer the coast there is a continually evolving system of ocean eddies generated in the Tasman Sea from the East Australian Current, and in West Australian waters from the world's longest continuous ocean current, the Leeuwin Current.
Ninety per cent of the Australian population lives within 50 kilometres of the coast. Significant investment is bound up in coastal structures associated with mining, shipping, and oil and gas extraction. Our oceanic conditions influence two of the country's largest aquaculture endeavours - southern bluefin tuna and Atlantic salmon, and northern Australia is subject to tropical cyclones.
Operational Ocean Forecast System
The Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre and CSIRO will develop an enhanced ocean model and data assimilation system for operational delivery of ocean forecasts. Available in situ and satellite observations from the data server and regional analyses will be assimilated directly into the ocean model using an advanced assimilation technique to provide improved short-range model predictions with forecast skill of up to 4-6 days. The surface forcing will be provided by the Bureau of Meteorology's operational numerical weather prediction systems - global, regional and, as appropriate, local.
IN THIS EDITION:
The Wealth from Oceans Flagship is a CSIRO initiative and part of the National Research Flagships program that aims to deliver scientific solutions to advance Australia's most important national objectives. One of the largest scientific initiatives ever mounted in Australia, it aligns closely with the Federal Government's National Research Priorities. The initiative brings together our national research resources to deliver breakthroughs in fields ranging from healthcare to light metals and the environment.
Editor: Sylvia Bell
PO Box 93
North Ryde NSW 1670
Phone: +61 2 9490 8006
Fax: +61 2 9490 8811