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The Northeast Coastal Ocean Forecast System (NECOFS) is an integrated atmosphere-ocean model system designed for the northeast US coastal region covering a computational domain from the south of Long-Island Sound to the north of the Nova Scotian Shelf. The system includes 1) mesoscale meteorological models WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting model) and MM5 (fifth-generation NCAR/Penn State non-hydrostatic mesoscale model); 2) the unstructured grid Finite-Volume Coastal Ocean Model with configuration for the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank /New England Shelf (FVCOM-GOM); 3) the unstructured grid surface wave model (FVCOM-SWAVE) modified from SWAN; 4) FVCOM-based unstructured grid sediment model and 5) generalized biological models. At the current stage, the forecast system is built based on WRF, MM5 and FVCOM.

WRF and MM5 have been validated by hindcast experiments from 1979 to present. The WRF and MM5 used in the forecast system are modified versions, with implementation of the TOGA COARE heat flux algorithm. Both WRF and MM5 predict 3 days' forecast fields of surface wind velocity, air pressure, air temperature, net surface heat flux, shortwave irradiance, longwave radiation, and sensible and latent heat fluxes. A comparison was made between WRF and MM5 and no significant difference was found. WRF seems to provide a more accurate wind direction than MM5. At the initial stage, we include both WRF and MM5 to provide two ensemble fields of the meteorological field in this region.

It is widely recognized that the Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) plays a critical role in mesoscale weather variability. There are a variety of PBL models available in MM5 and WRF. We have tested all these models in MM5 and found that Medium-Range Forecast (MRF) seems to work the best for the Gulf of Maine region in both good and bad weather conditions. Instead of providing the ensemble fields predicted using various PBL models, we selected only the MRF-predicted field for our system to provide more realistic mesoscale meteorological fields (based on the known uncertainty from over 20 years of hindcast simulation).

FVCOM-GOM has also been validated by hindcast experiments from 1995 to present. This model is capable of reproducing accurately both tidal and subtidal motions in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank/New England Shelf regions. The hindcast results can be viewed on the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank, Nantucket Sound, and Mass Bay pages of this website (see menu on home page). FVCOM is driven by WRF and MM5 to provide 3 days of forecast fields of water temperature, salinity, and currents. The predicted river discharges and upstream hydrographic conditions at open boundaries are specified for the forecast operation. The 3-day forecast is updated daily, with hindcast meteorological fields and available river discharge and open boundary conditions.

FVCOM-SWAVE is driven by WRF and MM5 forecast winds in the FVCOM domain and North American Mesoscale (NAM) weather model wind forecast for the Atlantic Ocean region. Significant wave heights are displayed on this website.

We are still working on improving the NECOFS. FVCOM-GOM results displayed here are based on the 2nd- and 3rd-generation FVCOM-GOM. Very soon, we will include the subcoastal domains along the coast through nesting automatically to the 3rd-generation FVCOM-GOM.

NECOFS is a product of the Northeast Regional Coastal Ocean Observation System (NERCOOS) Program, with support from NOAA-NERCOOS, Massachusetts Fishery Institution (MFI), the NSF/NOAA GLOBEC/Georges Bank Program, and the MIT Sea Grant Program.

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