Title: Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Modeling Framework:  WRF and ROMS

Funding Agency:  NOAA

Project Lead: Travis Miles

Partners:  RPS Group

Period of Performance:  5/1/2019-4/30/21

Total Budget:  $351,218

Project Summary:

Atmospheric and coastal ocean models have improved dramatically in the past decade in the sophistication of environmental processes they simulate, and in their use in conjunction with observing networks. These advances have been facilitated by embracing community open-source modeling frameworks and by introducing advanced data assimilation algorithms, multiple nesting capabilities, new physics parameterizations, and increased horizontal and vertical resolutions. Combining these advances in individual earth system components (i.e. standalone models of the atmosphere, ocean, or wave climate, etc.) by introducing full coupling of fluxes at the air-sea boundary layer is a critical next step to improving forecast skill in both the atmosphere and ocean, and maximizing the value of ocean observing assets – ultimately though simultaneous data assimilation in the fully coupled modeling systems.

The goal of the proposed research is to couple the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model with the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS), including data assimilation, using Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF) tools on a National Unified Operational Prediction Capability (NUOPC) layer for a regional, coastal application. Specific objectives are:

(i) To transition coupling capabilities between WRF and ROMS with ESMF/NUOPC libraries to join other operational NOAA modeling systems. (ii) To use the existing Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership (RUCOOL) and Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS) atmosphere and ocean grids.

This project benefits operations by Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Regional Associations (RAs), NOAA labs, state and local agencies, academic research institutions, private industry, and other units that engage in community regional atmospheric and ocean modeling. WRF and ROMS are among the most ubiquitous community atmosphere and ocean models worldwide. Output from these systems is used by numerous organizations to develop information products that inform applications related to storm surge, coastal inundation, flooding, ecosystem modeling, renewable energy development, weather prediction, search-and-rescue, and more.

Project partners are the RUCOOL WRF team, led by co-investigator Joseph Brodie, the MARACOOS ROMS modeling team, led by co-investigator John Wilkin, and the MARACOOS Technical Director Michael Crowley, who is also the Transition Principal Investigator. These team members are co-located at Rutgers University and will work in close collaboration throughout the project. MARACOOS stakeholders, and end users of the data generated by the regional model application, are commercial and recreational fisheries, US Coast Guard (USCG) search and rescue operations, local weather forecast offices, coastal community resilience planners, the offshore wind industry, and local and regional utilities.