Numerical modeling and forecasting of coastal ocean currents and water levels using a 3D terrain-following, primitive equation ocean model




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This document presents the final dissertation in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor in Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering for Miguel Solano at The University of Texas at Dallas. The main contribution of this dissertation is the implementation and validation of an operational ocean forecasting system based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS). ROMS is a terrain-following, primitive equation ocean model which uses a split-explicit time step to advance the 3D equations with a long (slow) step and the 2D equations with a short (fast) step. Tide filtering techniques for the 2D mode are investigated to reduce the error at the open boundaries and to improve the accuracy of the forecast at the near-shore. The operational system was developed for the Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CariCOOS), the observing arm of the Caribbean Regional Association encompassing the main island of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and one of eleven regional Integrated Ocean Observing Systems from NOAA around the U.S. coasts. The operational system runs daily and automatically, downloading ocean variables from various regional products, pre-processing input files, setting up the model and producing a 3-day forecast of ocean currents, water levels, temperature and salinity fields. Boundary conditions are downloaded automatically from various regional products. The wind forcing is provided by NDFD and the tide forcing by OTPS. A particle tracking application has been developed to simulate particle dispersion and the trajectory of passive tracers using the output from the ROMS forecast. Chapter 1 provides a brief overview of the research background and objectives. Chapter 2 discusses important concepts in physical oceanography, with emphasis on coastal and near-shore process. Chapter 3 describes the methodology and a detailed description of the numerical model, while the specific configuration for this work is explained in chapter 4. The results are presented in chapter 5 and the conclusions in chapter 6.



Oceanography—Caribbean Sea, Computational fluid dynamics, Numerical weather forecasting


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