Coupled forecasting development

The use of coupled modelling systems to improve forecasts for both the atmosphere and the ocean is becoming an increasingly important area of research and development.  
Coupled atmosphere-ocean modelling systems, which also include land surface and sea ice components, have long been used for applications including seasonal forecasting and climate prediction.  However more recently evidence has been emerging that even on short timescales the interactions between ocean and atmosphere can be important.  The coupled forecasting development team within Ocean Forecasting are part of an ambitious scientific programme to investigate coupled modelling for ocean and numerical weather prediction, for both global and regional applications.
A global coupled ocean-atmosphere system is already delivering ocean forecast products through Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) and the team are responsible for assessing the quality of these forecasts and understanding where the coupled model provides benefit compared to the global model configuration where the ocean model is driven using forcing data from a separate atmosphere forecast.  In addition the team are investigating the impact of significantly increasing resolution of both the atmosphere and ocean components, as well as developing the capability to include a wave model to help capture atmosphere-wave and wave-ocean interactions more fully.
It is expected that atmosphere-ocean coupling will also provide benefit on regional scales, particularly for weather and ocean predictions in coastal environments.  Hence the team are also working with NERC collaborators to build the prototype of a UK Environmental Prediction system; this is a significant step towards a joint long term vision of developing the first coupled high resolution probabilistic environmental prediction system for the UK at 1km scale.

Key aims

  • To understand the interactions between atmosphere and ocean and help to improve their representation in our modelling systems.
  • To investigate and assess the benefits for providing both atmosphere and ocean forecasts from a coupled system.
  • To develop future coupled model configurations with increased resolution and complexity.

Current projects

  • Assessment of forecast quality for global ocean data being delivered to CMEMS from the coupled system.
  • Coordination of coupled model research and development.
  • Development of a higher resolution coupled global model with 17 km resolution in the atmosphere and 1/12 degree for the ocean.
  • Research into the impact of including a wave model in the existing atmosphere-ocean global coupled system.
  • Development of the atmosphere-ocean component of a prototype high resolution coupled system for UK Environmental Prediction.