Moana Project at Australian Coastal and Oceans Modelling and Observations Workshop 2018
 Prof Moninya Roughan, Chief Scientist MetOcean Solutions and Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist.

Prof Moninya Roughan, Chief Scientist MetOcean Solutions and Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist.

Last week the Australian Coastal and Oceans Modelling and Observations Workshop (ACOMO) 2018 was held in Canberra, Australia.

MetOcean Solutions’ Chief Scientist Prof Moninya Roughan, part of the organising committee, says ACOMO workshops have been a great success over the years, engaging initiatives to integrate marine observations and to grown national coastal ocean modelling capability.

“This year’s conference saw more involvement and representation from marine industry showing the relevance of ocean modelling and observing to supporting blue economy growth aspirations.

“The Moana Project, a five year project recently awarded through the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Endeavour Fund, was conceived through an industry-community-research partnership initiative, bringing together the seafood sector, Te Ao Māori knowledge and oceanographic research organisations.”

 Prof Moninya Roughan, Chief Scientist MetOcean Solutions and Sally Garrett, Research Lead New Zealand Defence Technology Agency.

Prof Moninya Roughan, Chief Scientist MetOcean Solutions and Sally Garrett, Research Lead New Zealand Defence Technology Agency.

MetOcean was also represented by Research Lead Sally Garrett from New Zealand Defence Technology Agency who gave a presentation on the Southern Ocean wave project. It is a collaborative effort between MetOcean Solutions and the New Zealand Defence Force to deploy the southernmost wave buoy that has ever been moored in the world, located about 11 km south of Campbell Island.

The full abstract of Garrett’s talk is provided below.

New Wave Observations in the Southern Ocean

Tom Durrant*, Peter McComb*, Jorge Perez*, Henrique Rapizo*, Sally Garrett^

The combination of persistent westerly winds, and the largely unbroken expanse of sea in the Southern Ocean, produces potentially enormous fetches, resulting in higher wave heights for longer periods than any other body of water. Due to the harsh ocean environment and remote location, it is also the least observed of any major ocean. While satellite altimeter data can be used to estimate the surface variance, the wave spectral characteristics cannot be measured remotely, and consequently the directional wave spectra in Southern Ocean are poorly sampled and not well understood.

In February 2017, MetOcean deployed a buoy off Campbell Island. At 52.7S, this is the Southernmost moored deployment to be made in the Southern Ocean. In February of this year, a second deployment was made at the site as part of a wider program in collaboration with the New Zealand Defence Force and Spoondrift which includes an additional five drifting buoys. These buoys complement the Australian SOFS mooring at 47S, and are collectively providing the first high quality in-situ wave observations in the Southern Ocean. They are already measuring phenomenal conditions, with the highest recorded wave in the Southern Hemisphere recorded in May of this year at 24.8m. These data are being used to quantitatively assess the performance of recent improvements in global wave models. An analysis of the relative importance of large scale ocean currents will also be presented. This project will inform the design of next generation of NZ Navy vessels supporting patrol responsibilities in the Southern Ocean.

*MetOcean Solutions. ^New Zealand Defence Technology Agency.

Check out the Southern Ocean wave buoy direct data feed.




Mariana Horigome
$11.5 million grant to help safeguard New Zealand’s blue economy

A new research project spearheaded by MetService’s oceanography division, MetOcean Solutions will shed new light on the performance of New Zealand’s oceans to support the seafood sector.

The Moana Project was today awarded $11.5 million over five years from the Government’s Endeavour Fund.

MetService Chief Executive Officer Peter Lennox says the grant is an endorsement of the capability and expertise that exists within MetService, and the contribution the State-owned enterprise is continuing to make in advancing the knowledge of New Zealand industry and communities.

General Manager MetOcean Solutions Dr Brett Beamsley says there is a significant lack of knowledge about our marine environment despite the ocean providing vital social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits for New Zealanders.

“As a marine nation, New Zealand derives wealth and wellbeing from the ocean and yet, our oceans are very poorly understood.

“Our seafood sector alone is worth $4.18b annually to New Zealand’s economy and its resources are directly threatened by rising ocean temperatures and marine heatwaves.

“To safeguard these benefits for future generations we need to understand how our marine environment works so we can better manage our resources in a time of rapid ocean warming.

“This project will combine Māori knowledge, seafood sector data, cutting-edge ocean sensing, and advanced numerical modelling to provide a reliable ocean forecast system to support marine industries.”

The proposal was led by MetOcean Solutions’ Chief Scientist Professor Moninya Roughan who says: “The Tasman Sea is warming at one of the fastest rates on Earth, four times the global average, yet we currently have limited ability to comprehensively measure, monitor and predict the state of New Zealand’s oceans.

“Our marine industries are operating in the dark but through the Moana Project, all that will change.

“This programme will create a new, dynamic and more integrated marine knowledge base - reducing uncertainty, maximising opportunity and preparing for future ocean changes.”

The Moana Project is a cross-institutional programme involving all the oceanographic research organisations in New Zealand, collaborating with international experts and supported by a wide range of end-users in industry and government.

Professor Roughan says: “We are partnering with the seafood sector to develop a low-cost ocean sensor that will revolutionise ocean data collection. The sensors will be deployed throughout New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone with support from the commercial fishing sector.

“Through a research partnership with the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, we expect the project to  facilitate the exchange of oceanographic knowledge between Te Ao Māori and western science, and empower engagement in coastal management and policy fora.”

Research organisations involved include MetOcean Solutions, the Cawthron Institute, NIWA, and Victoria University of Wellington, Auckland, Waikato, and Otago Universities. The team will collaborate with international experts from Australia (the University of New South Wales), and the United States. 

In addition, the Moana Project has support from technology partners (including ZebraTech) and a wide range of ocean-information end-users, including the New Zealand Defence Technology Agency, the NZ Seafood sector (including Seafood NZ, Paua Industry Council, Deepwater Group, NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council, Terra Moana), the Ministry for Primary Industries and Regional Councils.  

MetOcean Solutions was fully acquired by State-owned Enterprise MetService in September 2017.

For more information, contact Deborah Gray, Communications Manager at deborah.gray@metservice.com or by calling +64 027 3700 700.

 

About the Moana Project

Moana-project.png

The seafood sector brings $4.18B to New Zealand annually. The resources that the sector depends on are threatened by increasing ocean temperatures. Thermal stress is one of the greatest threats to aquaculture and above average ocean temperatures are also impacting deepwater fisheries (e.g. Hoki). New Zealand has recently experienced its worst marine heatwave on record, yet nothing about these events is known.

This project will vastly improve understanding of coastal ocean circulation, connectivity and marine heatwaves to provide information that will support sustainable growth of the seafood industry (Māori, fisheries and aquaculture). Project partners will apply the internet of things concept to develop a low-cost ocean temperature profiler that will be deployed by the fishing communities ‘on all boats, at all times’. New Zealand’s first open-access ocean forecast system will be delivered by developing new ocean circulation models using a combination of advanced numerics, modern genomics and data from our smart ocean sensors.

The project will investigate the drivers and impacts of marine heatwaves so that they can be predicted, and investigate ocean transport pathways and population connectivity of kaimoana species. This project will provide a step-change in the oceanic information available to the seafood sector and the broader community, accessible through the open-access user-friendly datasets and tools developed.

This information will help the New Zealand seafood sector retain its competitive edge in a rapidly changing ocean impacted by marine temperature extremes and shifting currents. Project partners will build bridges to ensure this new knowledge informs regional marine policy and management.

This project is anchored in mātauranga Māori through the partners’ relationship with Whakatōhea, facilitating exchange of oceanographic knowledge between Te Ao Māori and western science and serve as an exemplar for other coastal iwi.

 

About MetService

MetService is New Zealand’s National Meteorological Service. MetOcean Solutions was fully acquired by State-owned Enterprise MetService in September 2017.

As a State-Owned Enterprise its core purpose is to protect the safety of life and property in New Zealand while operating as a commercial business. MetService recently emerged as one of the highest rated agencies in Colmar Brunton’s annual survey of reputation in the public sector.  http://www.colmarbrunton.co.nz/opinion-does-our-public-sector-measure-up/

Mariana Horigome
Moana Project at New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference & Technical Day
 From left to right, Craig Ellison, Executive Chair Seafood New Zealand, Prof Moninya Roughan, Chief Scientist MetOcean Solutions, and Tim Pankhurst, Chief Executive Seafood New Zealand.

From left to right, Craig Ellison, Executive Chair Seafood New Zealand, Prof Moninya Roughan, Chief Scientist MetOcean Solutions, and Tim Pankhurst, Chief Executive Seafood New Zealand.

Prof Moninya Roughan, MetOcean Solutions Chief Scientist, presented the Moana Project at New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference & Technical Day in Wellington.

“NZ has recently experienced the worst marine heatwave on record, yet we know almost nothing about the magnitude and dynamics of the event, let alone the drivers and impacts,” says Prof Roughan. “Ocean circulation drives the transport of larvae, determines population connectivity and impacts fisheries recruitment, all of which are being impacted by ocean warming and changes in circulation patterns.”

“The comprehensive understanding of our marine environment, and the increased capability in ocean hydrodynamic observing and modelling, will help us evaluate threats and better manage fisheries, aquaculture, and the wider marine environment, and improve marine biosecurity, contributing to future-proofing our valuable seafood industries in the face of environmental change.”

The presentation on 'Ocean circulation, marine heatwaves and New Zealand seafood' discussed our understanding of NZ’s ocean circulation, the lack of fundamental knowledge of complex ocean dynamics, and the drivers and impacts of marine heatwaves.

New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference & Technical Day, hosted by Seafood New Zealand, was held 1-2 August at Te Papa, Wellington. The conference was built around the theme 'Our people, our promise', representing an opportunity to discuss sustainability, innovation and environmentally responsible practices in the seafood industry.

Read more about Prof Roughan’s talk here.

Mariana Horigome
João Marcos Souza joins MetOcean Solutions

We are delighted to welcome Dr João Marcos Souza to MetOcean Solutions. João is a physical oceanographer with vast experience in hydrodynamic ocean modelling, and will be leading the ocean modelling component of the Moana Project, based in our Raglan Office.

JS.jpg

“João is a recognised expert in data assimilation modelling, and has strong international connections in the ocean modelling and observing community, an important link for Moana Project,” says Prof Moninya Roughan, MetOcean Solutions' Chief Scientist and Moana Project Director. “He brings a unique capability in ROMS Data Assimilation, and we look forward to advancing New Zealand’s contribution to international efforts in ocean data assimilation.”

With more than 15 years of experience, his expertise is in interdisciplinary ocean processes and data assimilative hydrodynamic simulations. In his most recent research position, João was the principal investigator on several projects, including the development of an ocean reanalysis using the ROMS model with 4-dimensional variational data assimilation to investigate predictability of ocean forecast systems, analysis of deep circulation in the Gulf of Mexico using a combination of observations and model results, and range of nearshore circulation studies coupling hydrodynamic and wave models.

Following his PhD in Ocean Engineering at Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Brazil, in 2008, João completed postdoctoral internships at the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea - IFREMER in 2011 and the University of Hawaii in 2014. Complementing his science role, he has mentored undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in physical oceanography. His most recent projects include the use of lagrangian analysis methods with biogeochemical and ocean circulation modelling.

“I am very excited to join the team and hope to add value to the fantastic work being done at Metocean Solutions,” says João. “It is clear to me that great science can only be achieved through strong collaboration which is valued so highly by the MetOcean team.”

Mariana Horigome
Moana Project releases Hau-Moana: NZ atmospheric downscaling data

The first output from the Moana Project is available. The project team is pleased to release the Hau-Moana data set, the New Zealand atmospheric downscaling.

Project Leader Associate Professor Moninya Roughan is excited. “We are happy to have the first data product available already. The MetOcean Solutions team has been working hard to finish this first step of the Moana Project, paving the way for the work packages to come.”

 
 Top panels show low-resolution atmospheric products available globally from CFSR. The lower panels show the benefit of increasing the resolution in a New Zealand specific context around regions of complex topography such as the Cook Strait. Higher resolution modelling increases the accuracy of the data. 

Top panels show low-resolution atmospheric products available globally from CFSR. The lower panels show the benefit of increasing the resolution in a New Zealand specific context around regions of complex topography such as the Cook Strait. Higher resolution modelling increases the accuracy of the data. 

 

Oceanographer Rosa Trancoso presented the project at the 2017 NZ Physical Oceanography Workshop in Wellington in mid-August. “Hau-Moana came about because we needed more accurate wind fields to improve our ocean modelling,” she explains. “The global Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) made public by the National Center of Environmental Prediction, is used globally, however it does not provide accurate wind fields for nearshore areas, particularly around NZ. For accurate ocean modelling, atmospheric forcing needs to account for coastal topographic effects, shoreline complexity, and ocean surface temperatures. New Zealand is subject to rapidly moving weather systems, and complex topography, which means that we require atmospheric forcing data at good spatial and temporal resolution.

For the downscaling, the team used 0.312 degrees for sea surface temperature (SST) and surface fields such as pressure, humidity, temperature, etc. The modelling was done using 12-hour independent runs, discarding the first five hours to allow for model spin-up. 

The outputs were validated against data from 33 coastal sites around New Zealand and two offshore sites.

 The model was validated using weather data from 33 coastal and two offshore observation sites. 

The model was validated using weather data from 33 coastal and two offshore observation sites. 

“Overall, the validation shows the model to perform well,” adds Rosa. “This means that we now have a better atmospheric data set for New Zealand than we’ve ever had in the past. Hau-Moana version 1.0 is a first step towards a high-quality, high-resolution, long-term reference data set, which can be improved in the future. The dataset covers the period from 1979 to 2015, and we’re currently working on a comprehensive validation and a descriptive paper for publication in a scientific journal.”

NIWA Ocean Modeller Dr Mark Hadfield says that the Hau-Moana high-resolution wind field is a key component in improving modelled circulation in the Cook Strait.

The Hau-Moana data set is freely available upon request - contact us at info@moanaproject.org if you would like to access it. 

For more information about the Moana Project, visit the website: www.moanaproject.org

 Higher-resolution atmospheric modelling improves the modelling of waves and currents. Left-hand images show the CFSR and WRF model outputs for mean wind speed (m/s) (top) and mean significant wave height (m) (bottom); right-hand images show the difference between the two, with negative values in blue and positive values in red. 

Higher-resolution atmospheric modelling improves the modelling of waves and currents. Left-hand images show the CFSR and WRF model outputs for mean wind speed (m/s) (top) and mean significant wave height (m) (bottom); right-hand images show the difference between the two, with negative values in blue and positive values in red. 

Moana Project team
Moana Project scope achieves excellence

The Moana Project proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment's (MBIE's) Endeavour Fund earlier this year and has now has passed the first of two assessment hurdles. In June, the initial assessments were released, with the Moana Project assessed as being scientifically excellent. This is great news because the Project can now be considered for full government funding. 
 
In the next phase, the Project will be evaluated on impact.
 
"The Moana Project will deliver a wide range of impacts," states Science Leader Prof Moninya Roughan. "It will provide vital information about our ocean, which will improve the efficiency and reduce risks for marine-based industries. All information generated will be freely available, facilitating and enhancing research and development. The improved models will be instrumental for marine connectivity and pollution dispersal studies."
 
MBIE will announce the final funding decisions in September 2017.

 The Moana Project was has passed the excellence assessment, and will now be assessed for impacts.

The Moana Project was has passed the excellence assessment, and will now be assessed for impacts.

Moana Project team
Moana project application submitted to Endeavour Fund

On 7 March the Moana Project proposal was submitted to the Endeavour Fund administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). 

 The New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is vast, and good information will help sustainable management and development of our blue economy.

The New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is vast, and good information will help sustainable management and development of our blue economy.

The project is a collaboration between leading New Zealand and international marine science research organisations. It involves implementing an ambitious ocean knowledge-infrastructure for New Zealand. This includes:

  • Setting up an open-access ocean data archive for New Zealand oceanographic data.
  • Establishing and running open-source models to provide detailed historic atmospheric, wave and current data for the entire New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
  • Integrating observational data with current models using novel reanalysis techniques.
  • Creating tools and products that bring ocean data to stakeholders, including marine industries and resource managers. 

MBIE will make a decision on funding later this year.

Moana Project team