MetOcean Solutions’ ocean forecasting system presentation at OceanPredict’19 Symposium in Canada

Next week, Dr João Marcos Souza and Prof Moninya Roughan will be at OceanPredict ’19 Symposium in Halifax, Canada.

Metocean Solutions’ physical oceanographer Dr João Marcos Souza will present “New Zealand’s national ocean forecast system - present and future”, showcasing MetOcean’s sophisticated operational ocean forecasting capability. Based on international best practices with the current state-of-the-art science, the system combines a number of different ocean models and data dissemination platforms. It is designed for rapid deployment of high-resolution model domains and portability between different platforms.

General architecture concept of MetOcean’s operational system.

General architecture concept of MetOcean’s operational system.


“We will present some of the advances we are making in ocean circulation modelling, an overview of MetOcean’s operational system and capabilities, together with our ongoing developments and future plans,” says João. “It is a great opportunity to present the latest advances in New Zealand’s operational oceanography and engage with best practices implemented around the world.”

At the conference, Metocean Solutions’ Head of Research Partnerships Prof Moninya Roughan will be presenting the Moana Project. The Moana Project, led by Prof. Roughan, is a cross-institutional programme involving all the oceanographic research organisations in New Zealand, in collaboration with international experts from Australia and the United States. The project will shed new light on the performance of New Zealand’s oceans to support the seafood sector.

The OceanPredict ’19 Symposium, hosted by GODAE OceanView, is being held 6-10 May at Halifax Convention Centre, Canada. The event brings together the oceanographic science, research and end-user communities to increase awareness of current ocean modelling capabilities, and to explore and define the direction of future operational ocean forecasting.

MetOcean Solutions is a division of New Zealand’s National Meteorological Service.

For more information, visit the conference website:

The full abstracts are provided below.

New Zealand ocean forecast system - present and future

Azevedo Correia de Souza, Joao*, Soutelino, Rafael*, Durrant, Tom*, Couto, Phellipe*

New Zealand’s maritime domain is one of the largest on the planet, with an exclusive economic zone of approximately 4,300,000 km2 – about 15 times its land area. The seafood sector alone brings $4.18B to NZ annually. Offshore oil and gas exploration provides about 30% of the country’s consumption, from 21 petroleum licenses in the Taranaki basin. Moreover, tourism is a growing industry accounting for about 5.9% of the GDP and often related to the country’s coastal landscapes. Therefore, having a reliable ocean forecast system is of critical importance to the country’s economy and to the safety and resilience of the community and environment. This includes the capability to model and forecast ocean processes at a range of spatial and temporal scales. To accomplish this, a sophisticated system including different ocean models and data dissemination platforms has been developed. The system is designed for rapid deployment of high-resolution model domains, kept up to date with state-of-the-art techniques, and portability between different platforms. At the present, this system is mainly based on downscaling of global models (except for ocean waves) and a series of local nested model grids. A mix of “Regional Ocean Modeling System” (ROMS) and “Semi-implicit Cross-scale Hydroscience Integrated System Model” (SCHISM) domains are used to evaluate and predict ocean circulation and state properties, while “WAVEWATCH III” (WW3) and “Simulating Waves Nearshore” (SWAN) are used for simulating surface gravity waves down to harbour scales. A micro-service architecture based on docker and controlled by a built-for-purpose distributed workflow scheduler ensures a stable, highly-available system. New developments underway include the use of un-structured model grids, 4DVar data assimilation of global and local observations on a national scale, waves-circulation coupling, and the use of cloud-based computational resources. Focusing mainly on the ocean circulation modelling, a general description of the system and capabilities at Metocean are presented together with ongoing developments and future plans.

*MetOcean Solutions, division of Meteorological Service of New Zealand

The Moana Project: Seafood sector support for ocean data collection to improve ocean prediction in New Zealand.

Roughan, Moninya*

New Zealand derives wealth and wellbeing from the ocean, including a seafood sector worth $4.18B annually, and yet, their oceans are very poorly understood. NZ lags other developed nations that have integrated ocean observing and modelling programmes, and cannot comprehensively measure, observe or predict the state of their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).  Ocean circulation drives the transport of larvae, determines population connectivity and impacts fisheries recruitment and abundance, all of which are being impacted by ocean warming and changes in circulation patterns.

Embracing ‘the Internet of Things’ concepts, we are developing a low-cost smart ocean sensor to be deployed throughout NZ’s EEZ by the seafood sector. With our industry partners; Seafood NZ, Deepwater Group, Paua (Abalone) and Rock Lobster Industry Councils, iwi (indigenous) and recreational fishing communities, we will revolutionise ocean data collection. The temperature profile data will be returned in near real time via the cell phone network (or satellite) and ingested into data assimilating ocean prediction models, leading to an open-access nationwide Ocean Analysis and Prediction System, delivered by the Meteorological Service. This disruptive technology approach is an exemplar for other marine nations with strong seafood sectors and under investment in the marine observing and modelling space. We show the benefit of partnering with end users to collect and return research quality datasets that are relevant for industry needs.

This project will provide a more complete picture of ocean temperatures, circulation and dynamics, and the relationships with fishery recruitment variability, aiding prediction. This project will underpin operational efficiencies, biosecurity protection, risk mitigation and economic growth for NZ’s seafood sector ensuring long-term sustainability.

*MetOcean Solutions, division of Meteorological Service of New Zealand

Mariana Horigome