Past Awards

FY 2011 | 3 – Inform | 11/10/07

Sound Predictions Model Validation: Quantifying the effects of ocean observations and circulation models on oil spill trajectory forecast skill

Molly McCammon, AOOS
Contract Term: 07/01/11 - 06/30/12
Award: $24,800

Scope of Work:

This proposal will evaluate the utility of ocean observing system measurements and numerical simulation forecasts in improving the performance of models that forecast oil spill trajectories. The primary objective is to quantify the effect of ocean observations and circulation model forecasts on the performance of an oil spill trajectory forecast model in Alaska coastal waters. A secondary objective is to evaluate the ocean circulation model performance in accurately simulating surface water circulation as measured by high-frequency radar and drifting buoys, and the prediction of mixed layer depth. The strategy is to: (1) compare real ocean drifter trajectories to modeled trajectories of simulated oil spills without the benefit of ocean observing system measurements or wind and ocean circulation forecasts; (2) compare real ocean drifter trajectories to modeled trajectories of simulated oil spills with the benefit of ocean observing system measurements or wind and ocean circulation forecasts with and without data assimilation; and (3) quantify the effect of individual ocean observing system measurements and forecasts on oil spill trajectory forecasts. And (4) compare water column variables between measured and model-simulated and evaluate forecasts of mixed layer depth. These analyses will test the null hypothesis that the performance of an oil spill response model in predicting drifter buoy positions cannot be improved by measurements or weather, wave, and ocean circulation forecasts from the observing system in Prince William Sound.