Past Awards

FY 2022 | 1 – Understand | 22-10-08

Cook Inlet Circulations Modeling

Rob Bochenek, Axiom
Contract Term: 07/01/22 - 09/30/23
Award: $100,000

The goal of the Cook Inlet Circulation Modeling project is to develop the resources and tools
needed to calculate oil spill trajectories by creating a minimum of a 10-year hindcast model
using the NOAA Cook Inlet Operational Forecast System (CIOFS) model and comparing the
results with other model and field data. CIOFS runs on NOAA's high performance computing
systems in standard modeling frameworks developed by the National Ocean Service Center for
Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. The operational system generates nowcasts
and 48-hour forecasts 4 times per day and generally captures the highly-variable bathymetry and
tides of Cook Inlet making it potentially well-suited for coastal planning and resource
management applications. However, the model currently uses limited freshwater forcing and its
accuracy is unclear for subtidal currents, temperature, and salinity patterns, all of which are
important for ecological applications and oil spill response.
To address these gaps, the Cook Inlet Circulation Model project will: i) generate and make
available a 10-year, 3-dimensional oceanographic hindcast product for the period of 1999-2008
using the CIOFS model and make it publicly-available through the Alaska Ocean Observing
System (AOOS) data system, ii) assess CIOFS skill by comparing it to the Northwest Gulf of
Alaska Three-Dimensional Ocean Circulation Numerical Model (Danielson et al., 2016), and iii)
validate the CIOFS hindcasts using physical measurements to assess the accuracy of model
Axiom Data Science ("Axiom") is an Alaska-based informatics company that supports the goals
of its partners with capabilities and tools for metocean data management and analysis, software
engineering, and cyberinfrastructure. Axiom has developed a successful strategy, informed by
over a decade of experience providing data management and software services to coastal and
ocean research and monitoring efforts, that could be leveraged in support of OSRI’s project
goals. This cyberinfrastructure was developed to meet the guidelines and specifications
recommended by the NOAA-funded U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and
endorsed by the federal Interagency Ocean Observation Committee and Global Earth
Observation Program. Axiom’s data system is currently used to manage, serve and process more
than 600 terabytes of metocean data from regional and national sources including data and model
results provided by BOEM, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the National
Ocean Data Center, the National Science Foundation, NOAA, and the IOOS regional data
assembly centers including AOOS.
The Cook Inlet Circulation Modeling project will contribute to the OSRI’s main goals to
understand Arctic and sub-Arctic marine environments, inform oil spill prevention and response,
as well as enhance oil spill response efforts. Outputs from this effort will help drive future
development of particle trajectory tools for oil spill response planning, resource management,
and data visualizations to better meet the needs of marine pilots and industry in Cook Inlet. The
project will leverage CIOFS, existing agency collaborations and regional stakeholder networks
of AOOS, Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council, National Centers for Coastal Ocean
Science, BOEM, existing oceanographic datasets available through the Research Workspace, an
existing 10-year hindcast product from a University of Alaska Fairbanks Cook Inlet model, and
the data handling, processing, and visualization capabilities of the AOOS data system operated
by Axiom Data Science.

Link to the final report: