Articles | Volume 21, issue 1
Ann. Geophys., 21, 3–20, 2003

Special issue: Mediterranean Forecasting System Pilot Project (MFSPP)

Ann. Geophys., 21, 3–20, 2003

  31 Jan 2003

31 Jan 2003

The Mediterranean ocean forecasting system: first phase of implementation (1998–2001)

N. Pinardi1, I. Allen2, E. Demirov3, P. De Mey4, G. Korres5, A. Lascaratos5, P.-Y. Le Traon6, C. Maillard7, G. Manzella8, and C. Tziavos9 N. Pinardi et al.
  • 1Bologna University, Corso di Scienze Ambientali, Ravenna, Italy
  • 2Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, UK
  • 3Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
  • 4LEGOS, Toulouse, France
  • 5Laboratory of Meteorology, Department of Applied Physics, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • 6Oceanography Department, CLS Space Oceanography Division, Ramonville Saint-Agne, France
  • 7IFREMER, Center de Brest, Plouzan, France
  • 8Centro Ricerche Ambiente Marino ENEA, La Spezia, Italy
  • 9National Center for Marine Research, Athens, Greece

Abstract. The Mediterranean Forecasting system Pilot Project has concluded its activities in 2001, achieving the following goals:

1. Realization of the first high-frequency (twice a month) Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) system for the Mediterranean Sea with XBT profiles for the upper thermocline (0–700 m) and 12 n.m. along track nominal resolution;

2. Realization of the first Mediterranean Multidisciplinary Moored Array (M3A) system for the Near-Real-Time (NRT) acquisition of physical and biochemical observations. The actual observations consists of: air-sea interaction parameters, upper thermocline (0–500 m) temperature, salinity, oxygen and currents, euphotic zone (0–100 m) chlorophyll, nutrients, Photosinthetically Available Radiation (PAR) and turbidity;

3. Analysis and NRT dissemination of high quality along track Sea Level Anomaly (SLA), Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data from satellite sensors to be assimilated into the forecasting model;

4. Assembly and implementation of a multivariate Reduced Order Optimal Interpolation scheme (ROOI) for assimilation in NRT of all available data, in particular, SLA and VOS-XBT profiles;

5. Demonstration of the practical feasibility of NRT ten day forecasts at the Mediterranean basin scale with resolution of 0.125° in latitude and longitude. The analysis or nowcast is done once a week;

6. Development and implementation of nested regional (5 km) and shelf (2–3 km) models to simulate the seasonal variability. Four regional and nine shelf models were implemented successfully, nested within the forecasting model. The implementation exercise was carried out in different region/shelf dynamical regimes and it was demonstrated that one-way nesting is practical and accurate;

7. Validation and calibration of a complex ecosystem model in data reach shelf areas, to prepare for forecasting in a future phase. The same ecosystem model is capable of reproducing the major features of the primary producers’ carbon cycle in different regions and shelf areas. The model simulations were compared with the multidisciplinary M3A buoy observations and assimilation techniques were developed for the biochemical data.

This paper overviews the methodological aspects of the research done, from the NRT observing system to the forecasting/modelling components and to the extensive validation/calibration experiments carried out with regional/shelf and ecosystem models.

Key words. Oceanography: general (ocean prediction; instruments and techniques) Oceanography: physical (currents)