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SERVICES

THE NEW PORT OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY
OPERATIONAL FORECAST SYSTEM
BY

T

EUGENE WEI

he real-time Port of New
York and New Jersey
Operational Forecast
System (NYOFS) became
operational on 10 February
2003 at NOAA’s National
Ocean Service (NOS) in
Silver Spring, Maryland.
NYOFS generates hourly
nowcasts and hourly forecast
guidance out to 30 hours of
currents and water levels for
the Port region, including
Raritan Bay, Newark Bay,
and Upper Bay, the Kill Van
Kull, Arthur Kill, the lower
Hudson River, and the East
River.
NYOFS graphical products—including time series,
maps, and animations of water levels and currents,
nowcasts, and forecast guidance—are disseminated
through an NOS Web site Fig. 1. NYOFS nowcast/forecast guidance locations.
(http://co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/
NYOFS/nyofs.shtml). The
model predictions are displayed as a graph of the assurance and control of the NYOFS inputs, operawater-level height and current velocity at measure- tional procedures, and product dissemination.
Historically, mariners navigating in New York
ment stations and other locations throughout the bay
(Fig. 1). The system has been incorporated into NOS’s Harbor have used NOAA’s tide and tidal current
Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System tables for the best estimate of expected water levels
(PORTS®), which provides an operational monitor- and currents. However, these tables cannot predict
ing system (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) for quality changes due to wind, atmospheric pressure, and river
flow, which are often significant (Fig. 2). Furthermore, the tide water level and tidal current predicAFFILIATION: WEI —NOAA/National Ocean Service, Coast
tions are available at only a few locations. Although
Survey Development Laboratory, Silver Spring, Maryland
new technology, such as PORTS, at selected locations
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Eugene Wei, NOAA/National
maintained by NOS provides near-real-time inforOcean Service, Coast Survey Development Laboratory, 1315 East–
mation to the users, there is still need for more inWest Highway, N/CS13, Silver Spring, MD 20832
E-mail: eugene.wei@noaa.gov
formation for assuring navigation safety. These inDOI: 10.1175/BAMS-84-9-1184
clude 1) near-real-time water level and current
©2003 American Meteorological Society
information at locations without gauges, 2) shortterm (1–2 days) water level and current forecast guid1184 |

SEPTEMBER 2003

and 2300 UTC). and 3) detailed information on currents in navi. There is oneway coupling from the coarse to the fine grid and the model is run in a three-dimensional barotropic mode. surface forcing is provided by surface wind forecast guidance from the NWS/NCEP Eta-12 mesoscale weather forecast model.OMC-International of Australia has developed a shipware for processing input and output data. 2. In addition.New Jersey. The postprocessing allows a graphical display of model output on the Internet as well as electronic dissemination to users. NY. NYOFS products have been used SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT. NYOFS is driven by subtidal water level forecast guidance from the NWS Extra-Tropical Storm Fig. 1100. NYOFS has an hourly nowcast cycle and 4 times day -1 forecast cycles (0500. NOS tidal harmonics. A high-resolution grid is embedded within and dynamically connected to a coarse grid to provide detailed current shears and eddies in the navigation channels of the Kill Van Kull leading into the Port of Elizabeth and Newark Bay. For the open boundary conditions. the NYOFS nowcasts ance. hydrody. The DUKC sysof three components: input data ingestion. NYOFS water-level nowcast and forecast guidance along with tidal Surge model along with the prediction and observation at the Bayonne Bridge. for U. 3) model data postprocessing. In the nowcast cycle.S.tem utilizes real-time observations and NYOFS waternamic model nowcast/forecast simulations. The hydrodynamic is based on the three-dimensional Princeton Ocean Model with a nested-grid configuration.serve as the initial conditions for each forecast cycle. The NYOFS forecast guidance is available at approxiCoast Guard “right of way” decision making and ship mately 40 minutes past the top of the hour. such as the Kill Van Kull. and level forecasts in the harbor (such as shown in Fig. APPLICATIONS. NYOFS water-level forecast guidance. the model is driven by real-time water levels and surface wind velocities from NOS observing stations in the Port of New York and Fig. In the forecast cycle. gational channels. hydrodynamic model component and a suite of soft. AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY SEPTEMBER 2003 | 1185 . The spatial resolutions of the coarse and fine grids are approximately 350–1000 and 120–250 m. 1700. The nowcasts are available at approximately 15 minutes past the top of the hour. including based Dynamic Underkeel Clearance (DUKC®) System graphic applications. maneuvering. respectively. The system operation consists for the Port of New York/New Jersey. NYOFS includes a in several applications for safe navigation in the harbor. Each element is controlled by automated scripts under a Unix environment. The model system has been extensively calibrated with observations and has gone through a validation process to pass specific NOS criteria. 3.

Proc. 4. a cross-chanThat office has utilized NYOFS three-dimensional ve. ing for their oil spill trajectory prediction model.nos. Therefore. This is possible with the near-real-time observations from the NOS PORTS system as input. One of NYOFS’s objectives is to provide accurate water-level and current information to mariners in a timely manner. With NYOFS forecast guidance. Therefore. E.. the recovery procedure implemented in NYOFS assures the continuation of system operation and the product quality. the system requires an automatic recovery mechanism in case of system failure. The hourly nowcast is particularly critical to the system operation.. water levels and winds at Sandy Hook. 1998: Development of a New York/New Jersey Harbor Water Level and current Nowcast/Forecast System. To date we have received requests for used by NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration additional forecast guidance products for water level for improved response to hazardous materials release. without compromising safety. on Coastal Atmospheric and Oceanic Prediction and Processes.] . The quality control of input data (e. The system is designed for automatic operation with minimum manual attention.detailed current patterns near Hell’s Gate at the intersection of the Harlem and East Rivers. NYOFS will be undergoing modifications by adding more forecast products based on user (e. Occasionally. at the Goethals Bridge in New Jersey. Example of NYOFS near-surface current forecast guidance.noaa.nel current velocity section in the Kill Van Kull. this system allows shippers to make sound decisions regarding maximizing tonnage and limiting passage times. NY) is essential to the accuracy of model system nowcasts and forecasts. the water-level primary acoustic gauge is frozen in the winter.g. Sandy Hook Fig. Pilots Association) feedback for navigaThe three-dimensional circulation field has been tion purposes.gov/ NYOFS/nyofs.g. such as model instability due to erroneous input data or unexpected power interruption. [More information available online at http://co-ops. Second Conf.erators becomes critical to ensure input data continuity and NYOFS product quality.. a prompt switch to the backup water-level pressure gauge by NOS op- 1186 | SEPTEMBER 2003 FOR FURTHER READING Wei. 4) as the advection forc. to determine the minimum safe underkeel clearance along the complete transit from berth to the harbor entrance. EXPERIENCE.shtml. and locity fields (shown in Fig.