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3D monitoring and forecasting ocean modelling data

Among all the ocean data, 3D ocean model data are the one which take into account all the measured ocean data (from in situ and remote sensing measurements), allowing the complete 3D description of the physical parameters and their evolution in time including forecast.

3D ocean modelling allows computation of the main physical parameters which characterize the physical ocean : current, temperature, salinity, and many others which are less known by the end-user such as the mixed layer depth (the surface layer brewed by the ocean wind, along which temperature remains constant), vertical diffusivity coefficient or sea surface height.

Exemple of a simulation in the Gulf of Mexico: evolution of the sea surface height from June 2004 to October 2004


The heart of an ocean forecasting system is a mathematical model describing the ocean in three dimensions (horizontally and vertically) as well as its evolution over time (temporal dimension or fourth dimension).

A model is a mathematical description of physical phenomena. For the ocean, as for the atmosphere, the mathematical model describes the movement of fluids (water, air) on the surface of the Earth, as well as transporting of heat (temperature) and matter (salt) associated with the fluid movements. This results in equations which describe the current, the temperature and the salinity at any place in the modelled zone and as a function of time.