NOAA 2003-R403
Contact: Glenda Tyson
NOAA News Releases 2003
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System Will Aid Navigation and Hazardous Material Spill Response in Harbor

Mariners calling on the Port of New York/New Jersey will now have a new tool to assist them in navigating safely through the harbor. The Port of New York/New Jersey Operational Forecast System (NYOFS), created by the NOAA National Ocean and Coastal Services' (NOAA Oceans and Coasts) Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), provides mariners, port managers and spill response teams with present and future water levels and current conditions. NOAA Oceans and Coasts is an agency of the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NYOFS nowcast (for present conditions) and forecast (for future conditions) products are generated by a three dimensional hydrodynamic model that uses information including real-time water-level and wind data, to predict water levels and currents at thousands of locations throughout the Port of New York/New Jersey. The NYOFS suite of products include data plots, and animations of water levels and currents. NYOFS nowcast and forecast products will assist port managers and shippers in making decisions regarding maximum tonnage (based on bottom clearances) and limiting passage times, without compromising safety.

The system is run in both nowcast and forecast modes. The nowcast/forecast model was developed by NOAA's Coast Survey Development Laboratory (CSDL). The nowcast mode performs hourly updates and is driven by real-time water levels and winds from the New York/New Jersey Harbor Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®). The forecast model performs 30 hour forecasts, four times a day. Primary inputs for this mode include initialization from the nowcast model, tidal harmonics and forecast guidance of subtidal water levels and winds obtained from operational NOAA National Weather Service numerical models.

In addition to the NYOFS, NOAA Oceans and Coasts also developed and maintains the Chesapeake Bay Operational Forecast System (CBOFS). Another system is also under development for Galveston Bay and the Port of Houston.

CO-OPS collects, analyzes and distributes historical and real-time observations and predictions of water levels, coastal currents and other meteorological and oceanographic data. The Center manages the National Water Level Program, the national network of PORTS® in major U.S. harbors, and the National Current Program.

NOAA National Ocean and Coastal Services, which includes CO-OPS, balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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