Ocean ecosystems, biogeochemistry, sediments, acoustics and optics are all developed, maintained and evaluated as part of the Met Office operational oceanographic modelling capability.
Our objectives are to develop, implement, validate, maintain and improve the Met Office's short range marine ecosystem and sediment modelling systems at global and regional scales, including coastal shallow waters. Key activities in this area include the development, implementation, validation, maintenance and improvement of the modelling systems, comprising an in-house sediment model as well as open ocean (HadOCC) and shelf seas (ERSEM) ecosystem models.
The research involves applying carbon-cycle and biogeochemical models, fully coupled to physical models, for both the open ocean and north-west European shelf waters. For the shelf-seas around the UK we apply the MRCS hydrodynamic model configuration, coupled to ERSEM. MRCS is based on the POLCOMS model developed at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, while ERSEM is a complex ecosystem model under development at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
Incorporated into the shelf seas model is a 3-dimensional on-line coupled sediment model which has been developed at the Met Office. The sediment model provides analyses and forecasts of 2 differently sized sediment populations around the UK shelf sea region. The sediment transport mechanisms included in the model are: sea bed erosion, vertical mixing, advection and diffusion, aggregation and disaggregation, settling and deposition. The model is driven by turbulence parameters from the coupled hydrodynamic model and provides in-water light attenuation information to the ecosystem model.
Open ocean ecosystem forecasts are currently pre-operational, but will soon be included in the operational deep ocean modelling systems through coupling the HadOCC model with NEMO. Data assimilation techniques have been recently developed to assimilate ocean colour into the coupled NEMO-HadOCC model so as to improve the spatial and temporal distribution of biological activity by the model. The coupled model has been successfully used in the ESA GlobColour project where we assimilated level 2 products from individual sensors (MERIS and MODIS) as well as level 3 GlobColour merged products, with their associated error characteristics.