Working Group Coastal Modelling
Coastal Ocean Modelling in Germany: 2015-2025 Agenda
Challenges and Perspectives for Coastal Ocean Modelling in Germany
Coastal Oceanography is concerned with marine systems and their underlying processes and changes, from the shelf edge region to the estuaries. In addition to basic research on understanding coastal ocean systems, requirements for making quantitative and application-oriented statements about coastal oceanographic changes in the marine environment have increased significantly in recent years. This also becomes evident in the “Altonaer Erklärung” (Altona Statement), in which a strategy for the coming decades of coastal research has been developed. The increasing requirements are, to a substantial degree, a result of the enormous advancements in methods and insights in coastal oceanography in recent decades. These advancements have raised broader expectations both in basic and applied research as well as from stakeholders (government bodies). The developments concern all fields of coastal oceanography, including observational physical oceanography, biogeochemistry, marine biology, coastal engineering as well as coastal and ocean modelling.
In terms of developing numerical modelling systems for coastal seas, comprehensive advancements and improvements in all fields have been observed: in the parameterisation of diverse processes, in the numerics of modelling, within the area of efficient programming, in model coupling, result analysis, etc. It is clear that coastal models are not simply global ocean models with higher local resolution, but special requirements must be set forth in parameterisations and numerics. Therefore, it is necessary to continue to apply and develop complex coupled ocean-atmosphere-ecosystem models also in coastal oceanography. Well-validated, multi-decadal model simulations of coastal oceans, such as the North Sea or the Baltic Sea and their coastal regions, have been possible for approximately fifteen years and are partially available. In recent years, coupled physical-biological multi-decadal model simulations have increasingly been carried out. In addition, model forecasting abilities continue to be improved with the help of data assimilation methods. These enormous advancements have, to a large extent, been made possible through the increased growth of available super computers.
Many working groups are actively involved in a variety of areas of numerical coastal ocean modelling (basic research, applied research, forecasts, impacts assessments, etc.) at research establishments in Germany, whereby a multiplicity of state-of-the-art and open source models are utilised as well as continuously developed. Integrative modelling systems are increasingly used, which are based on in-house developments or international co-operation.
Approximately forty coastal researchers from eleven institutions met for the first time in Bremen on May 15th, 2015, for a workshop at the national level to discuss the status of coastal ocean modelling and its perspectives for the future. The aim was to substantially increase coastal research capabilities through improved national cooperation in coastal modelling. The national character of this initiative results, for example, from the national challenges for users, including government bodies responsible for marine protection and for shipping or navigation routes. International integration, however, building on existing cooperation, continues to be of high priority for this initiative. During the workshop and subsequent discussions, an agreement was reached on the following guidelines, which are to be pursued as an expansion to, and consistent with, the Altonaer Erklärung for Coastal Research within the framework of the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM):
- Defining challenges for coastal modelling. With cooperation between developers, users and stakeholders, the most important challenges in coastal ocean modelling should be defined. Concepts should also be created regarding how these challenges can be addressed through new developments and improved participant coordination involving all parties. The most crucial working areas for coastal modelling in Germany were identified: state estimates (reconstruction of past conditions); effects of climate change on the coasts; forecasts; coastal hazards; utilisation effects on systems; marine spatial planning. These fields require a high degree of process knowledge, which can only be obtained through a combination of modelling and observationally supported research. This must be closely linked with the aforementioned fields.
- Encouraging cooperation between developers and users. Some working groups in Germany actively develop coastal models, some groups apply fully developed models, and other groups lack in-house modelling but are in urgent need of model results and model applications. The cooperation between these groups can and should be specifically improved as a substantial increase in scientific output is to be expected.
- Developing a national forum for coastal ocean modelling. Due to specific challenges, coastal ocean modelling requires an active national forum in which developers, users and stakeholders regularly exchange views and further develop coastal ocean modelling strategies. A working group for coastal ocean modelling was formed within KDM’s Coastal Research Strategy Group. The participating institutes as well as the most important research fields are represented in the group.
- Developing common infrastructure. Many groups working in coastal oceanography are too small to possess their own model development capabilities. The aim is therefore to develop internationally integrated national infrastructures for coastal modelling, which can be utilised by all coastal research groups. The following approaches for strengthening infrastructures within coastal ocean modelling were discussed: publicly supplying model data from individual modelling groups; planning model inter-comparison projects (MIPs); developing and providing numerical methods, modules and modular infrastructures; ensuring long-term availability of computer resources for coastal oceanography. The transparent exchange and discussion of current and planned modelling endeavours at the national level is a prerequisite for such work.
The national Coastal Ocean Modelling Working Group within the Coastal Research Strategy Group initially consists of the following representatives:
- AWI (Sergey Danilov, Karen Wiltshire)
- BAW (Frank Kösters)
- BSH (Frank Janssen)
- FZK (Stefan Schimmels)
- HZG (Corinna Schrum, Emil Stanev)
- ICBM (Jörg-Olaf Wolff)
- IOW (Hans Burchard, Markus Meier)
- IfM-HH (Thomas Pohlmann)
- MARUM (Christian Winter)
- MPI-MET (Uwe Mikolajewicz)
- NLWKN (Andreas Wurpts)
- TU-HH (Peter Fröhle)