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The Next-Generation Coupled Atmosphere-Wave-Ocean-Ice-Land Models for Ocean Research and Prediction

Shuyi S. Chen*

VISION

Natural science in coming decades is likely to focus on better understanding and protecting the global environment and resources, which require a fully integrated multidisciplinary approach. Oceanography is and will continue to be a key component of the fully integrated global climate system.

In 2025, oceanography will no longer be viewed as “elite” toys, but rather a “utility” for public use. Decision making that matters to public and government operations will be linked directly to ocean and marine weather forecasts from hours to weeks. It will have added value to asset allocation and risk assessment and management.

The ocean and atmosphere will be viewed as a fully coupled system. Coupling between the atmosphere and ocean through surface waves at the air-sea interface and coupling between the physical and biological/chemical processes in the ocean will be significantly advanced in terms of understanding and numerical modeling. The high-resolution, fully coupled model prediction of the ocean eddies, fronts, and sea state will be accurate enough for practical usage. The coupled global ocean-atmosphere models will be capable of climate prediction with reduced uncertainty.

*

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami



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The Next-Generation Coupled Atmosphere-Wave-Ocean- Ice-Land Models for Ocean Research and Prediction Shuyi S. Chen* vISION Natural science in coming decades is likely to focus on better under- standing and protecting the global environment and resources, which require a fully integrated multidisciplinary approach. Oceanography is and will continue to be a key component of the fully integrated global climate system. In 2025, oceanography will no longer be viewed as “elite” toys, but rather a “utility” for public use. Decision making that matters to public and government operations will be linked directly to ocean and marine weather forecasts from hours to weeks. It will have added value to asset allocation and risk assessment and management. The ocean and atmosphere will be viewed as a fully coupled system. Coupling between the atmosphere and ocean through surface waves at the air-sea interface and coupling between the physical and biologi- cal/chemical processes in the ocean will be significantly advanced in terms of understanding and numerical modeling. The high-resolution, fully coupled model prediction of the ocean eddies, fronts, and sea state will be accurate enough for practical usage. The coupled global ocean- atmosphere models will be capable of climate prediction with reduced uncertainty. * Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami 2

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2 SHUYI S. CHEN CHALLENGES AHEAD • Innovative and untraditional approaches will meet resistance and need time to mature. • Basic understanding of physical processes at the air-sea interface, especially the role of surface waves in the air-sea fluxes, may be limited by the lack of observations, especially in extreme condi- tions such as winter storms and tropical cyclones. • Computer models will continue to advance with increased grid resolution (~1 km or less) and better model physics. However, observations of high spatial and temporal resolution will not be possible in the foreseeable future. The gap between the computer models and observations will be a major challenge for evaluating and validating coupled model predictions. • Assessing and understanding uncertainties in the ocean predic- tion will be a challenge for both research and educating general public and stakeholders. A WAY FORWARD Educating and training of the new generation of scientists to have not only a solid physics/mathematics background but also a broad knowl- edge of the ocean-atmosphere system that is different from the traditional oceanography or atmospheric science. We need innovative colloquium development and new educational programs/systems to foster the new ways of thinking. Rapid development in computational science and computing power will continue in the next 10-20 years. We need to take advantage of the new technology to produce the most advanced ocean prediction and data assimilation system that is capable of providing the level of detailed description of the ocean, which can help us to understand the system in a way we may not even be able to imagine at present time. We need to develop a system to ensure a smooth and seamless trans- fer of knowledge and technology from research to operations in a timely manner. This may require a major culture change in both the current research and operational communities. It takes leadership and resources to encourage and support such activities.