New System Increase Safety Measures for NY/NJ Ports

Monday, February 10, 2003
Mariners calling on the Port of New York/New Jersey will now have a new tool to assist them navigate safely through the harbor. The Port of New York/New Jersey Operational Forecast System (NYOFS), created by the NOAA National Ocean Service's (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. NYFOS 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 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(r)). 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 NYFOS, NOAA Oceans and Coasts also developed and maintains the Chesapeake Bay Operations 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(r) in major U.S. harbors, and the National Current Program.

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