Deep Ocean Modelling - NCOF - The National Centre for Ocean Forecasting


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Deep Ocean Modellingfoam image

Click here for the sample daily updated North Atlantic FOAM Forecast

Deep ocean modelling is performed using the Forecast Ocean Assimilation Model (FOAM). FOAM is an operational ocean forecasting system run daily at the Met Office which provides daily analyses and 7-day forecasts of 3-dimensional ocean currents, temperature and salinity as well as sea ice concentration, thickness and velocity. A global configuration of FOAM has run daily at the Met Office since October 1997.

The FOAM system uses the Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean (NEMO) model as its hydrodynamical core coupled to the Los Alamos sea ice model (CICE). NEMO is a pan-European community ocean modelling framework owned and maintained by a consortium of institutes including the Met Office. NEMO has a large user community and is used at a number of research and operational forecasting centres. The model is forced at the ocean surface using heat, moisture and winds form the Met Office Unified Model Global numerical weather prediction (NWP) system.

A key feature of FOAM is the assimilation of observational data into physically-based ocean and sea-ice models to ensure an accurate representation of the current ocean state.
Observations from the previous 2 days are assimilated including:

  • in-situ profiles of temperature and salinity including data from Argo profiling floats, the TAO/TRITON, PIRATA and RAMA moored arrays as well as XBTs, CTDs and data from marine mammals
  • sea-surface height data from satellite altimeters
  • satellite and in-situ measurements of sea-surface temperature including ships and buoys
  • satellite sea ice-concentration observations from the OSI-SAF SSMIS gridded data


(Click for example model grid field)
latitude x longitude degrees
vertical levels
Global 1/4 x 1/4, Tripolar, curvilinear grid ("ORCA025"), 75 vertical levels
North Atlantic 1/12 x 1/12 (9 km), Rotated grid, approx 20N - 80N, 90W - 20E, 50 vertical levels
Mediterranean 1/12 x 1/12 (9 km), Standard grid, 30N - 47.5N, 05.5W - 42E, 50 vertical levels
Indian Ocean 1/12 x 1/12 (9 km), Standard grid, 25S - 31N, 33E - 106E, 50 vertical levels

At higher resolutions, the models are able to resolve dynamic features like ocean eddies, fronts and jets.

Further details of model description and validation are presented in the following pages:


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For further information or to give some feedback on these pages, please use the NCOF site Enquiry Form.


(Last Updated: 26-11-2014)