For decades, mariners in the United States have depended on NOAA's Tide Tables for the best estimate of expected water levels. These tables provide accurate predictions of the astronomical tide (i.e., the change in water level due to the gravitational effects of the moon and sun and the rotation of the Earth); however, they cannot predict water-level changes due to wind, atmospheric pressure, and river flow, which are often significant.
A Northern Gulf of Mexico Operational Forecast System (NGOFS) has been developed to serve the maritime user community. NGOFS was developed in a joint project of the NOAA/National Ocean Service (NOS)/Office of Coast Survey, the NOAA/NOS/Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), the NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS)/National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Central Operations (NCO) and the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth using the Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model (FVCOM). NGOFS generates water level, current, temperature and salinity nowcast and forecast guidance four times per day. Aerial animations of the whole northern Gulf of Mexico as well as time series at particular stations or points of interest are available for 93 locations for the five parameters (water level, currents, temperature, and/or salinity).
NGOFS runs on NOAA's High Performance Computers (HPC) in a new Coastal Ocean Modeling Framework (COMF) developed by CO-OPS. As a result, NGOFS has direct access to National Weather Service operational meteorological products that it needs to run reliably.
NGOFS is based on a three-dimensional, high resolution model, and with the added reliability of running at NOAA's HPC, NGOFS will assist U.S. port authorities and mariners in efficiently navigating the northern Gulf of Mexico without compromising safety.
For more detailed information about NGOFS, please click here.
For more information about FVCOM, please click here.
The Northern Gulf of Mexico Operational Forecast System (NGOFS) has been implemented by NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS) to provide the maritime user community with short-term predictions of water levels, water currents, water temperatures and salinity of the northern Gulf of Mexico. NGOFS uses a numerical hydrodynamic model to generate the nowcast and forecast information; therefore, they should be considered as model-generated nowcast and forecast guidance . For more detailed information related to the OFS disclaimer, please visit at the Disclaimers web page.
During extreme weather conditions, water level forecast guidance data are released for public utility and should be used with appropriate caution.