Ocean forecasting

05.10.07 -

NCSA's Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) collaborated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech to visualize Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) simulation data. The simulation data visualized here were generated as part of the Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network II program (AOSN II). Fleets of robotic vehicles are enabling the observation and prediction of ocean processes by providing an adaptive observation system for the ocean interior. In 2003, during the AOSN II field experiment, the first large-scale deployment of vehicles was used to predict the evolution of episodic wind-driven upwelling in the environs of Monterey Bay. Twelve different institutions contributed to the effort, which was led by MBARI. The observing system included a communication framework that allowed observations to be transmitted to two real-time oceanographic models. The resulting system provided the oceanic equivalent of atmospheric weather prediction, with all the advantages that prediction entails. The models generated nowcasts and forecasts of ocean conditions. A key to the effort was 'adaptive sampling,' the development of control strategies to command the mobile vehicles to places where their data would be most useful. The image shown here is a visualization of ocean currents and temperature as realized by the ROMS ocean model, run by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory under the direction of Yi Chao.

The AVL team worked with James Bellingham, MBARI chief technologist, to develop novel 3D visualization techniques for the ROMS data. "Computer visualization empowers us with the ability to explore the ocean's inner workings," says Bellingham.

The AVL team advected particles to create three-dimensional flow trajectories colored by temperature scalar values. The temporal length of each trajectory represents a 24-hour period. Isosurfaces were extracted to identify water regions that are colder or warmer than normal by two standard deviations from the depth adjusted mean. Elevation and satellite data from multiple sources were ortho-rectified to create a digital elevation model for the Monterey Bay region. The AVL team also created an animation of the simulation that covers a one-month time period.

NCSA's data visualization plugin for Maya/Mental Ray was used to read the trajectory and isosurface data and to set mappings between simulation data and rendering parameters. This visualization research was funded in part by the Laboratory for the Ocean Observatory Knowledge INtegration Grid (LOOKING) National Science Foundation grant and by the Technology Research, Education, and Commercialization Center (TRECC), a program of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and administered by NCSA.

JPL ROMS research is funded by NASA and ONR.
AOSN was funded by ONR.

Team members
Scientific simulation
Yi Chao

Alex Betts
Donna Cox
Matt Hall
Lorne Leonard
Stuart Levy
Robert Patterson