Where Modeling Meets Observations: Improving the Great Lakes Operational Forecast System

Jeffrey Cuebas

Bettering the Good Lakes Operational Forecast Process by developing a knowledge assimilation
and product adjustment loop.

Nevertheless the Good Lakes are referred to as lakes, mainly because of their sheer dimensions they are certainly
inland seas. They have an affect on regional climate patterns, provide drinking h2o to hundreds of thousands
of men and women and drive the economies of many states.

Forecasting the h2o concentrations, temperatures and currents of the lakes is very crucial
mainly because of the myriad means lake conditions have an affect on commerce, recreation and community
nicely-being. These forecasts comprise the Good Lakes Operational Forecast Process (GLOFS), an automatic product-centered prediction process operated by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“The process details allows decision makers to make knowledgeable selections and the
forecast items have been applied by a extensive assortment of end users on a normal basis,” explained
Philip Chu, supervisory physical scientist of the built-in physical and ecological
modeling and forecasting department of NOAA’s Good Lakes Environmental Study Laboratory (GLERL).

“Water concentrations are applied by energy authorities wave and currents conditions are applied
by the U.S. Coastline Guard for lookup and rescue missions and temperature profiles have
been applied by recreational boaters and fishermen,” he explained. “The details has also
been applied to predict hazardous algal blooms as nicely as hypoxia (very low dissolved oxygen)
conditions in the Good Lakes.” 

About the Researcher 


Although NOAA operates its possess modeling group to keep the process, the agency also
will work with university scientists to constantly make improvements to GLOFS. At Michigan Technological
University, Pengfei Xue, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Numerical Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at the Good Lakes Study Center, is aiding NOAA by incorporating a knowledge assimilation ingredient.

Xue famous that a typical operational forecast process should contain 3 components:
modeling, an observation community and knowledge analysis.

“The Good Lakes location has somewhat dense and prolonged-phrase observational knowledge, but
how do we use the knowledge to make improvements to forecasting?” Xue posed. “These knowledge have been applied
for product initialization and verification, but there can be a considerably more powerful linkage
concerning in-the-industry observations and numerical modeling. Mixing observational knowledge
into the product can make improvements to quick-phrase forecasting. This method, referred to as knowledge assimilation,
is a person of the most helpful strategies for statistically combining observational
knowledge and product dynamics to provide the finest estimate of the Good Lakes process condition.”

What is Knowledge Assimilation?

To demonstrate knowledge assimilation, Xue gave the illustration of having the temperature of a
lake. A computer product could predict the temperature at a internet site in the lake is 68 degrees
Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). But a physical measurement at the internet site exhibits the
temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.one degrees Celsius).

“All products incorporate some uncertainties and the observation also has sounds, which can
be substantial or small in fieldwork, depending on distinct circumstances,” Xue explained. “Which should
you consider? Your finest guess is one thing in concerning. When we quantify the product and
the observation uncertainties by assessing their historical performances, we can quantitatively
blend the observational knowledge and the numerical product effects with distinct weights
and give a extra exact estimate.”

Computer system modeling is considerably extra difficult than this illustration, Xue famous. A person important advantage
of a product, particularly in a substantial and complicated atmosphere like the Good Lakes, is
that it can generate ongoing fields in 3D room, predicting — at any time and any
put — temperature, h2o concentrations, and currents. On the other hand, in situ observations
provide “ground fact,” but they are typically minimal in time and room.

“Quantifying the product and observation uncertainties is at the heart of knowledge assimilation
approaches,” Xue described. “The beauty of knowledge assimilation is to use the details
of the misfits concerning the product effects and observations, which are only recognised at
minimal observation spots, to proper product bias in a 3D room over and above the observation
spots. That’s why, it improves product accuracy for the full simulation fields.”

Additional than a Model

An additional limit of in-the-industry observations is the sheer price tag of performing them. Observational
knowledge is inherently extra exact than a product on your own, and floor truthing the output
of a product is necessary. By feeding observational knowledge into a product, then working with the
product to predict greater spots for future in situ knowledge collection, Xue’s operate allows
the GLOFS modeling make improvements to, and allows researchers select research sites successfully.

Grants and Funding 

Funding for this project was furnished by the Good Lakes Restoration Initiative, through
the University of Michigan Cooperative Institute for Good Lakes Study (CIGLR)
cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NA17OAR4320152).

“The Good Lakes have wide floor space and great depth. Typically, in which men and women select
to sample is centered on pro empirical experience and their research passions,” Xue
explained. “In situ observations, particularly subsurface measurements, continue to be minimal
due to the large costs of setting up and preserving observing networks. Using knowledge assimilation
to guideline the style and design of knowledge sampling location and frequency and optimize an observational
community is a person of the important research topics of an built-in observing and forecasting

Xue’s preliminary effects display knowledge assimilation is able to cut down sampling efforts
and improves forecasting accuracy by optimizing sampling spots.

“Professor Xue’s contribution aligns beautifully with NOAA and GLERL’s quick-phrase aim
and prolonged-phrase mission on setting up an built-in environmental modeling process and
a climate-prepared country, healthful oceans and coasts,” Chu explained. “His research contribution
and collaboration with NOAA researchers advance our overall being familiar with of the difficult
dynamic process in the Good Lakes as nicely as accelerate NOAA’s tempo to produce, make improvements to
and transition the following-era Good Lakes Operational Forecasting Process to functions.”

Xue’s operate utilizes the Superior, a large-overall performance computing infrastructure at Michigan Tech, to develop large-fidelity
products. Model effects are being applied to develop a prolonged-phrase, knowledge assimilative temperature
database for Lake Erie for use by source professionals and scientists in the Good Lakes
community. The Lake Erie simulation is a proof of thought prior to GLOFS being solely
refitted working with knowledge assimilation. Xue’s project will also apply equipment studying to
more boost product overall performance and adaptive in situ sampling, with the aim to
lengthen the process to all 5 Good Lakes.

“We want to display the opportunity of this solution. Lake Erie has professional
sizeable environmental challenges for a long time and has been studied extra comprehensively,
and men and women know greater the modeling deficiencies,” Xue explained. “The thermal framework
and circulation of Lake Erie drastically effects hazardous algal blooms and hypoxia situations.
Our strategy is to little by little expand and develop a fully operational forecast process with
knowledge assimilation capabilities to make improvements to quick-phrase forecasting accuracy and refine
the observing operate.”

Xue has gained new funding to expand the project, entitled, “The Cooperative Institute
for Good Lakes Study (CIGLR): Lengthy-Phrase Knowledge Assimilative, Temperature and Currents
Databases for the Good Lakes (Yr two: Lake Michigan).”

Michigan Technological University is a community research university, house to extra than
seven,000 college students from fifty four nations. Established in 1885, the University features extra than
120 undergraduate and graduate diploma packages in science and technology, engineering,
forestry, enterprise and economics, well being professions, humanities, mathematics, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Higher Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a couple miles from Lake Superior.

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