Advances and challenges in simulating the Great Barrier Reef environment with a fine-resolution near-real-time modelling system

Dr Nugzar Margvelashvili1, Dr John  Andrewartha1, Dr Mark Baird1, Dr Mike  Herzfeld1, Dr Jonathan  Hodge2, Dr Emlyn  Jones1, Dr Mathieu  Mongin1, Dr Farhan  Rizwi1, Dr Barbara   Robson3,4, Dr Jenny  Skerratt1, Dr Karen  Wild-Allen1, Dr Monika  Wozniak1

1CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Australia,

2CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Brisbane, Australia,

3CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra, Australia,

4Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Australia


This talk summarises recent advances and challenges in developing and maintaining a 3D fine resolution modelling system simulating water quality in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region. This modelling system was developed through the multi-year multi-institutional eReefs project and simulates hydrodynamics, sediment transport, cycling of nutrients and optical properties of water masses on the shelf in the near-real-time regime. Environmental processes on the GBR shelf are characterised by an extremely wide range of spatial and temporal scales. To traverse these scales, a capability has been developed for nesting a high resolution RElocatable Coastal Ocean Model (RECOM) within a large-scale regional model via a web interface.

A number of strategies have been used to constrain this modelling system with observations, including an emulator-assisted calibration of sediment model parameters and ensemble-based assimilation of remotes sensing and ground measurements into a complex biogeochemical model. The quality of the calibrated models varies across both space and time. The model generates large volumes of gridded data representing more than 100 prognostic and diagnostic state variables daily (and hourly) over the 3D grid with 47 layers in vertical, and 180 x 600 grid cell in horizontal directions. Processing and analysing such volumes of data is a challenge, particularly for practitioners with a limited IT background. Current practices facilitating uptake of knowledge from such data will be outlined and future strategies will be discussed.


Nugzar Margvelashvili is a coastal sediment transport modeller, currently with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Division, Hobart.


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