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Building a Network of Fixed Coastal Observing and Forecast Systems

  • Headshot

    Dr. Susan Allen University of British Columbia

  • Headshot

    Jinyu Sheng Dalhousie University

Building the basis for an integrated observation and prediction system for Halifax Harbour, NS and the southern Strait of Georgia, BC.

The important achievements of this project include:

  1. development of an operational data-assimilative coastal ocean now-cast and short-term forecast system for predicting physical marine conditions in Halifax Harbour and approaches 
  2. constructions of a webpage for browsing and downloading forecast products
  3. better knowledge of wave-current interactions over the coastal waters of Nova Scotia

Areas with a high risk of oil spill incidents based on shipping traffic have been identified.  Using AIS data makes it possible to better simulate shipping traffic and identify hot spots for oil spill incidents. 

As part of this project, a NEMO model for the Salish Sea was configured and evaluated.  This model runs every day in nowcast and forecast mode, publishing storm surge forecasts to a web storm surge portal, and pushes any storm surge warnings to Port Metro Vancouver, producing a set of evaluation plots on the web and uploading the results to an ERDDAP server for downstream users across Canada and in Europe.

Conventional wave models tend to miss the peaks of rapidly developing severe storms, and to be biased high for stable atmosphere conditions and biased low for unstable conditions.  Having wave forecasts that are biased low for extreme wave events is a problem.  Accurate wave forecasts that can minimize errors need to have state-of-the-art physics, as well as linkages to the ‘coupled’ fields that drive the waves, the atmosphere and the ocean currents.  The MEOPAR Network has allowed significant progress on ‘coupled’ problems, such as wave-ice interactions, wave-current interactions and wave-atmosphere interactions.  Collaborators with partner research centres working to improve sea state forecast skill. 

The research work of this component has benefited significantly from the Network approach through strong collaborations with the research team for Initial Project 1.1, 1.16 and the team from the Observation Core.

Three annual West Coast stakeholder workshops were convened as part of this project, involving several MEOPAR projects and participation from private sector, NGO, and governmental stakeholders. 


  • CCG - Canadian Coast Guard
  • City of Richmond
  • Environment Canada
  • Halifax Port Authority
  • Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise
  • Lloyd’s Register (regional office)
  • Ocean Networks Canada
  • Port Metro Vancouver


  • Stephanie Chang University of British Columbia
  • Serge Desjardins
  • Dave Hebert
  • William Li Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Ronald Pelot MEOPAR
  • William Perrie Dalhousie University; Fisheries and Oceans Canada


  • Christopher Carter University of British Columbia
  • Mike Casey Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Alexandra Chadid Dalhousie University
  • Rebecca Chaster University of British Columbia
  • Wei Chen Dalhousie University
  • Tugce Conger University of British Columbia
  • Michael Dunphy University of British Columbia
  • Colin Hughes Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Tereza Jarnikova University of British Columbia
  • Jie Liu
  • Guoqiang Liu Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Charles Lu Dalhousie University
  • Michelle Marteleira University of British Columbia
  • Benjamin Moore-Maley University of British Columbia
  • Elise Olson University of British Columbia
  • Greg Oulahen University of British Columbia
  • Giorgio Sgarbi University of British Columbia
  • Shiliang Shan Dalhousie University
  • Nancy Soontiens Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Sarah Thomas
  • Yuan Wang Dalhousie University
  • Fred Woslyng Dalhousie University
  • Jackie Yip University of British Columbia


  • Brickman,David,Chasse,Joel,Guo,Lanli ,Long,Zhenxia,Perrie,William,. 2015, Impacts of Climate Change in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Atmosphere-Ocean, DOI: 10.1080/07055900.2015.1029869.
  • Ohashi ,Kyoko,Sheng,Jinyu,. 2015, Investigating the effect of oceanographic conditions and swimming behaviours on the movement of particles in the Gulf of St. Lawrence using an individual-based numerical model, Atmosphere-Ocean, 10.1080/07055900.2015.1090390.
  • Liu,Guoqiang,Perrie,William,He, Y.. 2014, Ocean Surface Stokes Drift from Scatterometer Observations, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 35-5,
  • Liu,Guoqiang,Perrie,William,. 2014, Sea-State-Dependent Wind Work on the Geostrophic Ocean Circulation, Geophys. Res. Lett.,
  • Perrie,William,Chen, Z., Zhang, B., He, Y., Qui, Z.,. 2014, A New Modulation Transfer Function for the Retrieval of Ocean Wave Spectra from X-band Marine Radar Imagery, Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology,
  • Sheng,Jinyu,Wu, Y., D. Senciall, and C. Tang, . 2016, A comparative study of satellite-based operational analyses and ship-based in-situ measurements of sea surface temperatures over the eastern Canadian shelf, Satellite Oceanography and Meteorology, 1, 29-38,10.18063/SOM.2016.01.003..
  • Ohashi ,Kyoko,Shan,Shiliang,Sheng,Jinyu,. 2016, Assessing the performance of a multi-nested ocean circulation model using satellite remote sensng and in-situ observations, Satellite Oceanography and Meteorology,
  • Perrie,William,. 2016, Electromagnetic backscattering from the drifting fractal sea surface. Part 1: Wave-current coupled model, China Physics B,
  • Howell,Stephen,Perrie,William,Shen, H., Y. He,. 2016, Evaluation of Hurricane Wind Speed Retrieval from Cross Dual-pol SAR. , Int. J. Remote Sensing, 37:3, 599-614,10.1080/01431161.2015.1134845.
  • Shan,Shiliang,Sheng,Jinyu,Thompson,Keith,Béguer-Pon, M., M. Castonguay, and J. J. Dodson. 2016, Exploring the role of the physical marine environment on the silver eel migration using a biophysical particle-tracking model, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 10.1093/icesjms/fsv169.
  • Perrie,William,. 2015, High-precision simulation study of Hurricane Juan-Generated Waves in Coastal Shallow Water, International Journal of Offshore and Polar Engineering , Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 1–7,http://dx.doi.org/10.17736.
  • Sheng,Jinyu,Dever, M., D. Hebert, B.J.W. Greenan, and P.C. Smith. 2016, Hydrography and coastal circulation along the Halifax Line and the connections with the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Atmosphere-Ocean, 54, 199-217,10.1080/07055900.2016.1190132..
  • Hughes,Colin,Perrie,William,Liu, G.. 2017, Impacts of Ocean Surface Waves on Wind Power Input to the Mixed Layer Near-Inertial Motions, J.  Phys. Ocean,
  • Guo,Lanli ,Sheng,Jinyu,. 2017, Impacts of climate changes on ocean surface gravity waves over the eastern Canadian shelf., Ocean Dynamics,
  • Ohashi ,Kyoko,Sheng,Jinyu,. 2015, Impacts of interannual ocean circulation variability on Japanese eel larval migration in the western North Pacific Ocean, PLOS ONE, 10(12), e0144423,10.1371/journal.pone.0144423.
  • Sheng,Jinyu,D. Lefairvre. 2016, Introduction to the special issue on dynamics of the Gulf of St. Lawrence system and its influence on the ecosystem: past, present and future, Atmosphere-Ocean, 54, 193-198,10.1080/07055900.2016.1189397..
  • Allen,Susan,Ianson,Debby,Moore-Maley,Benjamin ,. 2016, Locally driven interannual variability of near-surface pH and Omega_A in the Strait of Georgia, Geophysical Research, 10.1002/2015JC011118.
  • Allen,Susan,Ianson,Debby,Moore-Maley,Benjamin ,. 2016, Locally driven interannual variability of near-surface pH and in the Strait of Georgia, Journal of Geophysical Research, 121: 1600-1625,10.1002/2015JC011118.
  • Perrie,William,Toulany, B., Roland, A., et al.. 2015, Modeling North Atlantic Nor-easters with Modern Wave Forecast Models, Weather and Forecasting,
  • Shan,Shiliang,Sheng,Jinyu,Greenan, B.. 2014, Modeling Study of Three-dimensional Circulation and Particle Movement over the Sable Gully of Nova Scotia, Ocean Dynamics, 64,
  • Ohashi ,Kyoko,Sheng,Jinyu,. 2016, Modeling the migration of the American eel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Marine Ecology Progress Series,
  • Perrie,William,. 2015, Modelling seabed shear stress, sediment mobility, and sediment transport in the Bay of Fundy, Can. J. Earth Sci, dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2014-0211, dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2014-0211.
  • Perrie,William,. 2015, Ocean surface wave measurements from fully polarimetric SAR imagery, Science China: Earth Sciences, 10.1007/s11430-015-5078-6.
  • Ohashi ,Kyoko,Sheng,Jinyu,. 2016, Oceanic distribution, behaviour, and a winter aggregation area of adult Atlantic sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus, in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, PLOS ONE,
  • Shan,Shiliang,Sheng,Jinyu,Greenan, B.. 2014, Physical Processes Effecting Circulation and Hydrography in the Sable Gully of Nova Scotia, Deep-Sea Research, 104, 35-50,
  • Chasse,Joel,Guo,Lanli ,Long,Zhenxia,Perrie,William,. 2015, Projected Changes in Surface Air Temperature and Surface Wind in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Atmosphere-Ocean, 10.1080/07055900.2015.1086295.
  • Liu,Guoqiang,Perrie,William,V. Kudryavtsev, Y. He, H. Shen, B. Zhang, and H. Hu . 2016, Radar imaging of intense nonlinear Ekman divergence,  Geophys. Res. Lett, 43, 9810–9818,10.1002/2016GL070799.
  • Perrie,William,Wang,Lei ,. 2016, Rain effects on the hurricane observations over the ocean by C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 120,10.1002/2015JC011044.
  • Perrie,William,Shen H., Hu, S., He, Y. . 2014, Remote Sensing of Waves Propagating in the Marginal Ice Zone, Geophys. Res. Lett.,
  • Sheng,Jinyu,Chambers, C., G. Brassington, I. Simmonds, and K. Walsh.. 2016, Sea level pressure response to the specification of eddy-resolving sea surface temperature in simulations of Australian East Coast Lows. Satellite Oceanography and Meteorology, , 1, 2-18,10.18063/SOM.2016.01.001..
  • Sheng,Jinyu,Ni, X., and W. Feng,. 2016, Simulation of free surface flow using the smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) method with radiation open boundary conditions, Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 10.1175/JTECH-D-15-0179.1. .
  • Allen,Susan,LeSouef,Kate,Lu,Youyu,Paquin,Jean-Phillipe ,Soontiens,Nancy ,Thompson,Keith,. 2016, Storm surges in the Strait of Georgia simulated with a regional model, Atmosphere-Ocean , 54:1-21,10.1080/07055900.2015.1108899.
  • Sheng,Jinyu,. 2014, Study on Subtidal circulation and variability in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Scotian Shelf and Gulf of Maine using a nested-grid coupled ocean-ice model, Ocean Dynamic,
  • Perrie,William,. 2016, Synergistic Measurements of Ocean Winds and Waves from SAR, J. Geophys. Res,
  • Perrie,William,Zhang, G., Li, X.. 2017, Synthetic Aperture Radar Observations of Extreme Hurricane Wind and Rain, Springer Singapore, 30 pp,
  • Allen,Susan,LeSouef,Kate,Soontiens,Nancy ,. 2013, The Alish Sea MEOPAR Project, State of the Ocean, Pacific,
  • Guo,Lanli ,Long,Zhenxia,Perrie,William,Sheng,Jinyu,. 2015, The Impacts of Climate Change on the Autumn North Atlantic Wave Climate, ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN, 1–19,http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07055900.2015.1103697.
  • Sheng,Jinyu,Zhu, L.S., and X. Ji. 2016, Tidally-averaged water and salinity transport velocities over estuarine and coastal waters, with an application to the Pearl River Estuary., Ocean Dynamics, 10.1007/s10236-016-0975-6. .
  • Allen,Susan,Ianson,Debby,Moore-Maley,Benjamin ,S. Johannessen and R. Macdonald. 2016, Vulnerability of a semienclosed estuarine sea to ocean acidification in contrast with hypoxia, Geophysical Research Letters, 43: 5793-5801.,10.1002/2016GL068996.

Read more about Dr. Sheng's research in Halifax Harbour

Visit the Dalhousie Coastal Ocean Forecast System


Read more about the Salish Sea MEOPAR project

Visit the Storm Surge Portal

Learn about the NEMO model in the Salish Sea

Bitbucket Repositories for MEOPAR model in the Salish Sea


Visit the Resilient Coast Platform (developed by Dr. Stephanie Chang and her team as part of sub-project 1.2.1) to access the Hazard Vulnerability Similarity Index (HVSI) for communities along the coast of the Strait of Georgia, B.C.