Salish Sea and Columbia River Operational Forecast System (SSCOFS) (Developmental)

Warning, you are on the SSCOFS Developmental, not operational SSCOFS.

Notice of NOS OFS product changes

Effective on or about August 2024, the names of the model output files will officially be transitioned to the following format:

  • Stations: OFS.tCCz.YYYYMMDD.stations.[nowcast|forecast].nc
  • 2-D surface field output: OFS.tCCz.YYYYMMDD.2ds.[n|f]
  • 3-D field output: OFS.tCCz.YYYYMMDD.fields.[n|f]
  • 3-D field output on a regular grid: OFS.tCCz.YYYYMMDD.regulargrid.[n|f]
  • Where:
  • OFS refers to the name of the model (e.g. cbofs, sfbofs, leofs)
  • [nowcast/forecast] or [n/f] denotes either the nowcast or forecast results
  • YYYYMMDD refers to the date of the model run
  • CC refers to the cycle of the day (e.g. 06, 12)
  • HHH is the nowcast or forecast hour (e.g. 001, 002)

Starting April 1, 2024, model output files with both the existing and the new file formats will be made available here for users to update and test code used to automate the download of the model output. As August 2024 draws near, this notice will be updated with the exact date of the transition.

(Please click on the map pins below to access the time series plots)

Each of the blue icons represent a different SSCOFS subdomain. Click on an icon to open the main web page of that subdomain.

The Salish Sea and Columbia River Operational Forecast System (SSCOFS) provides the maritime user community with nowcast (analyses of present conditions) and forecast guidance of water levels, currents, water temperature, and salinity out to 72 hours, four times per day.

The three-dimensional SSCOFS was developed as part of a joint project of the NOAA/National Ocean Service's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) and Office of Coast Survey, the NOAA/National Weather Service's (NWS) National Centers for Environmental Prediction Central Operations, the Battelle - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

The SSCOFS runs on NOAA's Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System (WCOSS) in a Coastal Ocean Modeling Framework developed by CO-OPS. As a result, the SSCOFS has direct access to the NWS operational meteorological products that it needs to run reliably.

Historically, mariners have had to depend on NOAA's Tide Tables for the best estimates of expected water levels and currents. These tables provide accurate predictions of the astronomical tides and currents due to the gravitational effects of the moon and sun combined with the rotation of the Earth. However, they cannot predict changes due to wind, atmospheric pressure and river flow, which are often significant. Furthermore, in most water bodies, predictions are available at a few locations only. Ocean models such as the Finite-Volume, Coastal Ocean Model (FVCOM), which is the basis for the SSCOFS, provide mariners with the best available water levels, currents, water temperature, and salinity forecast guidance.

The SSCOFS model domain is divided into 9 separate subdomains (San Juan Islands, Whidbey Basin, Central Puget Sound, Southern Puget Sound, Strait of Juan De Fuca, Columbia River Bar Entrance and Offshore Regions, Lower Columbia River, Middle Columbia River, and Upper Columbia River), allowing users to focus on their area of interest. Animation maps of each of the 9 subdomains as well as time series at particular stations or points of interest are available at over 200 locations for winds, water level, currents, temperature, and salinity.

For more detailed information about SSCOFS, please click here.

For more information about FVCOM, please click here.

The SSCOFS model provides forecast guidance for water levels, currents, water temperature, and salinity within its domain. For the official NOAA water level forecast from the National Weather Service's Northwest River Forecast Center, please click here.

The Salish Sea and Columbia River Estuary Operational Forecast System (SSCOFS) 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 Columbia River and Estuary. SSCOFS 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.