For decades, mariners in the United States have depended on NOAA's Tide Tables for the best estimate of expected water levels. These tables provide accurate predictions of the astronomical tide (i.e., the change in water level due to the gravitational effects of the moon and sun and the rotation of the Earth); however, they cannot predict water-level changes due to wind, atmospheric pressure, and river flow, which are often significant.
A Tampa Bay Operational Forecast System (TBOFS) has been developed to serve the maritime user community. TBOFS was developed in a joint project of the NOAA/National Ocean Service (NOS)/Office of Coast Survey, the NOAA/NOS/Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), and the NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS)/National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Central Operations (NCO) using Rutgers University's Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS). TBOFS generates water level, current, temperature and salinity nowcast and forecast guidance four times per day. Aerial animations of the whole Tampa Bay as well as time series at particular stations or points of interest are available for 20 locations for the five parameters (water level, currents, temperature, and/or salinity).
TBOFS runs on NOAA's High Performance Computers (HPC) in a new Coastal Ocean Modeling Framework (COMF) developed by CO-OPS. As a result, TBOFS has direct access to NWS operational meteorological products that it needs to run reliably.
TBOFS is based on a three-dimensional, high resolution model and with the added reliability of running at NOAA's HPC, TBOFS will assist U.S. port authorities and mariners in efficiently navigating the Tampa Bay without compromising safety.
For more detailed information about TBOFS, please click here.
For more information about ROMS, please click here.
The Tampa Bay Operational Forecast System (TBOFS) 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 Tampa Bay. TBOFS 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.
During extreme weather conditions, water level forecast guidance data are released for public utility and should be used with appropriate caution.