Simulating and forecasting southern Africa's ocean


The full scope of the SimOcean is to augment and develop numerical modelling capacity in southern Africa in general, both in research and operational capacities, the initial goal will be to set up an operational oceanographic system that delivers regular and consistent nowcasts and forecasts of the state of the ocean. These are of key interest for the following purposes:

  • Marine safety: to improve the predictability of extreme events, such as cut off lows and mesoscale convective systems in the atmosphere; to monitor and predict the pathways and spreading of various tracers including toxic contaminants such as oil spills in the ocean; to support search and rescue of people and goods lost at sea.
  • Marine and coastal environment: to provide rapid environmental assessment in order to monitor and mitigate against the effects of, for example, harmful algal bloom (HAB) and low oxygen water (LOW) events as well as large-scale, climate related changes in the oceans surrounding southern Africa.
  • Marine resources: to provide support information for the offshore oil and gas industries, fisheries management and ecosystem characterization; to condition bio-geochemical modelling of ocean primary productivity.

The SimOcean operational initiative forms the modelling pillar of the recently formed OceanSAfrica operational oceanography program that depends equally on the in situ observation, remote sensing and data dissemination pillars. The vision of OceanSAfrica is to, through a combination of modelling and observations, deliver regular and systematic information on the state of the ocean that is of known quality and accuracy on open ocean to shelf-scales. In order to reach these objectives, the 4 pillars of OceanSAfrica need to closely co-ordinate their activities. Communication with users should be maintained throughout the planning, implementation, pre-operational and operational phases. Their feedback on the usefulness of the disseminated products is essential for validating the system and ensuring the sustainability of the system. Potential users include offshore industries, the navy, marine biologists, ecosystem modellers, marine resource managers, marine leisure activities.