Vacancy: Technical Support Liaison

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MetOcean Solutions is a medium-sized oceanography consultancy and forecast / hindcast data supplier that provides specialist numerical modelling and analytical solutions. Based in Raglan and New Plymouth (New Zealand), our international team works on projects worldwide. We combine the latest information technologies and data services with rigorous scientific methods.

MetOcean Solutions occupies several niche consultancy and service roles and has a rapidly growing web-based product sector. We are currently seeking a clever and versatile Technical Support Liaison to help with customer service and enquiries. If you have great problem-solving skills, an eye for detail, enjoy working in a fast-paced environment and have marine industry experience then we'd love to hear from you.

The job position is in our Raglan Office, where employees enjoy an open-office, upbeat culture within a coastal village environment. Our company atmosphere promotes a “work hard - play hard” attitude, which is supported by flexible hours to ensure a healthy work-life balance is maintained. We encourage our people to bring fresh ideas to the table, rise to any challenge and remain passionate about our products and the company mission. 

In this role you and two others will be responsible for retaining and growing the product customer base of MetOcean Solutions. The products cover ocean and terrestrial weather predictions, ship routing, specialist safety systems for ports and offshore facilities, oil spill and biosecurity tracking. You will join a team of 25 scientists and developers and take direct guidance from the Managing Director. 

In the position, we expect you to lead client retention initiatives and contribute to the vision for our current and future products. It is a fantastic opportunity to work in an interesting environment that blends the latest science and technology to provide meaningful solutions. We are open to early-career applicants seeking exposure and experience. 

To be successful in this role you will have: 

  • A tertiary or post graduate qualification in science  
  • Fundamental understanding of marine weather, preferably with marine industry experience.
  • Familiarity with weather operational systems. 
  • The ability to work collaboratively within a team environment of cross-functional and cross-vendor teams, and deliver to aggressive timelines.
  • Advanced problem-solving and trouble-shooting skills.
  • Exceptional communication with excellent phone and written manner, and fluency in English plus one other language preferably.  
  • Excellent interpersonal and customer support.
  • A general programming ability. 
  • Excellent analytical skills and a proven ability to work with environmental data.

Our ideal candidate would demonstrate the following characteristics: 

  • High level of attention to detail. 
  • Enjoys being part of a team that moves quickly.
  • Effective decision-making skills.
  • A quick learner with a “can do” attitude.
  • Methodical logical approach to solving problems.
  • An ability to prioritise tasks and manage projects in a timely fashion.
  • Enjoys building relationships.
  • A supportive and positive attitude.
  • Be reasonably tech savvy.
  • Have solid negotiation, communication and interpersonal skills.
  • A curious mind that will encourage exploration.  

Please note before you apply: This role is full-time, but hours can be flexible to suit your lifestyle. Pay is based on skill and experience. The job position is in our Raglan Office, New Zealand.

To apply for this position, please email your cover letter and CV to: t.eytan@metocean.co.nz

Kaikoura wave model data now available

Hindcast wave model data are now available for the Kaikoura region. The data, which includes two high-resolution nested domains around the Kaikoura Peninsula and Clarence (regions where active coastal construction is taking place) were generated by dynamically downscaling waves from MetOcean Solutions’ global wave model using a series of Simulating WAves Nearshore (SWAN) model nests. 

Snapshot of significant wave height (Hs) and peak wave directions for the SWAN domains defined for Kaikoura. Inserts show the Clarence (right) and Kaikoura Peninsula (bottom) nests.   

Snapshot of significant wave height (Hs) and peak wave directions for the SWAN domains defined for Kaikoura. Inserts show the Clarence (right) and Kaikoura Peninsula (bottom) nests. 
 

“We prioritised the model runs to ensure that suitable time-series and boundary data are available for the Kaikoura rebuild effort,” explains Project Manager Dr Brett Beamsley. “The model domains are representative of the pre-earthquake bathymetry, but we don’t expect wave characteristics at depths exceeding ~30m to be significantly different between before the earthquake and now, because depth changes in deeper water are not expected to significantly influence wave propagation.” 

“Much of the rail and SH1 roading network north of of Kaikoura historically went very close to the sea and as a result were often closed due to waves washing over the narrow foreshore. Design tolerances for reconstruction of these networks will require an understanding of the likely impacts of large waves, including storm return periods and maximum expected wave heights. In the absence of measured data, this understanding can only be achieved through long period hindcasts.

“Additionally, these hindcast datasets can be used for boundary conditions for specific high-resolution wave models employed to understand implications of the new harbour (which is expected to be completed by mid year) or breakwaters, including wave energy penetration, overtopping and infragravity waves.”

For further information on the data available, please contact b.beamsley@metocean.co.nz

More heavy weather on the horizon

A low pressure system over the Tasman Sea brought strong winds and heavy downpours to New Zealand's North Island last night, resulting in widespread flooding in east Auckland and the Coromandel. 
 
The New Zealand MetService issued a severe weather warning this morning, predicting continued heavy rainfall and risk of flash flooding for large parts of the northern North Island. 
 
Unfortunately the long range forecast shows more to come. Another intense Tasman Sea low pressure system is currently predicted to develop and bring severe weather to central New Zealand early next week, as the image from MetOceanView shows. 

View to the weather: gale force winds forecast for early next week. Image from MetOceanView.com

View to the weather: gale force winds forecast for early next week. Image from MetOceanView.com

For severe weather warnings, see the New Zealand MetService website http://www.metservice.com/warnings/severe-weather-warnings.

MetOceanView can be found at www.metoceanview.com

An operational oceanographic forecast / hindcast model for Shanghai, China

MetOcean Solutions recently completed the development of operational high-resolution wave and hydrodynamic models for the Yangtze River mouth and coastal areas off Shanghai. 

The work combined cutting-edge science within our agile operating system to set up wave and current models for Hangzhou Bay, a region within the East China Sea which is partially enclosed by the Ryukyu chain of islands. 

“It is a very tricky area to model,” notes Senior Oceanographer Dr Rafael Guedes. “The region is characterised by a wide, shallow and highly irregular shelf with many small islands and underwater reefs. Accurate bathymetry for the area is limited. The site is strongly influenced by the phenomenal seasonal discharge from the Yangtze River, which is one of the largest rivers in the world, and is also subject to strong tidal currents.” 

 Bathymetry of the East China Sea. Red dots show the locations of measured data used to validate the models.

 Bathymetry of the East China Sea. Red dots show the locations of measured data used to validate the models.

 
Progressive downscaling of outputs from MetOcean Solutions’ global wave model WAVEWATCH III using two SWAN nests. 

Progressive downscaling of outputs from MetOcean Solutions’ global wave model WAVEWATCH III using two SWAN nests. 

Snapshot of surface salinity from the ROMS model. Blue denotes low salinities; red high.

Snapshot of surface salinity from the ROMS model. Blue denotes low salinities; red high.

“In order to model the location well, we had to capture the meteorological events occurring within the East China Sea as well as the swell generated beyond the Ryukyu Islands which propagates into the bay. Frequent typhoons ravage the area, and these are always hard to resolve well. All in all, the area displays a challenging combination of highly variable bathymetry, strong temperature and salinity differences and complex mixing processes.”

The SWAN (Simulating WAves Nearshore) model was used to resolve the wave climate and the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) was applied to simulate the circulation. 

“To model the area we used a technique known as ‘dynamical downscaling’,” explains Rafael. “This process uses information from large scale global models to drive regional models at much higher resolution. The technique allows us to resolve fine-scale features near the coast while still accounting for remote influences to the area from long-generated swell or meso-scale currents.”

Quantile-quantile plot comparing measured and modelled significant wave height (Hs) for wave hindcast using (black) existing CFSR wind fields and (red) adjusted wind fields to correct for observed wind bias.

Quantile-quantile plot comparing measured and modelled significant wave height (Hs) for wave hindcast using (black) existing CFSR wind fields and (red) adjusted wind fields to correct for observed wind bias.

“High-quality input data sources are critical to running wave and hydrodynamic models in such complex settings,” continues Rafael. “We found persistent wind speed bias near the bay in the global reanalysis data source that we used to calibrate the high resolution models. Correcting this bias before running the wave model significantly improved model results just offshore of the bay as shown in the comparison of measured and modelled significant wave height.

The area has heavy shipping traffic, and the operational system outputs, including 7-day forecasts of site-specific waves, winds and currents, are now available to marine users. Please contact us and we will connect you with our partner agency in China.

Live Southern Ocean wave buoy direct data feed

MetOcean Solutions is now hosting the direct data feed from the Southern Ocean wave buoy on our website, at www.metocean.co.nz/wave-buoy.

The direct data feed is live at www.metocean.co.nz/wave-buoy.

The direct data feed is live at www.metocean.co.nz/wave-buoy.

The instrument, which is the southernmost moored open ocean wave buoy in the world, was deployed on February 8, 2017 as part of a collaborative project between the New Zealand Defence Force and MetOcean Solutions. 

"We are pleased to say that everything seems to be working according to plan," says Dr Peter McComb who was present at the deployment. "The buoy is located 11 km south of Campbell Island, a location infamous for its harsh conditions. On average, the island gets less than an hour of sunshine 215 days out of 365, and winds of more than 100 km per hour occur at least 100 days a year. The buoy is moored in a water depth of 150 m and is fully exposed to the predominantly westerly wave systems generated by the relentless procession of mid-latitude storms." 

Southern Ocean important for climate

Senior Oceanographer Dr Tom Durrant is excited to be getting data from the Southern Ocean. "The Southern Ocean is known to play an important role in the Earth's climate system, cycling heat, carbon and nutrients,” he states. “Waves modify the air-sea fluxes and the mixed water masses are then redistributed by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, creating a complex interacting system. Persistent mid-latitude storms combined with a lack of landmasses create large fetches and strong winds, ideal conditions for generating large waves. 

"The waves generated in this region have far reaching effects, contributing significantly to the wave climate in all the major ocean basins. The New Zealand west coast, for example, is periodically battered by large swell systems generated in Southern Ocean storms. 

The buoy was launched on 8 February 2017.

The buoy was launched on 8 February 2017.

Data will help ocean science

"Despite the importance of the region, there are almost no in situ observations in the Southern Ocean. Currently, there is no published wave spectra data from any location south of 47 S to the ice edge (at ~63 S in summer months). Remote altimeter observations provide a valuable source of significant wave height, and have been used to great effect in the Southern Ocean, but these do not provide spectral information which allows us to explore the details of the extreme sea states. The data from this deployment will fill a valuable gap in our understanding of waves in the region and provide a much needed ground truth for validating the global wave models. In recognition of this value, the data will be made freely available to the scientific community." 
 

Persistent polar activity keeps the cold weather coming

Upper atmosphere temperatures remain influenced by colder polar air masses, shown in blue.  Image based on GFS data.

Upper atmosphere temperatures remain influenced by colder polar air masses, shown in blue.  Image based on GFS data.

If you live on the west coast of New Zealand and feel that the 2016-17 summer has been worse than average you'd be right.

"Since winter 2016, New Zealand has been subjected to persistent polar activity," states Tim Gunn, MetOcean Solutions' weather ambassador. "This results in south-westerly fronts hitting our coastlines, one after the other, bringing with them rain and colder than average temperatures.”

The westerly winds result in upwelling along north-facing coastlines.

The westerly winds result in upwelling along north-facing coastlines.

Polar troughing, which results in westerly wind patterns, is typically replaced by mid latitude synoptic weather systems by mid to late November. These normally bring with them warmer, sunnier and more stable weather. However, this year the change hasn't occurred yet.  

The ocean has been affected too. 

Colder than average temperatures are not stopping enthusiastic bathers in Taranaki.

Colder than average temperatures are not stopping enthusiastic bathers in Taranaki.

"The sea is colder than normal for this time of year in some locations," says Dr Rafael Soutelino, MetOcean Solutions' forecast manager. "On the west coast, the strong pattern of westerly winds which is unusual for this time of year has enhanced upwelling of cooler waters along predominantly north-facing coastlines such as North Taranaki and Bay of Plenty. As a result, those places are experiencing colder than average sea surface temperatures," he explains. 

The world's southernmost open ocean moored wave buoy deployed

The buoy will provide essential data about waves in the rarely studied Southern Ocean. Plot shows wave height in metres; the red dot marks the wave buoy location.

The buoy will provide essential data about waves in the rarely studied Southern Ocean. Plot shows wave height in metres; the red dot marks the wave buoy location.

In collaboration with MetOcean Solutions, the New Zealand Defence Force yesterday launched a moored wave buoy about 11 km south of Campbell Island. The site is the southernmost location that a wave buoy has ever been moored in the world.

Deployed from the HMNZS OTAGO, the buoy is part of a collaborative project between the Defence Technology Agency and MetOcean Solutions. The buoy is planned to remain in location for the next six months, where it will be used to gather precise wave spectral data as well as
wave height and wave direction.

"We are very pleased about our research partnership with the Defence," says oceanographer Dr Peter McComb who led the deployment on OTAGO. "The Southern Ocean is an incredible engine for wave energy generation due to the persistent westerly winds and the expansive ocean fetch. This makes it a difficult region to work in, but we were fortunate with a period of relatively good weather to launch the buoy. The data will be of international significance and the wave research community will benefit from open access to the measurements."

Dr Tom Durrant, the manager of MetOcean Solutions' wave modelling, says that the buoy will provide invaluable data for an area which remains poorly studied. 

"Due to the harsh ocean environment and remote location, the Southern Ocean is the least observed of any ocean body," he explains. "The wave buoy data will aid our understanding of waves in extreme conditions, and provide measurements against which we can validate and improve our global wave models. To help the deployment we provided detailed forecasts, and we are relieved that the conditions were calm enough to launch the buoy."

For more about the deployment, see the DTA website

 

Wave forecast model upgrades

Wave model performance improved by an average of 20% as a result of the new physics (RMSE: root mean square error; the smaller the RMSE the better the model performs. In the bottom figure, red denotes positive percentage improvement). 

Wave model performance improved by an average of 20% as a result of the new physics (RMSE: root mean square error; the smaller the RMSE the better the model performs. In the bottom figure, red denotes positive percentage improvement). 

At MetOcean Solutions, we continuously improve our models to ensure the highest possible performance.

To that end, we recently upgraded the physics in our in-house global and regional wave models.

“Our wave forecasts and services rely on sophisticated open-source atmospheric and wave models,” states Dr Tom Durrant who manages MetOcean Solutions’ wave models. “A global community of scientists are working on these models. As a result, the models are constantly evolving, both in terms of our understanding of the underlying physics and the representation of these physics in the models. At MetOcean Solutions, we strive to maintain our models with the current state-of-the-art science, and the recent upgrade brings us in line with the world’s leading edge practices.”  

“The result is a great improvement in the physical representation of wave generation and dissipation within our global wave models. As the global models provide boundary conditions for all MetOcean Solutions’ coastal models, the changes produce improvements throughout the wave modelling system at all scales,” he adds.

The resulting improvements are shown in the figure above. Using satellite observations to quantify these gains, the figure shows the root-mean-square-error of wave height (i.e. model performance) relative to satellite observations for a) the previous system; b) the upgraded system; with c) indicating the percentage improvement. Clear gains are apparent, with an approximate 20% improvement in model skill demonstrated overall.

 

Oceanology International Conference in San Diego

MetOcean Solutions will be at the Oceanology International Conference North America 14-16 February. The Oceanology International conference, which this year is held at the San Diego Convention Center, is one of the largest maritime conferences in the world.

Please contact Sebastien Boulay at s.boulay@metocean.co.nz if you want to meet at the conference and discuss opportunities.

Moninya Roughan joins MetOcean Solutions as Chief Scientist

Moninya Roughan

Moninya Roughan

We are delighted to welcome Moninya Roughan as Chief Scientist at MetOcean Solutions. Moninya is currently Associate Professor and Group Leader of the Coastal and Regional Oceanography Lab at the University of New South Wales. She will transition to the Chief Scientist role over the next 6 months, and focus on science leadership at MetOcean Solutions. Moninya will retain strong linkages with UNSW  in the School of Mathematics and Statistics.     

As a physical oceanographer specialising in coastal and shelf processes, her research focuses on improving dynamical understanding of coastal ocean circulation. She has substantial experience using a combination of ocean observations and numerical models, and has authored over 50 publications including peer-reviewed journal papers, book chapters, international conference papers, consultancy and technical reports. Moninya gained her PhD in Physical Oceanography from UNSW Australia (2002), and spent 4 years at Scripps Institution of Oceanography as a postdoctoral scholar (2002-2006). Over the past 10 years, she has led the design, deployment and ongoing development of one of the most comprehensive ocean observing systems in the southern hemisphere. Focussed on the East Australian Current, which flows downstream to New Zealand, Moninya and her IMOS team have deployed a network of moorings, HF radar, autonomous ocean gliders and floats along the coast of southeastern Australia to investigate the impact of the current on the continental shelf circulation along Australia’s most populous coastline. At UNSW, Prof Roughan leads a team of PhD students, postdocs and field technicians doing active research. Together they successfully completed over 100 mooring deployments and more than 20 autonomous glider missions. She has conducted fieldwork from Antarctica to Torres Strait, spending more than 100 days at sea on large and small research vessels. 

"The New Zealand ocean science community will benefit greatly from the wealth of knowledge and experience that Moninya brings," says Dr Peter McComb, the Managing Director of MetOcean Solutions. “We look forward to an exciting new chapter for operational oceanography in the South Pacific."

Modelling the impacts of seasonal variability in freshwater input into the Waikouaiti Estuary

Understanding the dynamics of estuaries is important when setting minimum flow levels for the rivers flowing into them.

Model domain showing depth relative to mean sea level in metres.

Model domain showing depth relative to mean sea level in metres.

When Otago Regional Council consulted with local communities about possible minimum flows for the Waikouaiti River, interest groups voiced concern about what potential changes in freshwater inflow would do to the health of the estuary. So Rachel Ozanne, the Council water quality scientist, contracted MetOcean Solutions to investigate the natural variations in freshwater input to help council explore the potential impacts of flow reduction on estuary processes and ecology.

“Regional councils are tasked with setting minimum flow-levels and water allocation limits for rivers,” explains Rachel. “In order to determine whether the proposed minimum flows would cause adverse effects, we need to understand the estuary hydrodynamics.”

The council was particularly interested in assessing the difference that the minimum flow levels would make to the summer flows, when the natural riverine input into the estuary is at its lowest. 

Hydrodynamic model setup

The first step in setting up a hydrodynamic model is to get accurate bathymetry. A survey was carried out by Hunter Hydrographics and the data were combined with council LiDAR and chart data from LINZ. 

A finite-element (triangular mesh) numerical model domain was set up, with 5 m resolution inside the estuary, reducing to 200 m offshore. The SCHISM model was established and validated with measurements of water properties, water levels and currents made during a targeted field campaign undertaken by the Cawthron Institute. 

The effects of different low summer flows on estuary hydrodynamics

“We ran the model for a range of river flow rates representing summer conditions,” explains Dr Brett Beamsley, who was the science leader for the project and is an expert user of the SCHISM code. “The modelling showed that the range of summer flows has negligible effect on the overall hydrodynamics of the estuary. The tidal flows are so strong that they, rather than the river input, dominate the estuary hydrodynamics in the summer.”

Rachel feels that the modelling confirmed council suspicion that the natural variability in the area exceeds potential changes caused by varying the freshwater input.

“In the past, big storms have dramatically changed the estuary. The study showed that the small changes in summer flow investigated (changes in the order of up to 200 l per second) would make little difference to the dynamics of the estuary.” 

Tracing the dilution of pollutants

A eulerian tracer method was used to examine the dilution of fresh water within the estuary, and these simulations clearly showed that the rate of flushing varies for specific areas. 

“Such results are very useful when considering potential pollution events,” adds Rachel. “In the upper reaches of the estuary, it takes more than 10 tidal cycles to flush out the fresh water. This means that if a pollutant enters the estuary through the rivers, it  can take more than a week to dilute to negligible levels.”

Which areas are prone to siltation?

The model was also used to examine sediment transport potential within the estuary.
“When current flows exceed a threshold value, the sediments are mobilised and transported along in suspension,” adds Brett. “The sediments settle out when the current velocity drops. The modelling showed that even the smaller channels within Waikouaiti Estuary have flows that can entrain silts and sands for considerable periods of time on each tide. However some of the adjacent shallow intertidal flats do not, so these areas are susceptible to siltation.

“To help council manage the estuary, we produced a series of maps showing where sediments of different sizes are likely to entrained.” 

Mapping intertidal areas

The number of hours the estuary bed is wetted over the tidal cycle.

The number of hours the estuary bed is wetted over the tidal cycle.

Another aspect that the council was interested in was assessing how large the intertidal area is at different stages of the tide, and at the spring and neap tides. 
“Exposure to air is a critical component determining which species live where in the estuary, and which species prey on them” states Rachel. “Areas that are rarely inundated are susceptible to sedimentation, and maps like these help us understand the ecology and potential future changes that might affect the biological communities.   

Model and data are freely available

“SCHISM is an open-source science model which is freely available,” explains Brett. “This means that all the code is fully transparent, so that other researchers can replicate and modify previous modelling efforts. Council also made available all the measured data, model setup, boundary conditions and configuration files for use by the local community, including university students.”

Making the data and model freely available was important to Otago Regional Council. 
“We expect improvements to the model will be made over time as other users become involved in the model development and more data becomes available for validation,” explains Rachel. “We hope that Otago University will be able to use it for student projects, and are keen to promote it as an active, living model which can be used by community interest groups or organisations. The ultimate goal is for the model to become a useful tool for the community to further understand how the estuarine hydrodynamics affect ecosystem processes.”   

For further information on Otago Regional Council, see their website.
For more information on MetOcean Solutions’ coastal service, click here or view a pdf here.

Kaikoura tsunami waves measured in Wellington Harbour

The location of the wave meters on the eastern side of the entrance to Wellington Harbour.

The location of the wave meters on the eastern side of the entrance to Wellington Harbour.

The MetOcean Solutions science team made some unique wave measurements of the 14 November Kaikoura New Zealand tsunami event.

Oceanographer Florian Monetti has been studying the complex swell wave transformations into Wellington Harbour since 2015 as part of the environmental assessments for the Wellington Harbour Deepening Project. CentrePort, who operates Wellington Harbour, recently commissioned additional wave measurements at the popular surf breaks on the eastern side of the harbour entrance, with the intention to use these data to more precisely validate the numerical wave models of the harbour. MetOcean Solutions supplied three wave meters (RBRsolo) on seabed frames that were placed very close to the surf breaks. These meters record water levels continuously at twice per second, and as luck would have it they were deployed just a few days before the 7.8 magnitude earthquake. 

“The measurements are quite remarkable,” says Florian. “Because the meters were spaced along 3 km of the entrance coastline we can clearly see the progression of the tsunami waves as they enter the harbour.” 

The first noticeable change to the sea surface occurred only 2 minutes after the 12:02 am earthquake, with waves around 0.5 m occurring - likely radiating from the adjacent shoreline.  Then, after 24 minutes a mild disturbance was observed for about 10 minutes, which is probably the waves generated by the quake within the Wellington Harbour. Next, some 48 minutes after the quake, the water level first receded by about 0.8 m and then 12 minutes later it rose by 1.6 m. The tsunami waves moved relatively slowly through the harbour entrance, their speed limited to around 35 km/h by the shallow depth. The time lag between the first wave arriving at the Pipes and then Lion Rock surf breaks was 5 minutes. The two first waves were the largest but another 13 waves between 0.4 m and 1.0 m in size occurred over the following 6 hours. Notably, all these waves had a well-defined periodicity of (i.e. they recurred every) 27 minutes, and this distinctive tsunami signal could still be detected 19 hours after the arrival of the first wave. 

The tsunami waves started soon after the earthquake and continued until 19 hours after the quake. The graphs show the water level as measured (top) and with the tide and normal wave patterns removed (bottom).

The tsunami waves started soon after the earthquake and continued until 19 hours after the quake. The graphs show the water level as measured (top) and with the tide and normal wave patterns removed (bottom).

At Wellington, the size of the largest tsunami wave was quite close to the tidal range (which is 1.4 m), and the largest waves occurred when the tide was still low. This means the sea level changes were similar to what happens most days with the typical rise and fall of the tide. In fact, the highest water level occurred during the 9th tsunami wave, which coincided with the high tide. Some coastal flooding from the tsunami waves would certainly have occurred if the largest waves had arrived during the high tide.      

CentrePort has kindly made the data freely available for international tsunami researchers, and interested people should contact Florian for access (f.monetti@metocean.co.nz).    

High resolution wave forecasts for Chile now available

Good forecasts improve port safety and efficiency.

Good forecasts improve port safety and efficiency.

MetOcean Solutions have set up a high resolution wave forecast model for the coastline of Chile in South America. 
 
"We are delighted to now provide a high quality wave model for Chile," says Senior Oceanographer Dr Rafael Guedes. "We've set up a regional domain covering the central and northern Chilean coast and can now provide nearshore wave forecasts for the area north of 41°S. Accurate wave forecasting is important for ports located along this dynamic, exposed coastline."

The Chile model domain, showing depth (left) and sample wave height (right).

The Chile model domain, showing depth (left) and sample wave height (right).

The work was initiated following a visit by MetOcean Solutions to Chile in October, where the need for high resolution port scale wave forecasts was made apparent.  
 
"We've used the state-of-the-art SWAN (Simulating WAves Nearshore) model," continues Dr Guedes. "Like many New Zealand ports, Chilean ports suffer from wave exposure. Accurate modelling can help ports save money and time, and increase safety. MetOcean Solutions specialise in forecasting wave conditions for weather-exposed ports, and we provide expert forecasts for a number of ports internationally already. We are very happy to potentially extend the service to Chile. Of course, very high accuracy forecasts require accurate bathymetry." 
 
The model domain was set up to cover the coast between 41°S and 17°S at 5 km resolution and was set up using full spectral boundaries from MetOcean Solutions' new, upgraded global WAVEWATCH III wave model. The new model can be accessed via the MetOceanView platform.

MetOcean Solutions welcomes Otago University oceanography intern

Dannielle is looking forward to her summer internship.

Dannielle is looking forward to her summer internship.

Dannielle Fougere, a BSc oceanography student from Otago University, recently started an oceanography internship at MetOcean Solutions. 

Otago University Marine Science Department offers a BSc in Oceanography and as part of this provides a summer internship for a top student. This year Dannielle won the prestigious internship and she will be spending 8 weeks over the summer at MetOcean Solution offices in New Plymouth.

Dannielle is excited to be working at MetOcean Solutions for the summer. "It's great to get this opportunity to work among individuals who share a passion for science", she says."I'm looking forward to gaining some experience in my field." 

MetOcean Solutions at Melbourne Wave Workshop

Workshop on waves

Workshop on waves

Dr Tom Durrant attended the Ocean Waves and Wave-Coupled Processes Workshop held at the University of Melbourne 7-9 December 2016. Tom manages MetOcean Solutions' wave modelling and at the workshop he presented the company's wave forecasting.

The workshop launched the Australia-China Centre for Maritime Engineering, of which MetOcean Solutions is an industry partner.

The Centre was established to develop highly sophisticated modelling tools to predict ocean and wave climatology, extremes and trends which will allow offshore industries to prepare and protect their ocean assets as they continue the push further offshore and into more extreme environments.

For more information about the Centre, click here

MetOcean Solutions award video released

The Ministry of Defence has released their video for the Defence Industry Awards of Excellence. 

MetOcean Solutions won the prestigious 'Provision of a product to Defence for less than $15 million' category for the SurfZoneView software. 

SurfZoneView is a tool designed to assist amphibious landings by modelling and visualising surf conditions. The tool was developed in a close working relationship with the Defence Technology Agency.

MetOcean Solutions is a proud recipient of the Award of Excellence.

MetOcean Solutions is a proud recipient of the Award of Excellence.

"Getting personnel and gear safely ashore can be very tricky," states Dr David Johnson who worked with the DTA to develop the tool. "We are very happy to have created something that will help keep the Royal New Zealand Navy personnel safe." 

MetOcean Solutions is now making the tool commercially available to navies, civil defence agencies and coast guards around the world.

Unseasonally warm waters for Raglan

Sea temperatures off Raglan are currently at least 1°C warmer than the 36-year average.

"The warmer than average temperatures are noticeable - both for swimmers and for the ecosystem," states MetOcean Solutions Forecast Manager Dr Rafael Soutelino. "The warming could be caused by more sunny days than usual or by an onset of warm water residual coastal circulation from the north."

"Historically, the 20°C barrier is broken late December or early January off Raglan," explains Rafael. "However, if the current pattern continues, the water will reach 20°C much earlier than normal."

Top: current surface water temperatures (degrees C) (left) and forecasted warming over the next week (right). Bottom: The forecasted climb in surface water temperatures compared with the 36-year average

Top: current surface water temperatures (degrees C) (left) and forecasted warming over the next week (right).

Bottom: The forecasted climb in surface water temperatures compared with the 36-year average

The warming pattern is not mirrored further south. In New Plymouth, water temperatures are recovering from upwelling of colder bottom waters which occurred in connection with the latest stretch of winds from the west - southwest.  

"The sea surface temperatures do vary quite a bit from year to year," says Rafael. "The main variation is caused by the spatial location of different water bodies - so the warming of Raglan temperatures could be just a warm water body coming down earlier from the north. And although the current warming is pronounced, it could change quickly if prolonged southerly winds push colder waters up to Raglan."  

Historical ocean weather data statistics freely available

Historical data such as 100 year return period value (RPV) wave heights is important baseline information for anyone operating in the ocean.

Historical data such as 100 year return period value (RPV) wave heights is important baseline information for anyone operating in the ocean.

MetOcean Solutions recently provided free access to all our hindcast data statistics from around the world. 

"Anyone with internet access can now view and download historical weather statistics from a range of global locations," states Dr Rafael Guedes, Manager of Hindcasts. "In total we have statistics available from more than 380,000 datapoints around the world, a number which is constantly increasing as we run our models for new locations."

MetOcean Solutions’ hindcast data provide high quality marine weather information generated in-house by a team of expert scientists using state-of-the-art atmospheric and oceanographic models. The hindcast statistics can be accessed through the MetOceanView platform with no login required. 

"Our historical data archives reach back to 1979," adds Rafael. "The information available includes wind and wave distribution statistics, roses, joint probability tables and extreme value analysis data."

Suitable for environmental investigations and climate analysis, the datasets offer key baseline information for project scoping, offshore and coastal design, project planning and environmental impact assessment.

"We display tiles with gridded statistics from selected global datasets, including gridded mean wave height, period and direction for total swell and wind-sea wave components, percentiles and extreme value analysis of significant wave height and wind speed, vector-average currents, as well as mean air and sea-surface temperature."

Click here for free access to the more than 380,000 hindcast data locations worldwide. 

For a list of full historical datasets available, click here.

MetOcean Solutions wins NZ Defence award

New Zealand Defence Force during training operations.

New Zealand Defence Force during training operations.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced MetOcean Solutions a winner of the annual Minister of Defence Industry Awards of Excellence for 2016. The company won the 'Provision of a product to Defence for less than $15 million' category for the SurfZoneView software. SurfZoneView is a tool designed to assist amphibious landings by modelling and visualising surf conditions. 

"We are very proud to receive the award," says Technical Director Dr David Johnson. "The creation of SurfZoneView was an excellent collaborative project in which we worked together with the New Zealand Defence Technology Agency to take their concept from vision to reality. It is a great example of applying leading edge oceanographic science to solve real-world problems. We are very happy to have created something that will help keep the Royal New Zealand Navy personnel safe." 

MetOcean Solutions is now making the tool commercially available to navies, civil defence agencies and coast guards around the world.

"The safe transfer of equipment and personnel from sea onto land is fraught with difficulty for any agency operating in the nearshore environment," adds Dr Johnson. "Beach landings are notoriously dangerous, but through modelling the wave and current conditions we can identify safe transects and landing spots. The user inputs the bathymetry of the area of interest and specifies the offshore wave conditions, and the tool does the rest.

"MetOcean Solutions provided forecasts for the naval landings in Kaikoura in connection with evacuation of people following the earthquakes there." 
 
David believes that the success of the SurfZoneView was the result of good collaboration with the Defence Technology Agency.
 
"Close relationships are critical to solve the key challenges facing New Zealand. We have a finite pool of people and resources to protect, manage and understand the vast ocean and extensive coastline of New Zealand. We have a collaborative project underway to deploy a wave buoy further south than ever done before. The involvement of the Defence Technology Agency and contribution of a New Zealand Defence Force vessel to do the deployment will be critical for the success of that project."

Click here to watch our SurfZoneView video, and here for a PDF detailing the tool.

Click here for the Ministry of Defence press release.

Go-ahead for Centre for Space Science Technology

Yesterday the Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced that the Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST) has been selected to become New Zealand’s second Regional Research Institute. 
 
The plans include a science and administration base in central Otago supported by regional science hubs around the country, including one in New Plymouth, where specific pieces of research will be done. As one of the founding partners for the initiative, MetOcean Solutions will be involved with New Plymouth's research hub, which will focus on remote sensing of the ocean and atmosphere. 

“The Centre for Space Science Technology will undertake research to explore the use of space-based measurements and satellite imagery unique to New Zealand to meet the specific needs of our regional industries,” Mr Joyce says. “It will establish an international satellite data exchange and collaborate with leading researchers and businesses, both here and abroad, to design, build and launch New Zealand’s first fleet of cube satellites.”

MetOcean Solutions is delighted with this outcome.  "It represents a new way of using public science funding to actively promote enabling technologies and directly stimulate economic growth," says Managing Director Dr Peter McComb.

Satellite imagery will be used to further knowledge about New Zealand's ocean resources

Satellite imagery will be used to further knowledge about New Zealand's ocean resources

"It's firstly about utilising new technology to effectively manage massive data sets and make them readily accessible for specialists in science and industry. The second part is developing applications that turn these rich data sources into useful knowledge, and the key metric of success will be how we can enable NZ businesses and research institutes to use satellite
data more effectively. That truly has the potential to transform our society. The other part of it will develop cube sat missions that are targeted toward NZ-specific applications, and they can be launched from NZ as well as elsewhere in the world.

"We aim to lower the threshold for agencies to access the abundant information from historical and real time satellite data sets. At the moment very specialist skills and equipment is needed to do this, which presents a significant barrier to most. By centralising this capacity for NZ, we will help raise the productivity and economic benefits from satellite data, and
also promote a national space-based economy for the benefit of all regions in NZ.

"Very specific products and data sets will be produced from the New Plymouth CSST hub - such as high resolution maps of ocean turbidity. Water clarity has a huge impact on the coastal marine ecology, and satellites can be used to monitor the effect of terrestrial runoff and river plumes on a daily basis. We can also observe the oceanic boundaries between water masses which is helpful in fisheries management. In fact, the use of satellite data is really only limited by our imagination, and the new generation of sensors provide outstanding opportunities. Another example is the Himawari8 weather satellite that monitors the skies over NZ every 2.5 minutes – we can now watch the atmospheric convection bubbling away in near real time. That opens up the next generation of short range weather forecasting capability.“ 
 
In New Plymouth, a team of CSST geospatial scientists will be co-located with the oceanographers at MetOcean Solutions, and there will be a close association with the Nelson-based Cawthron Institute.

See also https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-regional-research-institute-announced 

and http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/86476345/blastoff-for-new-plymouths-satellite-research-centre