Urban Ocean Observatory at Davidson Laboratory
Track pollutants and plumes based on
New York Harbor Observation and Prediction System (NYHOPS)
forecasts in NOAA GNOME

The Emergency Response Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Response and Restoration (NOAA/OR&R/ERD) and the United States Coast Guard Office of Search & Rescue (USCG/SAR) have been using Stevens Institute of Technology's NYHOPS forecasts for drift simulations in support of pollutant tracking and Search and Rescue planning, respectively, since 2006.

GNOME (General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment) is the modeling tool NOAA/OR&R's Emergency Response Division uses to predict the possible route or trajectory of a waterborne pollutant, such as an oil spill.

Now you can use GNOME in its 'Diagnostic Mode' with NYHOPS-generated currents forecasts and set up your spill scenarios to:

  • Predict how currents and other processes might move and spread oil spilled on the waters of the New York/New Jersey Harbor and surrounding ocean over the next 2 to 3 days
  • Learn how these predictions of where and how oil might move are affected by uncertainty in the NYHOPS forecasts for ocean currents and wind
  • See how spilled oil is expected to change chemically and physically while it remains on the water surface (a process known as weathering)

To use GNOME with NYHOPS currents and winds predictions:

  • Download GNOME here
  • Download the latest NYHOPS model predictions for currents here
  • Download and unzip the latest NYHOPS 'topology' file here
  • Start GNOME on your computer and change to 'Diagnostic Mode' (show_me)
  • Load the NYHOPS predictions and topology files into GNOME (show_me)
  • Describe a spill scenario by entering information into GNOME (show_me)
  • according to the GNOME manual

GNOME then creates and displays an oil spill 'movie' showing the predicted trajectory of the oil spilled in the scenario. In addition to this animation, GNOME estimates the amount of oil beached, still floating, or evaporated, at specific times.

Step by step directions and examples can be found by clicking here

More advanced users may:

  • Download the past 3 days and the next 3 days of NYHOPS model predictions subsampled every 20 minutes, to enable "backtracking" spills to their potential sources within GNOME here
    • Use the NOAA GOODS Service to subset NYHOPS forecasts or download data from other sources for use with GNOME.
    • Use Matlab and a code I put together to convert the new GNOME NetCDF output to a plume surface over a Google Map (with or without splots and 'minimum regret' uncertainty) and create a movie. You can download the Matlab code here and view an example movie here
    • Use Matlab and a simple code I wrote to convert the new GNOME NetCDF output to a Google Earth KMZ movie. You can download the Matlab code here and view an example here


Emergency Response Division, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration

United States Coast Guard Office of Search & Rescue

Disclaimer: NYHOPS adheres to NOAA standards and guidelines for use and reliability of our forecasts. Click here to view.