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25.10.2017 02:27 Age: 25 days
Category: Home Slider, ANMN, Argo, SA-IMOS, SRS

Real-time ocean forecasts with new eSA-Marine system

South Australia's fishing, aquaculture and other marine industries now have access to high resolution real-time ocean forecasts of ocean currents with the development of eSA-Marine, a revolutionary mapping system underpinned by IMOS observations and data.


Oceanographic mooring being deployed in South Australia. Image: Paul Malthouse, SARDI.

An example of one of the Southern Australian Regional Ocean Model (SAROM) sea surface salinity and currents maps.

An example of one of the Southern Australian Regional Ocean Model (SAROM) sea surface temperate maps.

Led by researchers from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the research division of Primary Industries and Regions SA, in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology and the University of Adelaide, eSA-Marine provides forecasts of sea level, water temperature, ocean currents, and wind.

Benefits of the eSA-Marine system

The eSA-Marine system can be used for a range of purposes and may help fisheries, aquaculture and other users of SA's marine environment to:

  • predict the trajectories of harmful algal blooms/toxins to allow for mitigation
  • save vessel fuel through the prediction of environmental variables important to fishery habitat
  • predict marine heat waves and possible fish mass mortalities
  • predict ocean conditions to help with aquaculture and maritime maintenance
  • predict storm surges and flooding
  • help ship routing to save fuel
  • help with search and rescue effort
  • research into ocean circulation and marine ecosystems.

South Australian Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Leon Bignell says “eSA-Marine provides a real-time view of ocean conditions from the convenience of our screens. I’m excited to see how eSA-Marine is used by industry to enhance safety and management of our fisheries and aquaculture sites.”

To meet the challenge of managing Australia’s fisheries and aquaculture, the science underpinning it must be collaborative and integrated to develop improved tools for managers for better decision-making. 

The model/data comparisons and model validation behind eSA-Marine are made using satellite SST, sea surface height anomaly (altimeter) data and any available Argo temperature and salinity profiles for both the Southern Australian Regional Ocean Model (SAROM) historical re-analysis and for the real-time data assimilating now-casts and forecasts. In addition, hind-cast comparisons are to be made with mooring data (currents, temperatures etc) as well as CTD casts obtained through the Southern Australian Integrated Marine Observing System (SAIMOS) that is led by SARDI.

“Having led the development of eSA-Marine from its inception, it is satisfying to see this research readily accessible and available to our fisheries, aquaculture and maritime industries,” says SARDI researcher, Professor John Middleton.

“eSA-Marine is a unique forecast system, and is in fact one of only two in-shore ocean data assimilating forecast systems in Australia,” says Professor Middleton.

This project was funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association.

The information is readily available to the public, industry and government on the Primary Industries and Regions SA website.