SalishSeaCast NEMO Model

About the Project

The Salish Sea is home to a large population of Canadians living in coastal communities at risk to ocean related hazards. There is an ongoing need to assess the impact of these hazards on human and marine environments through a multidisciplinary approach involving Canadian oceanographers, biologists, and social scientists. The Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response network (MEOPAR) provides a platform to accelerate this type of research.

The SalishSeaCast Project team is developing a three-dimensional ocean model for the Strait of Georgia and Salish Sea. Using the NEMO modelling architecture, the Salish Sea model will be used to evaluate storm surge risk in coastal communities. Long term goals include data assimilation from the VENUS network and a coupled biogeochemical modelling component.

Model Domain

The region covered by the model includes the Straight of Georgia, Straight of Juan de Fuca, Johnstone Strait, Fraser River, and other connecting waterways.

SalishSeaCast NEMO Model Domain


Our model results include storm surge alerts and the region's atmospheric and marine conditions. They are available in a number of formats:


General evaluation: as a slide presentation

Storm surge: The Salish Sea model's ability to calculate tides and sea surface height was evaluated by hindcasting storm surge events that occurred between 2002 and 2011. (Soontiens, N., Allen, S., Latornell, D., Le Souef, K., Machuca, I., Paquin, J.-P., Lu, Y., Thompson, K., Korabel, V., 2016. Storm surges in the Strait of Georgia simulated with a regional model. Atmosphere-Ocean 54 1-21.

Mixing in San Juan/Gulf Islands: The sensitivity of the deep water renewal into the Strait of Georgia and of fresh water pulses into Juan de Fuca Strait to modelling choices affecting both turbulence and advection has been determined. (Soontiens, N. and Allen, S. Modelling sensitivities to mixing and advection in a sill-basin estuarine system. Ocean Modelling, 112, 17-32.

Project Resources

Project Team and Collaborators

The Salish Sea NEMO Model project is lead by Susan Allen in the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Other team members:

  • Elise Olson
  • Michael Dunphy
  • Doug Latornell
  • Ben Moore-Maley
  • Tereza Jarníková
  • Nancy Soontiens (emeritus)
  • Kate Le Souëf (emeritus)
  • Jie Liu (emeritus)
  • Idalia Machuca (emeritus)
  • Muriel Dunn (emeritus)
  • James Petrie (emeritus)
  • Giorgio Sgarbi (emeritus)
  • Vicky Do (emeritus)

The team collaborates with other MEOPAR funded research teams at UBC:

  • The observations team in EOAS lead by Rich Pawlowicz:
    • Mark Halverson
    • Romain Di Costanzo
    • Chuning Wang (emeritus)
  • The impacts and indictors of marine hazards team in the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning lead by Stephanie Chang:
    • Jackie Yip
    • Rebecca Chaster
    • Ashley Lowcock
    • Michelle Marteleira
    • Greg Oulahen
    • Shona van Zijll de jong (emeritus)
    • Christopher Carter (emeritus)

We also collaborate with MEOPAR researchers and NEMO users across Canada:

  • Keith Thompson, Dalhousie University
  • Vasily Korabel, Dalhousie University
  • Youyu Lu, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • J-P Paquin, Environment and Climate Change, Canada
  • Fatemeh Chegini, Dalhousie University
  • Luc Fillion, Environment Canada
  • Kao-Shen Chung, Environment Canada
  • Weiguang Chang, Environment Canada
  • Jim Christian, Environment Canada
  • Olivier Riche, Environment Canada

Much of our evaluation data, some of our funding, and access to computing resources for our daily runs comes from Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) Our contacts with ONC include:

  • Richard Dewey, Associate Director, Science
  • Steve Mihaly, Senior Staff Scientist
  • Mike Morley, Data Manager
  • Akash Sastri, Senior Staff Scientist
  • Lu Guan, Junior Staff Scientist
  • Dwight Owens, User Engagement
  • Leslie Elliot, Communications Manager

Other funders include:

We collaborate with many other researchers, including:

  • Hayley Dosser, Hakai Foundation
  • Michael Dunphy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Mike Foreman, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Charles Hannah, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Debby Ianson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Diane Masson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Parker MacCready, University of Washington
  • John Morrison, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Paul Myers, University of Alberta
  • Angelica Pena, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Greg Smith, Enivironment and Climate Change, Canada
  • Neil Swart, Environment and Climate Change, Canada
  • Pramod Thupaki, Hakai Foundation