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Coastal Ocean Modeling Framework (COMF)
The Coastal Ocean Modeling Framework (COMF) is an end-to-end set of standards and tools for NOAA National Ocean Service's (NOS) operational hydrodynamic forecast models. These models are created by Coast Survey Development Laboratory (CSDL) and run in the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) operational environment. The usage of COMF by all NOAA/NOS operational models will allow a multiplicity of models to be maintained in an efficient and robust manner. The framework consists of implementation of standards for methods to read a variety of data sources to run a real-time modeling forecast system. A set of middleware provides a common look to all data sources so that models can be easily developed, maintained and enhanced in the future. By standardizing operational models, great efficiency is achieved in building and testing. This should allow NOS to develop and implement forecast models faster and of higher quality.

The goal of COMF is to provide a comprehensive software infrastructure to increase ease of use, performance, portability, interoperability, and reuse in estuarine, coastal, and Great Lakes forecast modeling, and to provide a common interface to other NOAA and extramural partners and stakeholders. COMF will provide a software framework for individual research, model production, and the critical operational environment. COMF is an absolute necessity for NOS to successfully support NOAA's mission goals and become a leader in estuarine and coastal modeling. The COMF is essentially a collection of middleware providing uniform methods for all operational models to access data sources and produce outputs.

The COMF components are composed of UNIX scripts (Bourne shell), FORTRAN programs, PERL scripts, and IDL for graphics. The new systems will consist of ten logically and simply defined modules which will be found in each model main script. Throughout this document an example of the Chesapeake Bay Operational Forecast System (CBOFS) main script, MAIN_CBOFS.sh is used to demonstrate the usage of the modules and other scripting techniques.

The COMF is largely a collection of unified data scripts which greatly simplify the access of data sources to force the hydrodynamic models. It is also a set of standards for running models, archiving results, and standardizing output file formats. These tools facilitate community modeling, as modelers can concentrate on the physical science behind the numerical models and not on the details of running the computer systems. This modeling framework will eventually be integrated into the NOAA-wide effort to develop a unified modeling framework known as the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF).  The ESMF is designed for large scale computing tasks like climate modeling and satellite data assimilation. Our needs are far smaller and COMF acts as a bridge to full integration of the NOAA modeling frameworks.

Components of COMF

Data Bank

The Data Bank is the collective repository of the real time data and the various operational forecast products which are necessary to run the models. There is no single computer and no single hard disk drive which is the data bank for COMF. Rather models access data from a variety of sources, some local, some from the Internet, some archival and some real-time. The Operational Data Acquisition and Archiving System is a large part of this, providing access to NWS forecast products. The CO-OPS National Water Level Observation Program (NWLON) water level and PORTS database is another integral part. However, some databases do not reside in CSDL or CO-OPS. For instance, direct reading of data from websites, which provide sufficient flexibility, would be better than trying to recreate and maintain extensive, duplicative databases. In fact the method of daily downloads via FTP to a local data base has been found to be less reliable than direct access to websites, which are vigorously maintained as agencies' primary data distribution tools. Databases of this sort include the National Data Bouy Center (NDBC) buoy and station database, the United States Geological Service (USGS) river stage and discharge database, and Distributed Oceanographic Data System (DODS) server data made available by OCEAN.US sources.

Data Readers
The core of COMF is the collection of data readers. The purpose of the data readers is to abstract the concept of grabbing data from the actual act. In the past each data source for each model was hand built and was subject to failure for a variety of reasons. By requiring models to access data only through the COMF data readers NOS has avoided this dangerous duplication of effort and produced a system which can be maintained with less effort. This table gives a quick overview of the readers available and the database sources. These databases include thos mentioned above as well as the North American Mesoscale (NAM) model and the Extratropical Storm Surge (ETSS) model. The script readers access only the physical data required to force the models. Forcing of biogeochemical models will require additional data readers.

Data

Script

NWLON

ETSS

NDBC

NAM

USGS

NWLONweb ETSSweb MDBCweb

Water Level

WLQCF.sh

+

+

-

-

+

+
+
 

Wind

WINDQCF.sh

+

-

+

+

+

+
-
+

Temperature
(Air, Water)

TEMPQCF.sh

+

-

+

+

+

+
-
+

Pressure

PRESQCF.sh

+

-

+

+

+

+

-

+

Salinity

SALTQCF.sh

+

-

+

-

+

+

-

-

Currents

CURRQCF.sh

+

-

-
 

-

-

+

-

-

Discharge

RIVERQCF.sh

-

-

-

-

+

-

-

-

Stage

WLQCF.sh

-

-

-

-

+

-

-

-


The data grabber scripts (WLQCF.sh, WINDQCF.sh, etc.) all behave in a similar manner. They require specification of the data base, a station id or geographical description, a starting time and an ending time. The data are returned in standardized ASCII file format, with all Quality Control and Formating already applied.
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