Office of Coast Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

NOAA releases new extratropical storm surge and tide forecast system for Micronesia

This week, the new Extratropical Storm Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System (ESTOFS) for the Micronesia region became operational in the tropical west Pacific. ESTOFS is one of the numerical ocean prediction products developed and maintained by NOAA's Office of Coast Survey. ESTOFS provides operational guidance on storm surge and tidal water levels for the nation’s coastal regions. Since 2012, the National Ocean Service has developed and deployed ESTOFS in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to cover the U.S. east, west, and Gulf coasts, Caribbean, and Hawaii.

ESTOFS-Micronesia is the first surge and tide operational model guidance available to forecasters in this vast mid-ocean region. With a dramatic lack of local water level observations in Micronesia, the importance of domain-wide tide and surge forecast guidance is evident. ESTOFS-Micronesia covers Palau, Guam and the Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Wake Island—a territory that is home for more than half a million people and major U.S. Naval and Air Force bases. Initial implementation provides an unstructured model grid with resolution up to 200 meters at the coast, and upland nodes up to the 10 meter elevation contour to enable coastal inundation guidance.

The ESTOFS-Micronesia development process involved a close collaboration with local forecasting offices and with partners at the National Weather Service Environmental Modeling Center. Coast Survey is actively improving ESTOFS systems with regular incremental upgrades of the model grids and implementation of new physics and data assimilation methods. Future plans for ESTOFS-Micronesia upgrades include real-time bias corrections and operational coupling with wave models.

ESTOFS is being run and operated by NCEP Central Operations on the high-performance Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System. Every six hours it provides seven-day surge and tide guidance for the U.S. coastal zones. The ESTOFS framework uses a state-of-the-art advanced ocean circulation model, ADCIRC, and is part of the NCEP production suite. Atmospheric forcing is provided by the National Weather Service’s Global Forecast System. ESTOFS guidance is actively used by local and regional forecasters, as well as by other NOAA modeling components such as the Nearshore Wave Prediction System.

Operational forecast guidance from ESTOFS-Micronesia are available in the netCDF and GRIB2 files described below via NCEP web services:
Where the directory is estofs_mic.YYYYMMDD (YYYYMMDD is year, month and day).