Public Release: 

Rosenstiel School student wins honor at ocean forecasting symposium

Research collaboration between UM, NOAA, NOPP, ONR recognized in Nice, France

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science


IMAGE: Of 166 posters from around the world presented, Univeristy of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Ph.D. student, Rafael Schiller and Co-Author/Advisor Dr. Villy Kourafalou earned "Best Poster "... view more

Credit: UM/RSMAS

NICE, France -- Of 166 posters from around the world presented by scientists during the Final Symposium of GODAE (Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment) held in Nice, France, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Ph.D. student, Rafael Schiller earned one of six coveted 'Best Poster' awards. The event celebrated ten Years of achievement in the field of Global Ocean Forecasting and marked the end of an international project that has made landmark strides in the scientific advancement of forecasting how the world's oceans affect climate, weather, and biogeochemical processes.

The research presented in Schiller's paper entitled, "On the use of GODAE and satellite products to improve coastal simulations on the northern Gulf of Mexico," was part of a collaborative effort with UM Rosenstiel School Research Associate Professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography and Co-Author Dr. Villy Kourafalou, as well as Drs. George Halliwell (UM-Rosenstiel School), Pat Hogan and Ole-Martin Smedstad (Naval Research Lab, Stennis Space Center), and Gustavo Goni (NOAA-AOML). Supported by the Office of Naval Research, the National Ocean Partnership Program, the NOAA Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Science (CIMAS) and the NOAA Northern Gulf of Mexico Cooperative Institute (NGI), their work demonstrates the dynamical downscaling of global model outputs to force coastal circulation models, which, in turn, add value to global products by predicting coastal phenomena, such as the transport and fate of riverine waters, and sea level changes due to frontal passages and hurricanes. The Northern Gulf of Mexico is a vital area for coastal ocean prediction, necessary for the management of ecosystem resources, storm preparedness and mitigation of sea level changes due to hurricanes and climate change. The currently available global models are inadequate to detail coastal processes. This study demonstrates how global products can be incorporated in high resolution coastal circulation models and combined with satellite-derived products to achieve improved coastal forecasting capabilities.

GODAE's operational oceanography systems helped create international networks of ocean observations that are assimilated in the models. These systems have been used to develop an increasing number of applications including: climate and seasonal forecasting, extreme event forecasting (e.g. tropical cyclones), pollution monitoring, marine safety and transport, fisheries, the offshore industry and management of shelf and coastal ecosystems. Although the project has achieved its initial goal of delivering regular, comprehensive information on the state of the oceans, GODAE-OceanView will continue to advance the science of ocean forecasting and increase analysis capacity, improving the utility of applications, and further sustaining the global ocean observing system.

Schiller's Ph.D. dissertation employs a high resolution model of the Northern Gulf of Mexico and large scale GODAE products to study the effect of the Loop Current on the removal of nutrient and sediment laden, low salinity waters from the Mississippi River delta, and into the Gulf interior, and the potential transport of those waters to the ecologically fragile coral reefs of the Florida Keys. His poster presentation also included the use of satellite remote sensing to trace Loop Current variability and its proximity to the Northern Gulf of Mexico over the last decade.

"Though this symposium marks the end of GODAE as a pivotal experiment in the advancement of ocean forecasting, it has opened the door for innovative operational services in the coastal seas, where the increasing number of people moving into the coastal zone and climate variability and change have caused unprecedented stresses on coastal ecosystems" said Kourafalou, who is a member of the GODAE Coastal and Shelf Seas Working Group and Schiller's advisor. "Rafael Schiller belongs to the newest generation of talented scientists who will advance the convergence between coastal and global models and contribute to the understanding and the ability to predict regional impacts of global change. The usefulness of GODAE systems to coastal forecasting is expected to be one of the measures of the long-lasting success of this international project."


About the Rosenstiel School

Founded in the 1940's, the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit

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