NOAA's Tampa Bay Oceanography Project

by Kurt W. Hess, NOAA, Rockville, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The Office of Oceanography and Marine Assessment of NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS) is presently conducting the Tampa Bay Oceanography Project (TOP). TOP was undertaken in response to mariners' observations that NOAA's current and water level predictions did not always reflect actual conditions, particularly near the New Sunshine Skyway Bridge (the site of two fatal marine casualties). The NOAA tidal current predictions are based on data collected in 1963. Since then, major changes in the shape of the basin have altered the Bay's hydrodynamics, affecting the predictions. TOP consists of three major components: (1) an intensive 15-month survey of currents, water levels, water temperature and salinity, winds, and other meteorological parameters that began in June, 1990; (2) development and application of a three-dimensional, time-varying, curvilinear-grid numerical circulation model; and (3) installation of the nation's first fully integrated Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS), including information on currents, water levels, and winds at locations where these data are critical for safe navigation. The project's primary goal is to produce more accurate, timely, and useful current and tide predictions for the Bay.

Subject Headings: Oceanography | Tides | Bays | Water level | Water circulation | Salt water | Project management | Tampa | Florida | United States

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