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Rendering of Salish Sea and sourounding areas

Salish Sea Modeling Center

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The Salish Sea Modeling Center was established at the Puget Sound Institute in June 2020 to advance the use of hydrodynamic models for understanding the Salish Sea ecosystem. The center will initially focus on expanding the capabilities of the Salish Sea Model, an advanced computer simulator developed over the past decade. The Salish Sea Model accurately describes how water, sediments, and nutrients enter and cycle through the Salish Sea, and is widely used by resource and regulatory agencies in the region. The model was developed by Dr. Tarang Khangaonkar and his team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The center is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and other regional water quality partners. Read an announcement about the center.

The Salish Sea Model

A map image showing the range of the Salish Sea Model. Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
A map image showing the range of the Salish Sea Model. The range extends beyond the boundaries of the Salish Sea to include influences from coastal hydrodynamics. Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The Salish Sea Model (SSM) is a predictive coastal ocean model for estuarine research, restoration planning, water-quality management, and climate change response assessment. In addition to assessments of impacts from watershed runoff and wastewater discharges, the SSM is currently being utilized for the analysis of Salish Sea response to sea level rise, climate change, and propagation of global ocean acidification into the inner estuarine environment.

Researchers from various state and federal agencies engaged in efforts related to ecosystem management and restoration of the Salish Sea are assessing issues such as population growth, increasing nutrient loads, watershed runoff and pollution, and shoreline development that require hydrodynamic and water quality information.

More details about the Salish Sea Model and its history are available at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory website.

Research and projects

Animated .gif of surface layer transport in the Northwest Straits
Surface layer transport in the Northwest Straits

The Salish Sea Modeling Center modeling team will conduct numerous applications of this model on behalf of our collaborating partners to assist with nearshore habitat restoration planning and design, analysis in support of re-establishment of fish migration pathways, and assessment of basin-wide water quality impacts.

Habitat Restoration

Water Quality

Marine Pollution

Oil Spill Transport

Sediment Transport

Overview

Vision: The Salish Sea Modeling Center (SSMC) is a computational platform for the Salish Sea community of scientists and engineers engaged in basin-wide water quality protection and ecosystem restoration efforts.

By eliminating the challenges associated with (a) computational power and storage, (b) access to established regional models and associated analytical software, and (c) availability of skilled modelers for research and development support, the vision of complex hydrology, hydrodynamic, water quality, and ecosystem models on a single platform is realized.

Mission statement: SSMC will provide access and use of Salish Sea basin-wide models of hydrology, hydrodynamics, circulation, transport, water quality, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem (food web) to our community for a wide variety of marine environmental applications.

SSMC’s broad mission is to foster research and development using Salish Sea basin-wide state-of the-art comprehensive aquatic fate and transport models. SSMC was established with a focus on supporting researchers from various state and federal agencies engaged in efforts related to ecosystem management and restoration of the Salish Sea. These include assessing impacts from issues such as population growth, increasing nutrient loads, watershed runoff and pollution, and shoreline development that require hydrodynamic and water quality information. The Salish Sea Model (SSM) of circulation and water quality serves as the initial step, to be followed by similar efforts, collaboratively with established hydrology and food-web modeling groups in the future. SSM is the receiving water model that connects to hydrology at the pour points and provides initial conditions at the lowest trophic levels for use by ecosystem and food-web models for predictive applications. The SSM also provides the ability to conduct analysis of effluent dilution, transport, and flushing from wastewater and stormwater sources. Our short-term goal is to make SSM and previously computed solutions available over the shared SSMC space on the University of Washington HYAK supercomputer. SSMC will also provide model development and data analysis support for facilitating the use of available computational resources, models, and software. SSMC scientists are also available to participate in interdisciplinary research on grants and projects as Co-PIs.

Computational hardware: SSMC computational space is located on University of Washington supercomputer HYAK. It was established through a grant from the City of Tacoma to PSI. Initial SSMC hardware consists of 520 cores and 50 TB of storage for use by SSMC developers. SSMC expects to add more computational core capacity and storage based on demand and usage.

Hyak Next Generation Supercomputer
Hyak Next Generation Supercomputer

Software and models:

  • FVCOM v2.7 and v4.3
  • FVCOM-ICM v3 and v4
  • ADH
  • SUNTANS
  • GNOME
  • FVCOM-Plume
  • VELMA
  • ATLANTIS

How to collaborate with us:

Use of SSMC resources may be arranged by entering into a contractual arrangement with SSMC at the Puget Sound Institute (PSI) in the form of (a) an Interagency agreement with SSMC at PSI, or (b) a Time and Materials contract with PSI. Through these mechanisms, clients may arrange for the use of SSMC at four different levels:

  •  Cost associated with reserved use of SSMC computational core-hours and storage space.
  •  Technical support with the installation of proprietary software requested by the client or with the use of SSMC models and software.
  •  Training and technical support with the use of Salish Sea Model and post processing of stored solutions.
  •  Contract with SSMC to conduct a research and development for a client funded project.

Contact

Tarang Khangaonkar
Director, Salish Sea Modeling Center

Researchers

Tarang Khangaonkar, Director, Salish Sea Modeling Center
Stefano Mazzilli, Research Scientist, Puget Sound Institute
Adi Nugraha, Research Scientist, Coastal Modeling
Lakshitha Premathilake, Research Scientist, Coastal Modeling
Sukyong Yun, Project Intern

Sponsors

University of WashingtonCity of Tacoma
United States Environmental Protection AgencyPuget Sound Partnership