Ocean models

One of our key areas of expertise is the development of operational ocean models linked with ecosystem models. The models use advanced data assimilation techniques and deliver continuous information about the state of the sea to, among other things, central service providers in Copernicus, Europe's major Earth observation program for climate and environmental monitoring.

The ocean has a major impact on the climate and the nutrient base on earth. The sea is also a key global transport vein. Increased knowledge of the conditions in and on the ocean, such as temperature, nutrient salts, ocean currents, wind, and waves is a priority. In particular, knowledge of assumed changes in the shorter and longer term is important.

In mathematical models, arithmetic operations are used to simulate and predict processes in nature or society. Ocean models can reproduce how the ocean has been in the past, and how it will be in the future. This way we can also understand what causes the changes. In order to be able to produce the most precise calculations and forecasts possible, we work continuously to improve the ocean models we have developed.

Together with the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, the Institute of Marine Research, and the Danish Meteorological Institute, we are responsible for the Arctic part of the Marine Service in the EU’s Earth observation program Copernicus. We use the operational system TOPAZ, with the data assimilation technique Ensemble Kalman Filter, developed at the Nansen Center. Observations of the state of the sea are included in the model calculations, which makes the model results better and more precise.

We have expertise in linking marine ecosystem data and physical information about the sea. The model simulations can be used for many different purposes. Examples of use are increased insight into the climate development in the sea, planning of expeditions in areas with poor navigability, forecasting of the risk of algae blooms, and an overview of the spread of pollution.

For more information, contact research leader Annette Samuelsen.


Products and services


Client: Mercator Ocean International
Project owner: Nansen Center
Project leader at the Nansen Center: Laurent Bertino
Client: European Commission
Project owner: Mercator Ocean International
Project leader at the Nansen Center: Annette Samuelsen
Client: Ministry of Education and Research via the Bjerknes Centre
Project owner: NORCE
Project leader at the Nansen Center: Annette Samuelsen