Operational Ocean-Ice Forecasting

Why does Canada need Ocean Forecasting Services?

Ocean forecasting services are intended to provide Canadians with the best possible environmental forecasts, including improved short-term weather forecasts and more accurate ocean (temperature, currents, waves, tides and storm surge) and ice forecasts. Extreme variations in Canadian weather present decision-making challenges to the general public, industry and government operations. The continuous improvement of weather forecasting systems is essential to improve prediction information to ensure economic benefits, economic and environmental security, as well as human safety in a changing climate.

Experimental and Operational Ocean Forecasting Products

Our focus is in developing both experimental and operational products for ocean-ice forecasting by integrating observations of the atmosphere, oceans and sea ice. As a part of a Government of Canada interagency collaboration, these observations are integrated into computer models to deliver automated, real-time descriptions of ocean and ice conditions and behaviour. Enhanced knowledge of ocean conditions can also provide a better understanding and management of Canadian marine ecosystems, especially under a changing climate.

These new forecasting products provide high resolution predictive information on timescales from an hour to a week on surface ocean conditions as well as for the deep ocean. Products related to the reliability of forecasts are also available, based on the amount and accuracy of the ocean data used in the forecast system. The predictive information can be used by computer application developers in industry, government and marine services to improve the safety and outcomes of marine operations and coastal activities. Ocean forecasting products will provide information to further our understanding of the marine ecosystem and the integrated management of marine resources and activities. In addition ocean prediction products will provide a more effective response for both search and rescue and marine contaminant spill events. Opportunities for new applications exist for operations in marine transport, defence, and resource industries, among others. Applications are also possible for economic activities, such as planning for coastal communities, environmental assessments, insurance and others.

Web Access to Ocean Forecasting Products and other related services

Ocean forecasting products are accessible via web services as well as through real-time and archived data dissemination systems. This coordinated Government of Canada approach will replace previous project- based forecasting products (e.g. such as the Canadian East Coast Ocean Model (CECOM) forecast system for the East Coast). Additional information is available upon request. Other related web accessible services are listed here. Services such as the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) exist to provide weather forecasting systems generating information on weather (present and historical), marine forecasts, alerts and air quality. Information about ice in Canada’s navigational waters is provided by the Canadian Ice Service (CIS) which provides daily ice charts and ice thickness data to the general public. The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) provides web-based services including modelled surface currents (MSC) for navigation and water level data (WLD).


Today's ice and ocean forecasts from global
and regional systems are available here.