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COAWST: A Coupled-Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave- Sediment Transport Modeling System

Diagram of the model process
Figure 1. The COAWST Modeling System that joins an Ocean model, an Atmosphere model, a Waves model, and a Sediment Transport Model for studies of coastal change.

To better identify the significant processes affecting our coastlines and how those processes create coastal change we have developed a Coupled Ocean – Atmosphere – Wave – Sediment Transport (COAWST) Modeling System, which is integrated by the Model Coupling Toolkit to exchange data fields between the ocean model ROMS, the atmosphere model WRF, the wave model SWAN, and the sediment capabilities developed as part of the Community Sediment Transport Modeling Project.

Modeling steps
Figure 2. Data fields exchanged between each model.

We began with a coupled modeling system as described in Warner et al (2008) and have enhanced that system to include concurrent one-way grid refinement in the ocean model, concurrent one-way grid refinement in the wave model, coupling an atmospheric model to include effects of sea surface temperature and waves, exchange of fields on refined grid levels, and interpolation mechanisms to allow the different models to compute on different grids. Full description provided in Warner et al (2010).

An application of the modeling system is demonstrated as part of the Carolinas Coastal Change Processes Project    Access to the coupled system is obtained by contacting John Warner via email at: .


Warner, J.C., Sherwood, C.R., Signell, R.P., Harris, C., Arango, H.G., 2008b. Development of a three-dimensional, regional, coupled wave, current, and sediment-transport model. Computers and Geosciences, 34, 1284-1306.

Warner, J.C., Armstrong, B., He, R., and Zambon, J.B., 2010, Development of a Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport (COAWST) modeling system: Ocean Modeling, v. 35, no. 3, p. 230-244. (Available as a PDF version).

Some symbols used are courtesy of the Integration and Application Network (, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

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