Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coastal Model Applications and Field Measurements > Research Components > Ocean Model Contributions

Coastal Model Applications and Field Measurements coastal ocean processes,open source coastal ocean models, oceanography, ocean modeling, sediment transport

Ocean Model Contributions

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) led a project funded by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), to develop a community sediment-transport modeling system (CSTMS).


Illustration of bottom sediment layers

Illustration of modeled sediment bed layers changing in response to sediment transport.

CSTMS was implemented in the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) ( and released as open-source code in 2007, as described by Warner et al., 2008. Since then, the USGS has made continuous contributions to ROMS as part of several USGS projects ( and to CSTMS under this project. A fully coupled ocean – atmosphere – waves – sediment-transport model (COAWST) derived from ROMS, SWAN, WRF, and CSTMS has been developed by John Warner. CSTMS algorithms have since been incorporated in other open-source models, including FVCOM ( and POLCOMS (

Recent additions to the model handle fine and cohesive sediment beds and floc dynamics (aggregation and disaggregation of particles) in the water column. A new model for spectral light attenuation and seagrass ecology has also been added. Future additions are likely to include effects of seagrass on shallow flows and mechanics of erosion of marsh edges.

Several panels of colored graphs and line drawings showing model output 

Model results from steady, uniform flow with floc dynamics. Left panels: time series of vertical profiles of (a) total suspended-sediment mass concentration, (b) mass-concentration-weighted average particle diameter, and (c) mass-concentration-weighted average settling velocity. Middle panels: Final profiles of (d) total concentration, (e) average diameter, and (f) average settling velocity. Right panel: (g) final vertical concentration profiles of each floc class (colors) and total concentration (black). Concentrations for the 20- and 27-µm diameter classes less than 10-6 and do not appear on the plot.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Feedback
Page Last Modified: (GW)