An integrated, high resolution, data-driven regional modeling system has been recently developed for the Red Sea region and is being used for research and various environmental applications.
The Red Sea, home to the second-longest coral reef system in the world, is a vital resource for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Red Sea provides 90% of the Kingdom’s potable water by desalinization, supporting tourism, shipping, aquaculture and fishing industries, which together contribute about 10-20% of the country’s GDP. All these activities, and those elsewhere in the Red Sea region, critically depend on oceanic and atmospheric conditions.
At a time of mega-development projects along the Red Sea coast, and global warming, authorities are working on optimizing the harnessing of environmental resources, including renewable energy, rainwater harvesting, etc. All these require high-resolution weather and climate information. Toward this end, we have undertaken a multi-pronged R&D activity in which we are developing an integrated data-driven regional coupled modeling system. The telescopically-nested components include 5km-600m resolution atmospheric models to address weather and climate challenges, 4km-50m resolution ocean models with regional and coastal configurations to simulate and predict the general and mesoscale circulation; 4km-100m ecosystem models to simulate the biogeochemistry; and 1km-50m resolution wave models. In addition, a complementary probabilistic transport modeling system predicts dispersion of contaminant plumes, oil-spill, and marine ecosystem connectivity. Advanced ensemble data assimilation capabilities have also been implemented for accurate forecasting.
Resulting achievements include significant advancement in our understanding of the regional circulation and its connection to the global climate, development and validation of long-term Red Sea regional atmospheric-oceanic-wave reanalyses, and forecasting capacities. These products are being extensively used by academia/government/industry in various weather and marine studies and operations, environmental policies, renewable energy applications, impact assessment, flood-forecasting, etc.