The Salish Sea Model

The Salish Sea Model is a computer model used to predict spatial and temporal patterns related to water circulation in the Salish Sea. It was developed at the United States Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. It is housed at the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute. 

Maps generated from the Salish Sea Model showing surface layer transport in the Northwest Straits (left) and sea surface salinity (right). Images: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Maps generated from the Salish Sea Model showing surface layer transport in the Northwest Straits (left) and sea surface salinity (right). Images: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Introduction

The Salish Sea Model (SSM) is a predictive coastal ocean model for estuarine research, restoration planning, water-quality management, as well as assessments of marine pollution, oil spill and sediment transport and climate change response. In addition to assessments of impacts from watershed runoff and wastewater discharges, the SSM is currently being utilized for the analysis of Salish Sea response to sea level rise, climate change, and propagation of global ocean acidification into the inner estuarine environment.

Researchers from various state and federal agencies engaged in efforts related to ecosystem management and restoration of the Salish Sea are assessing issues such as population growth, increasing nutrient loads, watershed runoff and pollution, and shoreline development that require hydrodynamic and water quality information.

The Salish Sea Model (SSM) of circulation and water quality will be followed by similar efforts to work collaboratively with established hydrology and food-web modeling groups in the future. The SSM is the receiving water model that connects to hydrology at the pour points and provides initial conditions at the lowest trophic levels for use by ecosystem and food-web models for predictive applications. The model also provides the ability to conduct analysis of effluent dilution, transport, and flushing from wastewater and stormwater sources.

View the Salish Sea Model (external link)