Real-time environmental forecasts of the Chesapeake Bay: model setup, improvements, and online visualization


  • A real-time environmental forecast system of the Chesapeake Bay has run since 2017.
  • Forecast includes salinity, temperature, oxygen, and acidification metrics.
  • Current conditions and 2-day forecasts are available on a mobile-friendly website.
  • Visualizations are updated regularly based on stakeholder feedback.
  • Model output is available on a THREDDS server for use by others via MARACOOS.


Daily real-time nowcasts (current conditions) and 2-day forecasts of environmental conditions in the Chesapeake Bay have been continuously available for 4 years. The forecasts use a 3-D hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model with 1 to 2 km resolution and 3-D output every 6 hours that includes salinity, water temperature, pH, aragonite saturation state, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, and hypoxic volume. Visualizations of the forecasts are available through a local institutional website ( and the MARACOOS Oceans Map portal ( Modifications to real-time graphics on the local website are routinely made based on stakeholder input and are formatted for use on a mobile device. Continuous model input files were developed from daily real-time forecast input files, for hindcast simulations and efficient evaluation and improvement of the real-time model. This manuscript describes the setup of the environmental forecasting system, how the model accuracy has been improved, and the revision of online graphics based on stakeholder feedback.

Bever A. J., Friedrichs M. A. M. & St-Laurent P., in press. Real-time Environmental Forecasts of the Chesapeake Bay: model setup, improvements, and online visualization. Environmental Modelling & Software. Article

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