User Oriented Validation

As mentioned earlier, most of the validation methodology proposed for ocean models and OFS is based on the "oceanographer point of view". That is, evaluation of the large scale circulation, and smaller scale features in a general sense. Even if accuracy number and error bars can be produced by this approach, they might not fully satisfy some users.

For instance, a merchant ship captain may not be satisfied with a daily averaged map of sea-ice concentration, instead, he might prefer a map of ice-edge and position of ice-extent, with the probability of ice-drift for the next day. Many examples could be mentioned, particularly concerning coupled physical/biogeochemical parameters that impact ecosystem behaviour, or coastal applications (e.g., De Mey et al. 2009).

Oil spill prediction has been one of the applications particularly studied. Major disaster pushed authorities to develop oil spill models. They were first driven by wind and waves effects. With the availability of ocean current forecast, new oil spill models have been developed. In the framework of MERSEA, simulated experiment at sea, together with oil spill modeling have been carried out. Intercomparison has been a key point: oil spill predictions were performed using different OFS current. It allows to check the robustness of the predictions, and ensemble forecast analysis was performed (see Hackett et al. 2009 for a review). Similar studies were achieved for search and rescue drift-prediction models.

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