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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 3 | Copyright
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 915-935, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model description paper 12 Mar 2018

Model description paper | 12 Mar 2018

Modular System for Shelves and Coasts (MOSSCO v1.0) – a flexible and multi-component framework for coupled coastal ocean ecosystem modelling

Carsten Lemmen1, Richard Hofmeister1,4, Knut Klingbeil2,a, M. Hassan Nasermoaddeli3,b, Onur Kerimoglu1, Hans Burchard2, Frank Kösters3, and Kai W. Wirtz1 Carsten Lemmen et al.
  • 1Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
  • 2Department of Physical Oceanography and Instrumentation, Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research, 18119 Rostock-Warnemünde, Germany
  • 3Section Estuary Systems I, Bundesanstalt für Wasserbau, 22559 Hamburg, Germany
  • 4Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, Universität Hamburg, 22767 Hamburg, Germany
  • anow at: Department of Mathematics, University of Hamburg, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • bnow at: Landesbetrieb Straßen, Brücken und Gewässer, Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, 20097 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. Shelf and coastal sea processes extend from the atmosphere through the water column and into the seabed. These processes reflect intimate interactions between physical, chemical, and biological states on multiple scales. As a consequence, coastal system modelling requires a high and flexible degree of process and domain integration; this has so far hardly been achieved by current model systems. The lack of modularity and flexibility in integrated models hinders the exchange of data and model components and has historically imposed the supremacy of specific physical driver models. We present the Modular System for Shelves and Coasts (MOSSCO;, a novel domain and process coupling system tailored but not limited to the coupling challenges of and applications in the coastal ocean. MOSSCO builds on the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF) and on the Framework for Aquatic Biogeochemical Models (FABM). It goes beyond existing technologies by creating a unique level of modularity in both domain and process coupling, including a clear separation of component and basic model interfaces, flexible scheduling of several tens of models, and facilitation of iterative development at the lab and the station and on the coastal ocean scale. MOSSCO is rich in metadata and its concepts are also applicable outside the coastal domain. For coastal modelling, it contains dozens of example coupling configurations and tested set-ups for coupled applications. Thus, MOSSCO addresses the technology needs of a growing marine coastal Earth system community that encompasses very different disciplines, numerical tools, and research questions.

Publications Copernicus
Short summary
To describe coasts in a computer model, many processes have to be represented, from the air to the water to the ocean floor, from different scientific disciplines. No existing computer model adequately addresses this complexity. We present the Modular System for Shelves and Coasts (MOSSCO), which embraces this diversity and flexibly connects several tens of individual process models. MOSSCO also makes it easier to bring local knowledge to the Earth system level.
To describe coasts in a computer model, many processes have to be represented, from the air to...