Successful First Virtual COAWST Modeling System Training

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The COAWST (Coupled-Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport) modeling system is an open-source tool that combines many sophisticated models that each provide earth-system components necessary to investigate the dynamics of coastal storm impacts.

 Currently, COAWST has 800 registered users from around the world and many more are eager to get started. The USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) has led COAWST modeling system trainings every two years since 2012 to advance the user community by providing both a tutorial of the system and fundamental information about the modeling components. These trainings provide a great deal of value to COAWST users of all experience levels. 

Wave current vegetation module

 Dr. Tarandeep Kalra about to begin his presentation on the wave-current-vegetation module in the COAWST modeling system.  (Public domain.)

The latest COAWST modeling system training took place on May 24-27, 2021. Typically, these trainings are conducted in-person, however during the uncertain times of the pandemic,  this became the first virtual COAWST training. Each of the four days consisted of lectures to describe a model component, a tutorial to demonstrate development of a coupled application, and an opportunity for user support in breakout rooms. In addition to daily overviews and use case tutorials, a different expert in each of the modeling components presented each day of the training. Kelly Werner of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research discussed the atmospheric component of COAWST—the Weather Research and Forecast Model (WRF); Hernan Arango of Rutgers discussed the ocean component—the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS); Ali Abdolali of NOAA discussed one of the wave components—WAVEWATCHIII; Alfredo Aretxabaleta of the USGS WHCMSC discussed the sediment component—the USGS Community Sediment Models; Tarandeep Kalra of the USGS WHCMSC discussed the wave-current-vegetation module; Julia Moriarty of the University of Colorado, Boulder discussed the biogeochemistry coupling and biology modules; Christie Hegermiller of USGS WHCMSC discussed an infragravity  wave component—InWave; and Rich Signell, also of the USGS WHCMSC, discussed tools for working remotely with data. Over 200 people from around the world were interested in attending the training, though the invite list was capped at around 125 to ensure breakout rooms remained small enough to elicit valuable discussion and breakout room leads were able to answer every question. Each of the four training days were recorded and those recordings and presentation materials were made available to attendees at the end of each day. 

COAWST Modeling System Presentation

Dr. John Warner demonstrating a WRF use case for Hurricane Sandy. (Public domain.)

This first virtual COAWST modeling system training was a huge success! In the post-training feedback survey, the vast majority of attendees indicated that they were very satisfied with the training and that the information presented was very helpful. When asked for specific feedback on the training, one attendee replied, “I think the break out rooms were a very helpful part of this training as we could share our work, solve issues, and get useful and very interesting feedback about what we have been doing. Even though I didn't have much to share, I could learn a lot from other participants’ work and technical issues. I really appreciate the opportunity and congratulate everyone involved. The training was an amazing and valuable experience. Thank you!” Another attendee wrote, “I would like to congratulate the team that organised the event and all the presenters for the incredible work that you have done. It is not easy to hold an event online and you made this one very engaging and gave lots of opportunities to the participants to ask questions and solve any issues or discuss any topic that we wanted. The content was vast and the practical examples provided helped a lot to understand the functionalities and potentialities of each model and how they work coupled. For me, the training was a very positive experience and I thank you all for that! You do a fantastic job! Thank you very much!” An overwhelming 92% of attendees said they would be interested in attending another training and indicated which topics they would like to learn more about. 

COAWST Modeling System Presentation

A slide from Dr. Alfredo Aretxabaleta’s presentation on the sediment component of COAWST—the USGS Community Sediment Models.  (Public domain.)

As valuable as the training itself proved to be for COAWST users, the feedback has been equally as valuable to the COAWST team and meeting organizers and will be used to better serve the user community in the future. The USGS will continue to provide these trainings to enhance the user community and the modeling system itself.  

COAWST Modeling System Presentation

 A slide from Dr. Hernan Arango’s presentation on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS)—the ocean component of the COAWST modeling system. (Public domain.)

For more information about the COAWST Modeling System, visit the webpage: https://www.usgs.gov/centers/whcmsc/science/coawst-a-coupled-ocean-atmosphere-wave-sediment-transport-modeling-system

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