SANIFS – Southern Adriatic Northern Ionian coastal Forecasting System

CMCC-OPA division has been developing and maintaining the Southern Adriatic Northern Ionian coastal Forecasting System (SANIFS) operational since September 2014.

SANIFS  is a coastal-ocean operational system providing short-term forecasts. The operational chain is based on a downscaling approach starting from the large-scale system for the entire Mediterranean basin (MFS, Mediterranean Forecasting system, e.g. Tonani et al., 2008, Oddo et al., 2014), which provides the open-sea fields. SANIFS is built on the unstructured-grid finite-element three-dimensional hydrodynamic SHYFEM model (e.g. Umgiesser et al., 2004, Ferrarin et al., 2013).

The model configuration has been outlined to provide reliable hydrodynamics and active tracer forecasts in mesoscale-shelf-coastal waters of Southern Eastern Italy (Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria regions) thanks to the high and proper horizontal resolution, ranging from 3 km in open-sea to 500-50 m in coastal areas.

The model is forced: (i) at the lateral open boundaries through a full nesting strategy directly with the MFS (temperature, salinity, sea surface height and currents) and OTPS (tidal forcing) fields; (ii) at surface through two alternative atmospheric forcing datasets (ECMWF-12km and COSMOME-6km) via MFS-bulk-formulae (e.g. Pinardi et al., 2003).

SANIFS open-sea features has been validated comparing model results with observed data, such as argo floats, CTD, XBT and satellite SST, and with the MFS operational products. The large-scale oceanographic dynamics reproduced by the model are fully consistent with MFS (Federico et al., 2014).

A deeper investigation has been performed at the coastal scale, where the SANIFS outputs have been validated with the sea level measured at the Italian tide-gauges stations. The tidal analysis shows that SANIFS is capable of reproducing the most significant features of the diurnal and semi-diurnal components, in terms of both amplitude and phase (Federico et al., 2015). Moreover, model results have been verified in terms of velocity fields in specific coastal areas, both in Ionian and Adriatic seas.

The forecast quality has been evaluated using SANIFS to provide forecast bulletins, during operations in the oceanographic cruise campaign MREA 2014 (Marine Rapid Environmental Assessment) in Taranto Gulf, and comparing the results with the collected data (CTD, XBT, ADCP, etc.). The results highlight the capabilities of SANIFS to comply with the observed sea conditions at three different scales (meso, shelf-coastal and coastal-harbor scales).


  • Federico, I., Oddo, P., Pinardi, N., and Coppini, G., 2014. Towards a coastal ocean forecasting system in Southern Adriatic Northern Ionian seas based on unstructured-grid model. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 16, EGU2014-16839-1, 2014, EGU General Assembly 2014.
  • Federico, I., Pinardi, N., Oddo, P., Coppini, G., Lecci, R., and Vukicevic, T., 2014. Operational coastal forecast system in Southern Adriatic Northern Ionian seas based on unstructured-grid model. The 47th International Liege Colloquium on Marine Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Prediction, Liege, 2015.
  • Oddo, P., Bonaduce, A., Pinardi, N., and Guarnieri, A., 2014. Sensitivity of the Mediterranean sea level to atmospheric pressure and free surface elevation numerical formulation in NEMO. Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., 7, 3985-4017.
  • Pinardi, N., Allen, I., Demirov, E., De Mey, P., Korres, G., Lascaratos, A., Le Traon, P.-Y., Maillard, C., Manzella, G., and Tziavos, C., 2003. The Mediterranean ocean forecasting system: first phase of implementation (1998-2001). Ann. Geophys., 21, 3-20.
  • Tonani, M., Pinardi, N., Dobricic, S., Pujol, I. and Fratianni, C., 2008. A high-resolution free-surface model of the Mediterranean Sea. Ocean Science, 4, 1, 1-14.
  • Umgiesser G., Melaku Canu D., Cucco A. and Solidoro C., 2004. A finite element model for the Venice Lagoon. Development, set up, calibration and validation. Journal of Marine Systems, 51, 14, 123-145


Ivan Federico.

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