Ocean Circulation Lab
USF College of Marine Science

Surface Currents & Sea Level in Tampa Bay

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Tampa Bay Coastal Ocean Model (TBCOM) is an application of the unstructured grid Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) to the Tampa Bay region, including Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, the Intra-Coastal Water Way, and all of the inlets connecting these water bodies with the adjacent Gulf of Mexico. TBCOM is nested within a larger domain West Florida Coastal Ocean Model(WFCOM) so that is downscales from the deeper Gulf of Mexico, across the West Florida Continental Shelf and into Tampa Bay. Shown above is a movie of TBCOM simulated surface currents and sea level (consisting of a one day hindcast and a three day nowcast/forecast) for a portion of the TBCOM domain. TBCOM is a fully three-dimensional, density dependent model simulating sea level, velocity, salinity and temperature.

TBCOM applications presently include:

  1. Sea Level prediction in tide gauges.
    1. St. Petersburg.
    2. Clearwater Beach.
    3. Mckay Bay.
    4. Port Manatee.
    5. Old Port Tampa.
    6. Tierra Verde.
  2. Surface Currents & Sea Level in difference regions
    1. Tampa Bay.
    2. Old Tampa Bay.
    3. Sarasota Bay.
  3. Red tide tracking.
  4. Piney Point effluent evolution.

The TBCOM development was funded by the Pinellas County RESTORE Act Program, and it continues with support by the College of Marine Science (CMS), University of South Florida (USF) and other agency support (e.g., NOAA/IOOS/SECOORA, NOAA/USF COMIT, State of Forida through FWC/FWRI, and Florida DEP). Further information may be obtained from the Principal Investigator, Prof. Robert H. Weisberg, if you have any questions.


Chen, J., Weisberg, R.H., Liu, Y., & Zheng, L. (2018), The Tampa Bay Coastal Ocean Circulation Model performance for Hurricane Irma, MTS Journal, 52(3), 33-42, https://doi.org/10.4031/MTSJ.52.3.6.

Chen, J., Weisberg, R.H., Liu, Y., Zheng, L., & Zhu, J. (2019), On the momentum balance of Tampa Bay, Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans, 124, 4492-4510, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JC014890.

Weisberg, R.H., Chen, J., Liu, Y. (2020), Hillsborough Bay inflow modification study.

Disclaimer: The analyses/data are research products under development. No warranty is made, expressed or implied, regarding accuracy, or regarding the suitability for any particular application. All rights reserved University of South Florida. Copyright University of South Florida 2018.