Surface Current and Water Level Pattern Evolution in 4.5 days

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.

The above animation shows the hourly maps of surface currents and water levels during one nowcast/forecast model simulation cycle (4.5 days), which can also be viewed in an interactive movie.

TBCOM applications presently include:

  1. Sea level projection and comparison at tide gauge locations New!
  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
  5. Convergence in Tampa Bay

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.


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,

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,

Chen, J., Weisberg, R.H., Liu, Y., & Zheng, L. (2023), Hillsborough Bay inflow modification study: An application of the Tampa Bay Coastal Ocean Model, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,

Chen, J., Weisberg, R.H., Liu, Y., Zheng, L., Law, J., Gilbert, S. & Murawski, S.A. (2023), A Tampa Bay coastal ocean model (TBCOM) nowcast/forecast system, Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography,

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 2022.