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Data from oceanography measurements and models.

Data Extent


UK Open Government Licence (OGL)

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Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Climatology 1.02

The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters (PFOW) model is an implementation of the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) and has a domain covering the northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland and Moray Firth, extending from approximately 0° - 5° W and 57° - 61° N. The model is part of the Scottish Shelf Model (SSM) suite of hydrodynamic models and is a downscaling of the wider Scottish Shelf Model. The model grid is unstructured with the highest horizontal resolution in the Pentland Firth where the typical node spacing is 100 – 150 m. Away from Orkney the model has a comparably low horizontal resolution. The vertical water column is resolved using 10 terrain following sigma layers, each representing 10% of the water column.

Variables include current velocities, water elevations, temperature and salinity, bed stress magnitude and various turbulence parameters (stored in netCDF format).

The data are from a single climatological year representing an average of the years 1990-2014.

O'Hara Murray, R., Campbell, L. 2021. Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Climatology 1.02. doi: 10.7489/12041-1

Data and Resources

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-4.921875 58.621922238835, -4.6142578125 60.426732506924, -1.142578125 61.49321498638, 0.8349609375 61.430230951304, 0.87890625 56.983156351559, -1.9775390625 57.24562276376, -1.922607421875 57.34190147797, -1.746826171875 57.46618897665, -1.900634765625 57.678273758788, -2.647705078125 57.678273758788, -3.394775390625 57.690020037549, -4.207763671875 57.483909928827, -3.966064453125 57.707632318611, -3.8671875 58.011553577823, -3.33984375 58.28404922069, -3.043212890625 58.422392665487, -3.021240234375 58.640329907913, -3.372802734375 58.657477837817, -4.24072265625 58.560194791832, -4.6142578125 58.537265306231))
Temporal Coverage
2016-06-06 to 2018-02-22
English (United Kingdom)
UK Open Government Licence (OGL)
Data Dictionary

The Scottish Shelf Model (SMM) is an implementation of the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM). FVCOM was developed by the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, USA, by Chen et al. (2003) and is still actively being developed.

The PFOW 1.02 is a full year climatological run, which represents average conditions with a 1993 tidal component. The model is nested within the wider SSM, i.e. it is forced at the open boundary by the wider SSM.

The model forcing is made up of the following:

Boundary conditions: Wider SSM climatology version 2.01 (De Dominicis et al. 2017, De Dominicis et al. 2018)
Atmospheric: ERA-interim (1990-2014) (Dee et al. 2011)
Freshwater input: Grid 2 Grid (1962-2011) climatology obtained from the Centre of Ecology (CEH) (Bell et al. 2007, Cole and Moore 2009)

For a full description of the original development of the PFOW model see Price et al. (2016). Although note that the model climatological model forcing is as described above (De Dominicis et al. 2017)

Bell, V. A., Kay, A. L., Jones, R. G., & Moore, R. J. (2007). Development of a high resolution grid-based river flow model for use with regional climate model output. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 11(1), 532–549.

Cole, S. J., & Moore, R. J. (2009). Distributed hydrological modelling using weather radar in gauged and ungauged basins. Advances in Water Resources, 32(7), 1107–1120.

De Dominicis, M., O’Hara Murray, R., & Wolf, J. (2017). Multi-scale ocean response to a large tidal stream turbine. Renewable Energy, 114, 1160–1179.

De Dominicis, M., O’Hara Murray, R., Wolf, J., & Gallego, A. (2018). The Scottish Shelf Model 1990 – 2014 climatology version 2.01.

Dee, D. P., Uppala, S. M., Simmons, A. J., Berrisford, P., Poli, P., Kobayashi, S., Andrae, U., Balmaseda, M. A., Balsamo, G., Bauer, P., Bechtold, P., Beljaars, A. C. M., van de Berg, L., Bidlot, J., Bormann, N., Delsol, C., Dragani, R., Fuentes, M., Geer, A. J., … Vitart, F. (2011). The ERA-Interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 137(656), 553–597.

O’Hara Murray, R. B., & Gallego, A. (2017). A modelling study of the tidal stream resource of the Pentland Firth, Scotland. Renewable Energy, 102(B), 326–340.

Price, D., Stuiver, C., Johnson, H., Gallego, A., & O’Hara Murray, R. (2016). The Scottish Shelf Model. Part 2: Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Sub-Domain. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science, 7(4), 248.

Contact Name
Marine Scotland Science Oceanography
Contact Email
Public Access Level