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Scottish Shelf Model 3.01 - 26 Year Reanalysis

The Scottish Shelf Model (SSM) 3.01 26 Year Reanalysis, otherwise referred to as the Scottish Shelf Waters Reanalysis Service (SSW-RS), is a hindcast model, run from 1993 to 2018, covering the Scottish continental shelf waters as well as most of UK waters, the North Sea and the English Channel. The domain extends from approximately 48° - 62° N and 13° W - 13° E. The SSM 3.01 26 Year Reanalysis was developed and run by the National Oceanography Centre. The model output, which includes hourly horizontal currents and water elevation fields, daily mean fields of three-dimensional currents, temperature and salinity, on the unstructured model mesh, is available for download from Registration is required to access this data via the SSW-RS website:

The SSM implements the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model which utilises an unstructured computational grid enabling the model to resolve many small scale coastal features. The horizontal resolution ranges from 1 km at the coast to 20 km at the outer boundary. The vertical water column is resolved using 20 terrain following sigma layers, each representing 5% of the water column. Products provided by Copernicus Marine Service were used to force the model at open boundaries, to provide sea surface temperature data assimilation and to calibrate/validate the model.

De Dominics, M., O'Hara Murray, R., Campbell, L. 2021. Scottish Shelf Model 3.01 - 26 Year Reanalysis. doi: 10.7489/12355-1

Data and Resources

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-13.095703125 48.841220728215, -13.095703125 61.421692072587, 12.744140625 61.421692072587, 12.744140625 48.841220728215))
Temporal Coverage
1993-01-01 to 2018-12-31
English (United Kingdom)
Other (Non-Commercial)
Data Dictionary

The SSM 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. FVCOM is a three dimensional (3D) ocean model using the finite volume method to discretise the governing equations in integral form and solve them numerically using the finite difference method over the computational grid. FVCOM uses an unstructured irregular grid in the horizontal plane, composed of triangular elements which can vary in shape and size.

Below is a summary of the datasets used to force the Scottish Shelf Waters Reanalysis. More information is available at

Open boundary forcing along the Atlantic boundary:
The Atlantic boundary was forced by the Met-Office European North West Shelf ocean physics reanalysis for temperature, salinity, residual (non-tidal) current speed, and residual sea surface height (SSH) (O’Dea et al., 2012, 2017, previously available from Copernicus Marine Service,, NORTHWESTSHELF_REANALYSIS_PHY_004_009) were combined with hourly tidal current speeds and SSH from TPXO9-atlas harmonic tides (Egbert and Erofeeva, 2002).

Open boundary forcing along the Baltic boundary:
The Baltic boundary was forced by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) hourly Baltic Sea Physics Reanalysis data for SSH and residual current speeds. These were supplemented with tidal currents from TPXO9-atlas tidal harmonics (Egbert and Erofeeva, 2002). The Baltic Sea Physics Reanalysis data were used for daily temperature, salinity, residual current speed, and SSH. These reanalysis data can be found on the Copernicus Marine Service (, BALTICSEA_REANALYSIS_PHY_003_011).

Atmospheric forcing:
ERA5 atmospheric data (Hersbach, 2020) were used for surface forcing of mean sea level pressure, precipitation, evaporation, surface air temperature, thermal/solar radiations and wind velocity.

Fresh water forcing:
Climatological daily river volume fluxes from the Hydrological Predictions for the Environment over Europe (E-HYPE) dataset from the SMHI (Arheimer et al., 2020) were used for fresh water forcing of the SSW-RS domain. This dataset was combined with the Grid-to-Grid (G2G) model from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to include river fluxes outside of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The combined dataset of Scottish-Northern Irish rivers with Northwest European Shelf rivers contains daily volume flux and temperature for 912 rivers in the SSW-RS domain.

Data Assimilated:
Daily sea surface temperatures were assimilated from the Ocean Data Analysis System for Marine Environment and Security for the European Area (ODYSSEA) satellite dataset (Autret et al., 2019), available on the Copernicus Marine Service (, SST_ATL_SST_L4_REP_OBSERVATIONS_010_026).

The Atlantic Margin Model 1.5 km gridded bathymetry was interpolated to the unstructured SSM grid. These bathymetry data originated from EMODnet (, adjusted from lowest astronomical tide (LAT) to mean sea level (MSL) vertical reference datum (Graham et al., 2018).

A paper detailing the development of the SSW-RS and the data used to force it is currently being produced (Barton et al., In prep.).


Arheimer, B., Pimentel, R., Isberg, K., Crochemore, L., Andersson, J. C. M., Hasan, A., & Pineda, L. (2020). Global catchment modelling using World-Wide HYPE (WWH), open data, and stepwise parameter estimation. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24(2), 535–559.

Autret, E., Piollé, J. F., Tandéo, P., Prévost, C. (2020) ODYSSEA Level 4 Sea Surface Temperature Reprocessing over the European North West Shelf / Iberai Biscay Irrish Seas Reprocessing SST-ATL-SST-L4-REP-OBSERVATIONS-010-026, Tech. Rep. 1.3,

Chen, C., Liu, H., & Beardsley, R. C. (2003). An Unstructured Grid, Finite-Volume, Three-Dimensional, Primitive Equations Ocean Model: Application to Coastal Ocean and Estuaries. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 20(1), 159–186.<0159:AUGFVT>2.0.CO;2

Egbert, G. D., & Erofeeva, S. Y. (2002). Efficient inverse modeling of barotropic ocean tides. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 19(2), 183–204.<0183:EIMOBO>2.0.CO;2

Graham, J. A., O’Dea, E., Holt, J., Polton, J., Hewitt, H. T., Furner, R., Guihou, K., Brereton, A., Arnold, A., Wakelin, S., Castillo Sanchez, J. M., & Mayorga Adame, C. G. (2018). AMM15: a new high-resolution NEMO configuration for operational simulation of the European north-west shelf. Geoscientific Model Development, 11(2), 681–696.

Contact Name
Marine Scotland
Contact Email
Public Access Level