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The basic elements of a prototype operational data assimilation modeling system that can provide near-real-time information on the ocean water property and circulation environment in the Gulf of Maine (GOM)/Georges Bank (GB) region are described in this paper. This application of the Harvard Ocean Prediction System (HOPS, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA) model includes development of protocols for the following: 1) the production of model initial fields from an objective blending of climatological and feature model (FM) hydrographic data with fishing-boat-measured bottom temperature data, 2) the ldquowarm startrdquo of the model to produce reasonably realistic initial model fields, 3) converting real-time Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanographic Center (FNMOC, Monterey, CA) model nowcast and forecast winds and/or National Data Buoy Center (NDBC, Stennis Space Center, MS) operational wind measurements to model wind stress forcing fields, and 4) the assimilation of satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST). These protocols are shown herein to evolve the initial model fields, which were dominated by climatological data, toward more dynamically balanced, realistic fields. Thus, the model nowcasts, with the assimilation of one SST field, are well positioned to produce reasonably realistic ocean fields within a few model days (MDs).