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In the perspective of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the Services and the Coastal modules, an important goal is to develop operational tools for those in charge of safety and regulation for coastal marine operations and constructions, as well as for the protection of the marine environment. In fact, the ongoing planning of the GOOS Coastal Module already recognises the need to consider such actors as 'strategic partners' for the development of GOOS. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has a global subgroup on ground based radars in ocean sensing (ROSE), bringing together different relevant activities both in Europe and in Australia, USA and Japan. Together with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), WMO conducts several global programs for monitoring and predicting the ocean environment.

Among such actors we find Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) operators, harbour management, coastal and waterways management and marine environmental protection organisations. These actors, in the following we use VTS as an example, are in a rapid development process due to general increase in traffic density and the new loads of environmental protection duties, and they feel the urge for more efficient tools. VTS, like other management tools, is an integrated concept embracing vessel and cargo data, seafloor, safety and rescue undertakings, and, in the context of the present proposal, the governing met-ocean conditions (winds, waves, water level and currents) which affect the safety and manoeuvrability of ships, operational performances etc. Further, the requirement for such information is not limited to the actual location of interest, but needed for a fairly extensive area surrounding the focus points. This is due to the existence of strong spatial variability within the area, as well as to the propagating nature of ocean phenomena (such as eddies).

The present proposal aims at developing a tool to be used by VTS operators, harbour and coastal managers, to monitor and predict the significant met-ocean conditions with high time/spatial resolution in limited sea areas surrounding locations of dense and sensitive marine operations. This tool consists of three basic elements, each one well matured and proven:

  1. The high frequency radar systems which provide gridded coverage of wave spectra and currents within a distance from 2 - 40 km off shore and a resolution of 0.5 - 2 km.
  2. Navigational X-band radar systems which provide near field wave spectra and surface current averages for significant subareas (about 1 kmē) within a range of 0.5 - 10 km.
  3. High resolution numerical models (less then 500 m) simulating and predicting all four classes of parameters in an area of about 40*40 kmē. Such models already exist and there is need to assimilate spatial radar sensed data into the model parameter fields in order to improve their initial fields for the prediction of the next two days.

This work is supported by the European Commission DG XII within the MAST-3 programme, project EuroROSE, CT98-0168.
last update 12-Apr-2000

Comments to: (Klaus-Werner Gurgel)