| Let The Games Begin!
SeaSonde® Mapping Currents at Olympic Sailing Race Area
8 August 2008
|For those asking, “what can top the colorful and dynamic Beijing
2008 Olympics opening ceremony?”, we have the answer: SeaSonde-derived
current maps of the sailing race area in Qingdao!
At the stroke of midnight 8 August (Beijing Standard Time) the North China Sea
Marine Forecasting Center of State Oceanic Administration (SOA) began posting
SeaSonde-produced hourly surface current maps on their Olympic Games Environmental
Observation and Forecasts web site. Data will be provided to the public throughout
the Olympic and Paralympic sailing event periods, taking place in August and
September, respectively. The SOA is also using SeaSonde data along with other
environmental data sets as input to Princeton Ocean Model creating marine environmental
forecasts of the region.
The SOA North Sea HF network consists of two SeaSonde radar units spaced approximately
20 km apart. The SeaSonde unit on isolated Dagong Island requires only 300 watts
power that is generated by wind turbine feeding into a battery array. Data from
both radar units are transmitted hourly back to SOA North Branch headquarters
office via wireless microwave radio relay.
CODAR company President and Co-founder Don Barrick had this comment, “since
my days at NOAA during the 1970’s there has been discussion of using HF
radar data in support of sailing race events. I have waited too many years, and
it may be half a world away, but it is now being done, and quite well! I applaud
the China State Oceanic Administration for breaking new ground in the application
of HF radar data from our SeaSonde systems. Thank you for pushing the envelope
|click image to enlarge
|SOA scientists and Laurel Technologies engineers review the SeaSonde central
management system residing at SOA North Branch headquarters.
click image to enlarge
|Snapshot of the SOA web page:
Typically winds play
a major role in race strategy; nonetheless, knowledge of the currents may
provide an edge needed to win. However Qingdao is notorious
for occasional periods of extreme calm during summer season, and under such
conditions knowledge of the ocean current structures may take on greater importance.
Shown here is a snapshot of the SOA’s HF radar web page, where near real-time
maps are posted hourly. The current maps, on a 500m resolution grid, reveal
a very strong tidal signature in the Qingdao region. Particularly strong jets
reaching current velocities in excess of two knots are seen occurring inside
the race circles (these are very near to shore) during portions of the tidal
With the race events just starting, there are sure to be more interesting current
patterns revealed. Be sure to bookmark the SOA’s data display page:
|SeaSonde current maps from Qingdao, PRC.
Data Courtesy of North China Sea Marine Forecasting Center of State Oceanic Administration.
8 August 2008 - 12 August 2008
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images to enlarge