Sistema de Previsão Oceânica e Costeira


As oil exploration moves into deeper water, capital risk is increasing and so is the criticality of predicting the circulation regime that vessels, rigs, and platforms will have to contend with. SPOC, for “Sistema de Previsão Oceânica e Costeira,” is intended to provide such prediction for the southeastern Brazilian shelf, a region of offshore petroleum reserves of still unmeasured extentt.

The Brazilian national research foundation, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico, has awarded SMAST Prof. Avijit Gangopadhyay and his Brazilian collaborator, Prof. Ilson da Silveira of the University of Sao Paulo, a two-year grant to develop a prototype SPOC.

The proposed modeling system will employ so-called “feature-oriented” methodology to generate the most detailed circulation predictions for an area which is lacking in ocean observations. Gangopadhyay, along with Allan Robinson of Harvard, has led the development of feature-oriented modeling.

Numerical ocean models rely on the coverage of the ocean basin of interest by actual physical measurements. FORMS (feature-oriental regional modeling system) technology modulates this expensive requirement by incorporating persistent features (currents, eddies, jets, etc.) of the basin circulation, as identified by satellite remote sensing. The result is a very efficient means of simulating the dynamics of an ocean basin with a paucity of available observations.

Silveira and Gangopadhyay have been laying the groundwork for SPOC for several years, involving not only their respective universities, but also the Brazilian Navy, and the Brazilian oil company Petrobras. The Brazilian Navy, which will operate SPOC once it is operational, will begin sending personnel to SMAST for training in 2007.

The Oceanographic Modeling and Analysis Laboratory is involved in applying FORMS models to ocean basins around the world. To date, FORMS has been applied to the western North Atlantic (including the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank region), Monterey Bay and the California Current system, the Strait of Sicily, and the Arabian Sea.

The Brazil Current Meandering

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