A pilot forecasting system providing sea characteristics & other support services on high local resolution

Operational oceanography is called the group of scientific methods and systems which systematically monitor, forecast and inform on the conditions of a given sea area. One of the main scopes of operational oceanography is the provision of an accurate and reliable set of information on current and future (forecasting) sea conditions. The systems which provide future estimations are the ocean forecasting systems. Each one of those systems includes the following structural components:

  1. the forecasting domain,
  2. the forecasting model,
  3. the calibration/ validation methodology,
  4. the output and the
  5. interactive interface with the users.

In global, European but also national level, ocean forecasting systems are well researched, developed and applied, but only regarding the structural components of the model, the ca/val methodology and the output. In every day practice, only but few from the scientific and analytic information leaves the scientific community and finds its way towards everyday users. In Greece the only ocean forecasting information that is widely disseminated and corresponds to sea conditions, is the wind direction and the empirical scale of wind intensity of “Beaufort”. There are some very few websites which provide sailing maps; coarse spatial analysis vectors representing wind overlaid on the Greek seas. Some of those websites also present forecasts of some sea parameters, again on coarse spatial analysis. A significant step towards the enbridgement of the gap between science and everyday practice, when it comes to ocean forecasting, was made by the cooperative project WaveForUs (NSRF 2007-2014) whose main partner was OMIKRON SA; beneficiary of this proposed project as well.

The aim of WaveForUs project was to develop a pilot ocean forecasting system, of high spatial resolution (2×2 km) for the Aegean Sea. The significant scientific and technical experience which was accumulated within WaveForUs as well as the remaining gap between ocean forecasting research and remaining high demand for accurate, analytic and local, ocean forecasting services for the Greek seas, were the two main reasons which led to the proposal of SeaLoc project. SeaLoc project aims in creating an integrated ocean forecasting system with accompanying services which will accommodate interaction with interested users via social networks, internet, mobile devices and through other well known relevant platforms. The accompanying services will be provided via targeted and specific applications (tailor-made design), with high temporal and spatial resolutions. These applications, apart from the well-known forecasting parameters like sea surface temperature, significant wave height and wave direction, current speed and direction, will be able to provide special ocean forecasting indices (on user demand) such as discomfort rate, ease of swim, water opacity, point-to-point guidance and others, as well as other targeted service upon user request. The pilot application of the system will be performed for the North Aegean, while specialized application of it will be developed for the internal and external sea are of Pagasitikos Gulf. The targeted application will be developed for the targeted needs of sailing in cooperation with “incrediblue” one of the most aspiring innovation platforms for private boat renting.

This project has received funding from the Management and Implementation Authority of the Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (MIA EPAnEK), Management and Implementation Authority for Research, Technological Development and Innovation Actions (MIA-RTDI) Τ1ΕΔΚ-03595