Sea Current Modelling in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea
An accurate estimation of the ocean surface dynamics is essential for several activities around the globe including the Eastern Mediterranean. Some examples where operational forecasting is vital include oil spill modelling, search and rescue operations, and dispersion of pollutants emanating from heavily populated coastal areas. This project endeavors towards establishing an oceanographic monitoring and forecasting system with the primary objective of generating dependable and precise estimations of sea currents in the Eastern Mediterranean region, focusing specifically on the area surrounding the island of Cyprus.
As a first step, this work compares existing open-source hydrodynamic ocean numerical models and data products designed for predicting sea surface currents, and assesses their feasibility for implementation in the Cyprus region for validation and comparison. In particular, we review the following three hydrodynamic numerical models plus a well-known data product: (1) Cyprus Coastal Ocean Forecasting Observing Model (CYCOFOS), (2) MIT General Circulation Model (MITgcm), (3) Unstructured Grid Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM), and (4) Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS).
Subsequently, the research concentrates on the incorporation of in-situ observations gathered from ships (via Automatic Identification System data) and autonomous multi-sensor floating devices. These observations are synergized with the dead reckoning technique, a navigational method, in order to better understand the complex dynamics of sea currents in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. This enhances the model's accuracy, particularly in coastal areas. The developed operational oceanographic monitoring and forecasting system aids in better management of the marine environment and mitigates environmental issues arising from maritime economic activities. Local authorities in Cyprus could effectively use the proposed system for oil spill monitoring, assessing ecological risks, and search and rescue operations.