Integration of low resolution SAR imagery in an EO-based metocean service for offshore industry
Jean-Yves Le Bras(1) , Fabien LEFEVRE(1) , and Robin Stephens(2)
8-10 rue Hermes Parc Technologique du Canal,
(2) Ocean Numerics, Fugro House, Hithercroft Road, Wallingford, Oxfords,OX10 9RB, United Kingdom
The exploration and exploitation of offshore oil and gas industry has moved from coastal to offshore areas where the metocean conditions are extreme. Thus, it is imperative that offshore operators understand and quantify ocean currents. For example, in the Gulf of Mexico, the Loop Current (an intrusion of warm water from the Caribbean flow into the South-Eastern Gulf) is a persistent but variable feature which periodically spins off eddies. The Loop Current, also have intense current velocities around their outer edge which creates a serious impact to offshore operations. According to the outcome of an ESA EOMD project (EMOFOR), Ocean Numerics has launched an Earth Observation and numerical model based service, Ocean FOCUS™ , which combines advanced satellite ocean observations, ocean modelling, cutting-edge data assimilation and oceanographers expertise to provide practical current forecasting, ocean observation and frontal information to support offshore operations.
Within the EMOFOR project, few SAR data were used. However, a simple processing chain has been developed using a SAR preprocessing utility provided by Boost Technologies as a trial to manage these data on West Africa and Gulf of Mexico area. It demonstrates the capability of SAR data to highlight oceanic features without cloud and light problems.
“We are still limited in the amount of near instantaneous frontal information that is available, and SAR could potentially greatly strengthen that capability”, Robin Stephens says.