The SNMREC Preferred Partner Program is an opportunity for our industry partners to collaborate more fully with the Center. This program is designed to dedicate SNMREC experts and resources to individual industry partner development needs.
Ocean Current Measurement
Large-scale observations of the structure of the Florida Current reveal a “core” of relatively high-speed (~2 m/s) flow near the surface about 20 km offshore of the southeast coast of Florida. Although, on average, all of the water in the Florida Straits flows northward, it is this core of the Florida Current that is of the most interest to energy developers, because the power that can be obtained from a moving fluid is proportional to the cube of the fluid’s speed.
What is less well understood is the variability of the speed and position of this high-speed core. Because such variability is of great interest to the ocean-energy community, SNMREC has undertaken an observational program using long-term deployments of acoustic current profilers. These systems use underwater sound waves much in the same fashion that radar uses radio waves in the atmosphere. By positioning an upward-looking acoustic current profiler near the bottom, it is possible to obtain the current speed and direction throughout the water column. Such current profiles are measured every half hour; by using several of these profiling systems, variations over both time and space can be inferred, analyzed, and assessed for their implications for marine renewable energy recovery.
SNMREC has also deployed shore-based radar systems that use backscattering from the sea surface to infer the surface current over a large offshore area, one that includes the positions of the acoustic profiling systems. The combination of these two approaches will provide a more detailed assessment of the Florida Current and its small-scale variations than has been previously available.
These are the types of measurements that are available and on-going:
- Ocean Surface Radar
- Subsea Moored Current Profilers
- Vessel-based Current Profiling