Cutting-edge radar maps bay in pioneering studyOctober 28, 2011 - 7:15am
Researchers from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway have just deployed a sophisticated coastal radar system in Galway Bay. The system transmits maps of the surface currents and also provides details of the height and direction of waves from the shoreline directly to the Institute.
The cutting-edge technology has many potential uses for research and for the local community, and this is the first time it is being used in North Atlantic European waters.
The Modelling and Informatics Group in the Ryan Institute, led by Dr Mike Hartnett, develops models to forecast marine conditions such as tidal currents, storm surges and wave heights. The group are currently carrying out research, in collaboration with IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Dublin, to improve model forecasts using the radar data and meteorological data.
According to Dr Hartnett: “We are using data from the radars to improve model forecasts in ways previously not possible. It is relatively difficult to develop an accurate marine forecast model for Galway Bay, as water movement within the bay is mainly due to wind, while the patterns of incoming tides are complicated due to the flow of water around the Aran Islands. Data from the radar is helping us to overcome some of those challenges.”
The radar system will also benefit the local community. When the research is completed all of the radar maps of surface currents, along with model forecasts will be made available freely online to the public through the Galway Bay Coastal Observing System (GalCOS). This information can then be used by sailors, fishermen and tourists alike.
It will also be of use to local authorities and others who discharge effluent into the bay, by helping them to decide on the best time to release effluent and minimize environmental consequences. The research will be of considerable benefit to the search and rescue activities of the Irish Coast Guard.
There are also plans to produce high-resolution maps of Galway Bay on CD, which will be of particular benefit to sailors as reference material and will provide significantly improved knowledge of tidal and wind induced currents.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.