A COMPREHENSIVE WIND, WAVE AND CURRENT MEASUREMENTS PROGRAM IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

Jagat N. Sharma, S. Tryggestad, J. Bian

Abstract


The South China Sea has been a prolific fishing ground and a busy shipping lane, and has recently become an important source of offshore oil and a center of rapidly growing economic activities. However, little systematic scientific study of the area has been carried out (Anonymous 1985 and Wyrtki 1961). Recently, several Metocean (meteorological and oceanographic) studies were performed to support the offshore petroleum production in the area. This paper summarizes these and other studies, and then, describes a comprehensive Metocean measurement program (Sharma et. el. 1991). Many distinctive and unique features of the measurement program are presented and discussed. Published samples of wind, waves, and current data are used to illustrate the complexity of oceanographic conditions in the area. Economic benefits of the measurement program are estimated approximately and found to be many times the cost of the program. While many important design decisions can be made with the 18 months of data, many other decisions need to be made conservatively in the absence of a multi-year Metocean dataset. A comparison with the condition in the Gulf of Mexico reveals many similarities and some differences. Future data needs and their possible benefits are also discussed briefly.

Keywords


South China; wind measurement; wave measurement; current measurement

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