Design and operation of ship routes and of marine work, construction, sizing and requalification of offshore structures and ships require a good knowledge of metocean climate, especially waves, wind and currents, at increasingly many locations in the world.
Until recently, and apart from a few spots where field data were obtained, the main source of information to this respect has been shipmasters' observations, either in raw form or gathered in atlasses such as the well-known Global Wave Statistics. Users of this information are well aware of its limitations, but, faced as they are with cost and time constraints, they have been forced to satisfy themselves with it.
However, in the last few years, satellite data have become available in sufficient numbers to enable one to perform meaningful and good quality statistics over them. The validity of satellite measurements of significant wave heights was established, among others, by studies performed at Ifremer, and during their continuation with company Meteomer in the framework of the Clarom (CLub pour les Actions de Recherche sur les Ouvrages en Mer, a group of French organizations conducting R&D projects in common) 91-93 project ``Aspro'' (Satellite contribution to applied knowledge of the oceans). Validation of methods for the estimation of wave periods and directions, part of which benefitted from a contribution from ELF, is now reaching completion.
Software was developed to implement these procedures, and now allows their operational routine use.
Ifremer intends presently, in a partnership with Meteomer, to utilize these advances in applied research through the building of the ``kernel'' of a system for supplying metocean climate parameters originating from satellite observations. This system is aimed, on one hand, at superseding ship observations and existing atlasses to answer, with significantly improved quality, the requests of marine operators, and, on the other hand, at being the basis for providing these operators with more refined products, in accordance with their needs.
This sort of service can already be provided, on request, for some products and on specific areas. The move to a routine, general purpose, operational exploitation should occurr around September 95.
In order to increase the chances of success, Ifremer and Meteomer seek the advice of an Expertise and Orientation Committee, in charge of verifying the relevance, in kind as well as in quality, of the projected work with respect to the actual needs. This Committee consists of acting and corresponding members, representing the professional fields concerned with metocean climate.
Its operation is based on circulating orientation propositions and information notices. Meetings are scheduled on a regular basis to exchange views and ideas.
Michel Olagnon, who is in charge of the project, may be contacted to provide any additional information at your convenience.