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  • C-CORE 1.8 Current at depth observations


 Current at depth observations

Challenge ID



Current at depth observations

Challenge originator:


General Description


What data/products do you use?

Near real-time ocean current data at depth (few) are available via NOAA (NDBC)

Global forecast system available from RTOFS, HYCOM and NCODA

Regional forecast models:
Mediterranean Sea: MEDSEA (MyOcean)
Iberian, Biscay and Irish Seas: IBI MFC model
European NW Shelf: FOAM

When do you use this kind of dataset?

These data are used to monitor all day-to-day operations when drilling, surveying etc. To assess current conditions, nowcasting, plan ahead. Find windows of operability etc.

To assist in managing risks related to ocean surface currents, safeguarding lives, protecting assets, and conducting operations. Important during subsea oil spills, running risers in deep water and strong currents, using divers and ROVs etc.

What are your actual limitations and do you have a work around? 

Data availability is the major issue. Few measurements of sufficient quality exist.

There are spatial and temporal limitations of real-time and near real-time surface-based and remotely-sensed ocean current observations.

EO observations do not exist.

Needs and expectations on EO data

EO is not used for this today.

Specific need: Additional surface-based observations of ocean current profiles.

Challenge classification


Pre license










Geographic context/ restrictions

Applies to all six Areas of interest, except for the cautionary notes about tropical cyclones, which only applies to  South China Sea,  West of Ireland, and  Myanmar.

Seasonality: Applies to all seasons.

Topographic classification / Offshore classification


Activity impacted/concerned


Technology Urgency

Short term (2-5 years)

Information requirements


Update frequency

Real-time and near real-time. Hourly, or 10 minutes averaged over 1 hour (because of noise).

Available today:
Depends on source, some sources only daily, most 6-3 hrs, few real time

Temporal resolution

Real-time and near real-time. Hourly or 10 min.


Surface-based observation: observation: sub-hourly to less frequently

HYCOM+NCODA system: Daily snapshot at 00Z

Regional models:
Mediterranean Sea: MEDSEA (MyOcean): Daily
Iberian, Biscay and Irish Seas: IBI MFC model: Daily means or hourly means
European NW Shelf: FOAM: Daily means or hourly means

Currents, temperature and SST derived from satellite:
Global geostrophic currents and SST analysis based on satellite observations: Weekly and monthly means

Spatial resolution

Observations on location or around 4 km (maybe less in coastal areas).

Surface-based observation: varies based on the locations of the ship/buoy observations
Remotely-sensed satellite observation: varies based on platform scanning swath size and other parameters

HYCOM+NCODA system: 1/12°

Regional models:
Mediterranean Sea: MEDSEA (MyOcean) :6-7 km
Iberian, Biscay and Irish Seas: IBI MFC model: ~2km
European NW Shelf: FOAM: 7 km

Currents, temperature and SST derived from satellite:
Global geostrophic currents analysis based on satellite observations: 1/4°

Data quality

The selected sources in this document are selected because they are known to have sufficient quality (after some work around/adaptation). In general separate in-depth verification studies has to be made for each source planned to be used for analysis, and the analysis has to be repeated for each geographical area (since sources might be of sufficient quality in one area but not another).

Data Coverage and extent

Regional and as localized as possible.

Example format

netCDF and/or CSV


Real-time or near real-time. Forecasts are normally issued 2 to 4 times per day, but industry requires continuous monitoring of conditions.

Existing standards





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