Hops to it

July 05, 2000

"The Perfect Storm," a new movie about a small boat caught in one of the century's fiercest storms, serves as a reminder to all seafarers just how dangerous and unpredictable the ocean can be.

The Harvard Ocean Prediction System is a modular system that can be deployed to any region of the ocean to provide forecasts of ocean weather, as well as information about ocean life, from whales to algae. Developed with ONR funding by Professor Allan Robinson, HOPS contains virtual models of a region that can be quickly updated with information from ships, airplanes, satellites, and autonomous vehicles. As the new data is added to the generic model, forecasts are produced.

"We assimilate yesterday's data into today's forecast of tomorrow's weather in the ocean," Robinson said. The ability to tailor a general forecasting system to specific tasks has been enhanced by applying HOPS to problems faced by the U.S. Navy. The Navy has long been interested in ocean forecasting as a way to anticipate the ocean's influence on naval operations under, on, and over the sea.

In the past, most of the research focused on deep-water environments where ships and submarines carried out their missions. Shallow coastal waters of the world present an added challenge as the focus of future naval operations will likely be in these littoral, or near-shore, areas.

In a specific example, HOPS was used during a naval war game to reveal how eddies of warm water generated along the Gulf Stream provided hideouts for "enemy" submarines. Underwater sound waves used to detect submarines are bent at fronts where warm and cold waters meet, making it possible for submarines to hide in the eddies.

HOPS has also been used to predict the location of crash debris from EgyptAir Flight 990 and identify the most promising waters for commercial fishing.
-end-


Office of Naval Research

Related Whales Articles from Brightsurf:

Blue whales change their tune before migrating
While parsing through years of recorded blue whale songs looking for seasonal patterns, researchers were surprised to observe that during feeding season in the summer, whales sing mainly at night, but as they prepare to migrate to their breeding grounds for the winter, this pattern reverses and the whales sing during the day.

Shhhh, the whales are resting
A Danish-Australian team of researchers recommend new guidelines for noise levels from whale-watching boats after having carried out experiments with humpback whales.

Fishing less could be a win for both lobstermen and endangered whales
A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that New England's historic lobster fishery may turn a higher profit by operating with less gear in the water and a shorter season.

North Atlantic right whales are in much poorer condition than Southern right whales
New research by an international team of scientists reveals that endangered North Atlantic right whales are in much poorer body condition than their counterparts in the southern hemisphere.

Solar storms could scramble whales' navigational sense
When our sun belches out a hot stream of charged particles in Earth's general direction, it doesn't just mess up communications satellites.

A better pregnancy test for whales
To determine whale pregnancy, researchers have relied on visual cues or hormone tests of blubber collected via darts, but the results were often inconclusive.

Why whales are so big, but not bigger
Whales' large bodies help them consume their prey at high efficiencies, a more than decade-long study of around 300 tagged whales now shows, but their gigantism is limited by prey availability and foraging efficiency.

Whales stop being socialites when boats are about
The noise and presence of boats can harm humpback whales' ability to communicate and socialise, in some cases reducing their communication range by a factor of four.

Endangered whales react to environmental changes
Some 'canaries' are 50 feet long, weigh 70 tons, and are nowhere near a coal mine.

Stranded whales detected from space
A new technique for analysing satellite images may help scientists detect and count stranded whales from space.

Read More: Whales News and Whales Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.