Oceanographic Weather Maps: Using Oceanographic Models to Improve Seabed Mapping Planning and Acquisition

TitleOceanographic Weather Maps: Using Oceanographic Models to Improve Seabed Mapping Planning and Acquisition
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year2013
AuthorsBeaudoin, Jonathan
EditorKelley, John G., Greenlaw, Jason, Beduhn, Tami, and Greenaway, Samuel F.
Conference NameUS Hydrographic Conference 2013
Conference DatesMarch 25 - 28
PublisherTHSOA
Conference LocationNew Orleans, LA, USA

In a world of high precision sensors, one of the few remaining challenges in multibeam echosounding is that of refraction based uncertainty. A poor understanding of oceanographic variability can lead to inadequate sampling of the water mass and the uncertainties that result from this can dominate the uncertainty budget of even state-of-the-art echosounding systems. Though dramatic improvements have been made in sensor accuracies over the past few decades, survey accuracy and efficiency is still potentially limited by a poor understanding of the “underwater weather.”

Advances in the sophistication of numerical oceanographic forecast modeling, combined with ever increasing computing power, allow for the timely operation and dissemination of oceanographic nowcast and forecast model systems on regional and global scales. These sources of information, when examined using sound speed uncertainty analysis techniques, have the potential to change the way hydrographers work by increasing our understanding of what to expect from the ocean and when to expect it. Sound speed analyses derived from ocean modeling system’s three-dimensional predictions could provide guidance for hydrographers during survey planning, acquisition and post-processing of hydrographic data. In this work, we examine techniques for processing and visualizing of predictions from global and regional operational oceanographic forecast models and climatological analyses from an ocean atlas to better understand how these data could best be put to use to in the field of hydrography.