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METOCEAN project with TOTAL


TOTAL has supported the assignment of an engineer in Cape Town for ICEMASA, in order to implement the real-time collection of weather and ocean observations from the TOTAL network of oil rigs deployed in the Gulf of Guinea. The TOTAL-ICEMASA Meteocean project has been active during 2010-2013. The two goals were:

  • to complement the observational network of ATLAS buoys (PIRATA project) and drifters towards the continental shelf;
  • to provide public, real-time and remote access to the ocean and weather data collected by the oil rigs.

The ultimate objective was to introduce these data in a global system, such as the WMO Global Telecommunication System (GTS), so that the scientific community could improve weather and ocean forecasts for the benefit of civilians of the riparian countries as well as for the gas and oil industry. The prototype used the data from five existing platforms. The system architecture is outlined  here :


A full description of the project and its technological developments has been published in the “Sea Technology” issue of March 2013: Real-time network of weather and ocean stations: public-private partnership on in-situ measurements in the Gulf of Guinea.

There is a rationale why ICEMASA, a South-African based laboratory, undertakes such research in the tropical Atlantic Ocean as a connection exists between the Equatorial system and the coastal sub-tropical regional regions, through coastal trapped Kelvin waves. An interannual variability pattern known as the "Benguela Nino" originates in the tropical Atlantic and connects to the Benguela System via the Gulf of Guinea, along the coast of Gabon, Congo, Angola and Namibia. Acquiring in situ observations from the tropical domain is one of the key to understanding the processes causing climate variability over southern Africa.


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