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ICEMASA's Operational Axe

The coastal regions are the place of many human activities. Some are only professional (fishery, sand extraction, petroleum activities, naval traffic, drifting, search and rescue, flood forecast, insurances, etc) others are  dedicated to leisure (sailing, fishing, diving, wind surfing, surfing, paragliding, etc). All these activities are often linked with meteorological and marine conditions.

At short time scale it is related only with weather state and consequence on the sea states and the ecosystem states. The request for meteorological and sea products is huge and increase regularly.

ICEMASA is an umbrella to develop program (and associated local private company(ies)) to answer to end-user needs related to their professional and leisure activities.
One example is a joint venture with the oil/gas company TOTAL to collect real time meteorological and oceanographic data from the oil platforms : see Real-Time Network of Weather and Ocean Stations (digest and slides available here)

Regarding the only marine environment the coastal zone of southwestern Africa is, biologically, one of the world’s most productive regions. Over the past decade scientists made major contributions to our understanding of the physics, chemistry and biology of that region.

This component of the ICEMASA is a propose to team-up with ACCESS to build on those achievements by means of research projects to answer as yet unanswered questions, concerning the Benguela Nino for example, and to continue with the development of computer models that simulate physical, chemical and biological conditions, with the goal of having an operational capability. The models to be developed will be such that they can be reconfigured for use in any other coastal zone, another part of Africa or South America for instance.

The oceanic region around southern Africa is prone to environmental changes and extreme or abnormal events in the coastal ocean, which impact on the living marine resources and on fishing and other offshore activities of countries like Angola, Namibia, Mozambique or South Africa. For instance, unusual oceanic conditions can induce strong fluctuations of the fish stock that in turn increase the risk of over-fishing. Being able to predict such situations is a major issue in terms of resource and industrial management. Analysis of the oceanic dynamic variability has already been conducted within the BCLME, as well as an assessment of the predictability of warm and cold events (Benguela Niños/Niñas) in the Angola/Benguela frontal area. The need is now to develop a common sustainable and user-friendly “state of the environment” system from various African countries with targeted information regarding the state of the environment and its evolution at various spatial and temporal scales. Simple and robust physical indicators describing the state of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system and quantifying processes chosen for their regional relevance will be defined.

Over the past several years, oceanographers from IRD have developed, in collaboration with the UCT Oceanography Department, computer models to simulate aspects of the Benguela Current, the Agulhas Current and the Mozambique Channel. In particular, the model SAfE has been created to deal with major aspects of the regional dynamics, including mesoscale eddies, and coastal upwelling.


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