To help identify the best location for deploying ocean current turbines, predict the power that they will produce, and design devices for high-energy oceanic environments, it is critical to achieve a high level of resource characterization. Ocean current resource assessment studies off Florida’s East Coast have primarily been based on low resolution oceanic model predictions and/or physical oceanographic measurements. Resource assessments based on lower resolution oceanic models, such as the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM), provide data that can be used to map the ocean current resource over large areas, but have been shown to significantly underestimate the magnitude and variability of the ocean current resource off both Florida and South Africa.
During the first year of this project, an REU Scholar will work on the implementation of the Regional Oceanic Modeling System (ROM) to create a high resolution model of the Straits of Florida in order to better characterize the flow field and its variability. This Scholar will be trained on using a Matlab library designed to build the ROMS input files necessary to initialize and run the model.