Among the research activities conducted at OIST is the tide model and simulation of the Kuroshio Current around the sea of Okinawa. This includes warm water eddy and cold water eddy, and the flow of seawater in accordance with the rise and fall of tides. In order to achieve this, OIST needs detailed measured data of sea depth, current and tides.
Meanwhile, the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters (the 11th HQ) of the Japan Coast Guard conducts drift prediction in waters surrounding Okinawa in order to make proper decisions of search areas in case of marine accidents. In order to make an accurate drift prediction for maritime security operations, not only the data from vessels and satellites, but also those obtained through computer simulation of currents and tides is indispensable.
In order to benefit from each other’s strengths and to contribute jointly to ensuring safety in marine activities and developing socioeconomic activities in Okinawa, OIST President Jonathan Dorfan and Commander Hiroshi Majima of the 11th HQ signed a cooperation agreement on March 27, 2012 at the 11th HQ in Naha. The collaboration, to be carried out mainly by the OIST Marine Biophysics Unit led by Assistant Professor Satoshi Mitarai and the 11th HQ Hydrographic and Oceanographic Division, will be implemented in the following fields.
- Improvement of the sophistication of ocean tide model and ocean current simulation
- Collection of sea bottom topographic data and ocean current data
- Improvement of drift prediction accuracy
- Validation, analysis and evaluation of operation results
Underling the importance of the agreement, President Dorfan said, “Collaboration hastens the process of discovery by bringing together complimentary minds and innovative techniques. So what OIST lacks in marine data gathering equipment, the 11th HQ can supply. And what the 11th HQ lacks in marine simulation tools, OIST can provide.”
Commander Majima concurred, “Improvement of the prediction of the complicated ocean current and tidal current in the sea surrounding Okinawa is expected to contribute to various fields including safety of marine leisure, environmental preservation, marine transportation and fisheries.”
The Biophysics Unit and the 11th HQ, together with several other local organizations, launched a liaison meeting of marine research in Okinawa last year and the second liaison meeting took place at OIST on January 31. The agreement between the two parties will deepen the mutual collaboration and benefit the purpose of the meeting.