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Evaluating Strong Currents at a Fairway in the Finnish Archipelago Sea

  • kanarik, hedi
  • tuomi, laura
  • alenius, pekka
  • lensu, mikko
  • miettunen, elina
  • hietala, riikka
Publication Date
Oct 19, 2018
DOI: 10.3390/jmse6040122
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Safe navigation in complex archipelagos requires knowledge and understanding of oceanographic conditions in the fairways. We have studied oceanographic conditions and their relation to weather in a crossing in the Finnish archipelago, which is known to have events when strong currents affect marine traffic. Our main dataset is ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) current measurements, done in the cross section of five months in 2013. We found that the local currents flow mainly to two directions, either to north-northeast (NNE) or to south-southwest (SSW), which is nearly perpendicular to the deepest fairway in the area. The mean value of the currents in the surface layer was 0.087 ms - 1 , but during the high wind situations, the current speed rose over 0.4 ms - 1 . These strong currents were also shown, according to AIS (Automatic Identification System) data, to cause drift of the vessels passing the cross section, though the effect of wind and current to the ship may sometimes be hard to separate. We studied whether the strong currents could be predicted from routine observations of wind and sea level available in the area, and we found that prediction of these currents is possible to some extent. We also found that winds of over 10 ms - 1 blowing from NW (300 ∘ –350 ∘ ) and SE (135 ∘ –180 ∘ ) generated strong currents of over 0.2 ms - 1 , whereas most commonly measured winds from SW (190 ∘ –275 ∘ ) did not generate currents even with winds as high as 15 ms - 1 .

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