More insight for the environment and the Olympics

New model improves forecast of swell and weather in the Yellow Sea

Satellite image of the Chinese sea © NASA GSFC
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Scientists have now supplemented an international modeling and monitoring system for the Yellow Sea between China and Korea with an important environmental parameter, suspended particulate matter. The entire system should be ready for the sailing competitions of the 2008 Olympic Games in China. It will allow the prediction of local weather conditions, as well as swellings, tides, water levels and flow conditions.

Suspended solids consist to a large extent of non-organic sediment particles which, for example, flow from rivers into the sea. They determine how much light can penetrate into the water and how deep. Of these, the growth of plankton and aquatic plants depends - the staple food of many fish and shrimp species. At the same time, however, toxins from agriculture and industry can be attached to these small particles. Predicting how the suspended matter spreads in the sea and on the coasts is thus an important contribution to environmental protection and crisis management, for example after a poison accident.

Researchers from Denmark, China, South Korea and Germany launched the EU project YEOS at the beginning of June - the abbreviation stands for "YEllow Sea Observation, Forecasting and Information System". Thanks to the contribution of Helmholtz scientists from the GKSS Research Center in Geesthacht, the forecasting system can also be used in future in the areas of environmental protection and crisis management. First, it benefits the sailing competitions taking place in the Yellow Sea. Later, however, local fishermen and freight traffic will benefit from the new forecasting system.

"The colleagues from China and Korea provide measurement data, such as the local depth distribution of the sea, the water inputs from the rivers and all available weather, water and marine data, " explains Heinz Günther, coastal researcher of GKSS from Geesthacht. "The existing measuring network of buoys and measuring platforms will be expanded in the coming months. At the same time, existing weather and marine models of all participating researchers are brought together and adapted to the conditions in the Yellow Sea. "

By complementing it, the mathematical model goes beyond a pure wind, wave and flow prediction system. "Our existing three-dimensional models for the North Sea and Baltic Sea are also capable of predicting the suspended particulate matter after storms or floods, " explains GKSS scientist Gerhard Gayer, who is responsible for integrating the Geesthachter computational model into the Danish Basic System. display

(GKSS Research Center Geesthacht, 04.07.2007 - NPO)