Marine engineers often require wave measurements in order to determine the forces they exert on structures such as offshore oil and gas platforms and marine terminals. Waves are also important in coastal processes such as shore erosion and sediment transport. More recently wave energy is being regarded as a resource and measurements are used to assess potential sites.
ASL uses various technologies for wave measurement including: surface buoy-mounted accelerometers, platform mounted sensors or surface piercing wire gauges, subsurface pressure gauges, and orbital-velocity / surface-track measuring devices such as the ADCP.
Wave Measurements for Terminals, Marinas and Docks
Wave data is generally required for marina and dock design and construction. Often the wave and current regime will determine the berth alignment, and may dictate construction of a breakwater. Numerical modelling is often used as well to test “what if” scenarios.
Offshore Wind Farms
In order to design the bases for offshore wind turbines the engineers need to know the waveregime. ASL conducted a winter long study of wave and current measurement at a proposed wind farm site in Hecate Strait using a bottom-mounted TRDI ADCP wave gauge. Storms occurred every few days with significant wave heights (Hs) reaching 6 m and generating current surges of 5m/second.
Wave Energy as a Resource
The fact that ocean waves have enough energy to require marine engineers to factor them into their designs also makes them a promising renewable resource. Potential wave energy sites along the BC coast and worldwide are being evaluated and measurements being made to access the long term wave climates.
As aquaculture operations move from sheltered coastal waters to further offshore they generally experience a more energetic wave regime and measurements are often required to assess the feasibility of each potential site.
Real-time wave data for offshore oil & gas operations
Often real-time wave data is required such as for offshore oil and gas operations. Traditional surface buoys such can be used, or wave sensors can be mounted directly on the platform.
Wave measurements are often a critical component of sediment transport studies. ASL has used innovative techniques for obtaining these measurements, such as the deployment of a heavily sensored tripod off the Frazer River delta using the Coast Guard hovercraft “Siyay”.