High-resolution circulation forecasting of the Maenggol Channel, south coast of Korea
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The Maenggol Channel and Uldolmok Strait, located on the south-west coast of Korea, have notably strong and complex currents due to tidal effects and to local geological factors. In these areas, electric power has been generated using strong tidal currents, the speed of which is more than 3 m/s during spring tides. The region also provides a shortcut for navigation. These tidal conditions are therefore sometimes useful, but may also cause terrible accidents or severe economic damage, in the absence of accurate information regarding ocean conditions. In April 2014, the passenger ferry MV Sewol capsized in the Maenggol Channel, with 295 passengers killed and 9 still missing. While this was unquestionably a man-made disaster, strong currents were one of the contributing causes. It was also difficult to conduct scuba diving rescue operations given strong current speeds, and accurate prediction of the time when the tide would turn was thus critically needed. In this research, we used the high-resolution coastal circulation forecasting system of KOOS (Korea Operational Oceanographic System) for analysis and simulation of strong tidal currents in such areas with many small islands, using measurements and modeling from this research area. For accurate prediction of tidal currents, small grid size-modeling was needed, and in this study, we identified a suitable grid size that offers efficiency as well as accuracy.
KeywordsMaenggol Channel Sewol ferry accident circulation forecasting
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