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20 Years and 100+ Countries - WorldWaves, a Success Story

Fugro OCEANOR's WorldWaves has recently recorded a notable milestone with data for the hundredth country safely delivered! In addition, the WorldWaves database and associated software packages have roots that can be traced back 20 years this past summer.

05 Oct 2009
Wallingford, UK

"In fact, no sooner had we reached our 'century' than we had requests from another three countries," explains Stephen Barstow, Senior Ocean Wave Climatologist, Fugro OCEANOR.

"WorldWaves is in fact several things. First, it is a comprehensive high quality global offshore wave and wind database which we at Fugro OCEANOR use in our own consultancy work (for example, for clients in the offshore and coastal engineering industries as well as wave and offshore wind energy interests). It is a complete global coastal wave modelling package, integrating the up to 50+ years offshore database with coastal modelling tools, including the state-of-the-art SWAN model, global bathymetry and statistical analysis tools. Data are most frequently sold for single points, but complete packages for countries, regions and worldwide are also available."

The WorldWaves story began on 31 July 1989 when a report was released entitled 'Wave Model Data' for Le Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in France as part of a project together with Marintek 'Study of the Seastate for the Needs of the Hermes Spaceplane' and was possibly the first time satellite altimeter data had been used to validate and calibrate data from a wave hindcast, fittingly in a space related project.

The Hermes Spaceplane was conceived by CNES and, following the Challenger disaster, it was planned that Hermes would have an emergency escape capsule that could, in the event, allow the crew to return safely to earth, landing in the ocean.

Hermes was to be launched along two possible trajectories eastwards from Kourou in French Guiana towards the Azores and the Cape Verde. Along these trajectories, OCEANOR was contracted to provide wave and wind statistics in seven emergency pick-up sites in the ocean.

"Since then, and thanks to industry funding, coupled with the opportunity to become involved in several key European Union projects including WAVEMOD, WERATLAS, EUROWAVES and ENVIWAVE, what we now know as WorldWaves has gone from strength to strength," says Stephen Barstow.

"We are proud of our country count, which sees Norway as the country to which we have sold most data, followed by Chile, the UK and South Africa - in that order," he adds. "Amazingly 213 'countries' (including dependent territories) have coastlines and I am looking forward to forthcoming sales trips to the Glorioso Islands, Guam, Christmas Island and South Georgia and hope we'll be adding to our country count very soon."

Further information on all aspects of WorldWaves can be found on the OCEANOR website.


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