The main objective of the research is to develop a real time high-resolution ocean model covering the region around Ft. Lauderdale with the aim of providing accurate real-time prediction of distribution of currents, temperature and salinity. The scientific goals include the investigation of the local energetic of the Florida Current and the potential impacts from placement of turbines within the current. As a first step, the results of already performed assimilated global 1/12° simulations of Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) are analyzed for the region of the Florida Straits to assess the suitability of the model. The transport and currents distribution at 27°N between Ft. Lauderdale and the Bahamas are validated against observations for years 2008-2009. Despite a bias of -3Sv, the transport variability is well-reproduced in the model. To have a first idea of the potential of the Florida current to be a profitable energy source, the power density and total power availability is calculated through the 27°N section. The results show maximum power densities about 50km offshore of Florida that vary between ~3.8kW/m2 (at 5m in December) and ~1.0kW/m2 (at 60m in November). In parallel, the impact of turbines on a flow is also investigated using HYCOM in a periodic channel configuration forced by a baroclinic flow at the each boundary. An enhanced drag coefficient is applied at defined locations to account for the moored turbine. The impact of the intensity and the location of this drag on the circulation of the channel is assessed for this idealized case. The next step will be to apply this drag to:
- a realistic configuration of HYCOM to analyze the impact of such drag on the Florida Current-Gulf Stream System and
- a real-time high-resolution (1/24°) ocean model of the Ft. Lauderdale region to predict power availability.