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HKUST Launches Online Marine Environmental Visualisation Platform

Image Credits: HKUST, Press Release

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) recently launched WavyOcean – the first interactive marine environment visualisation platform which offers an unprecedented level of data on the ocean in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA), the entire China Seas and the Western Pacific Ocean.

The platform will greatly facilitate marine research work and offer valuable data to policymakers on striking a balance between marine conservation and societal development, such as the Lantau Tomorrow Vision Plan.

Utilising state-of-the-art oceanic numerical simulations, the platform not only visualises oceanic processes but also offers physical and biogeochemical data of the aforesaid oceans. Data available for download include environmental variables such as 3D ocean current, temperature, salinity, levels of nitrate, chlorophyll, dissolved oxygen; as well as atmospheric variables such as wind, temperature and pressure.

Such comprehensive data sets offered on a one-stop-shop platform is set to provide a solid foundation to research topics such as marine hydrodynamics, hazards, pollutions, ecosystem and changing climate.

Prof. GAN Jianping, Chair Professor of the Department of Ocean Science and Department of Mathematics who led this research, stated that since the in-situ collection of oceanic data is logistically difficult and greatly limited in space and time, observational data in ocean science is scarce.

Therefore, the team has developed the China Sea Multi-scale Ocean Modeling System (CMOMS) and subsequently WavyOcean to cover the entire China Seas spatiotemporally. WavyOcean does not only couple ocean circulation with the ecosystem in the region but can also present visual and interactive 3D spatiotemporal variations for the transport of oceanic energy and substances, biogeochemical properties and the nature of the ecosystem.

“The platform itself is an innovative hub for research and ocean management while also being an informative source for the general public,” the Professor said.

WavyOcean is built on a decade of research works by Prof. Gan and his interdisciplinary team, with support from the National Supercomputing Centers of Tianjin and Guangzhou. The WavyOcean project was supported by the Center for Ocean Research in Hong Kong and Macau (CORE), which was jointly established in 2019 by HKUST and the Qingdao Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, as well as Ocean-HK, a research project sponsored by the Theme-based Research Scheme under the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong since 2017.

With their continuous enhancement of WavyOcean, policymakers and scientists will be able to better study and deploy marine resources, mitigate the impact of climate change and the potential effects that new policies such as the Lantau Tomorrow Vision may bring to the marine ecosystem, Prof Gan said.

“We hope the public can better understand the ocean at their fingertips, and become more aware of the significance of protecting the ocean,” he said.

About the Center For Ocean Research In Hong Kong And Macau (CORE)

Established on 1 September 2019, the Center for Ocean Research in Hong Kong and Macau (CORE) is an international research centre for multi-sphere interdisciplinary new regional ocean research in Hong Kong – a bilateral collaboration among the Qingdao Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (QNLM) and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

CORE is expected to contribute to the development of marine environment and marine resources, ocean sustainability, forecasting, climate change, and blue economy in the Guandong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) and Asia-Pacific Region.

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