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Oil Rigs Will Be Used to Measure Weather

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[February 14, 2008]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Detailed weather and ocean measuring instruments will be mounted on seven oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Shell Oil Company said Wednesday.

The instruments will be part of the Integrated Ocean Observing System studying hurricanes and other weather and collecting data for coastal resource management, NOAA said.

While oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf are required to collect and transmit certain weather and ocean data, the new instruments will increase the amount of information available.

Shell will buy and install the equipment and NOAA will handle the data. Installation of the equipment will start this spring and is expected to be completed next year.

Changes planned for the platforms:

  • Upgrade weather stations on four platforms to include direct transmission of data to geostationary satellites, add emergency power ensuring an uninterrupted stream of information even if the platform is evacuated.

  • Upgrade ocean wave and current instruments on Shell's "Auger" platform to include satellite transmission and emergency power supply.

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  • Ocean heat measurements will be collected from Shell's "Brutus" platform to better study the role of water temperature at different depths in hurricane intensity.

  • Collect and share weather information from two new continental locations off Louisiana that are currently not monitored.

  • Install high frequency radar transmitters on a platform off the Texas coast. This system will be able to calculate the speed and direction of the surface current -- vital information for weather forecasting and analysis.


On the Net:

NOAA IOOS program: http://ioos.noaa.gov/

Shell Oil Company media: http://www.shell.com/us/media/

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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