VISIR-1.b: ocean surface gravity waves and currents for energy-efficient navigation
The latest development of the ship-routing model published in Mannarini et al. (2016a) is VISIR-1.b, which is presented here. The new version of the model targets large ocean-going vessels by considering both ocean surface gravity waves and currents. To effectively analyse currents in a graph-search method, new equations are derived and validated against an analytical benchmark. A case study in the Atlantic Ocean is presented, focussing on a route from the Chesapeake Bay to the Mediterranean Sea and vice versa. Ocean analysis fields from data-assimilative models (for both ocean state and hydrodynamics) are used. The impact of waves and currents on transatlantic crossings is assessed through mapping of the spatial variability in the tracks, an analysis of their kinematics, and their impact on the Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI) of the International Maritime Organization. Sailing with or against the main ocean current is distinguished. The seasonal dependence of the EEOI savings is evaluated, and greater savings with a higher intra-monthly variability during winter crossings are indicated in the case study. The total monthly mean savings are between 2 % and 12 %, while the contribution of ocean currents is between 1 % and 4 %. Several other ocean routes are also considered, providing a pan-Atlantic scenario assessment of the potential gains in energy efficiency from optimal tracks, linking them to regional meteo-oceanographic features.