TCI News

Ministry of Tourism Announces the Mobilization of Tidal Gauges in Grand Turk and Providenciales

#Providenciales, July 5, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – One of the deliverables emanating from a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Department of Maritime and Shipping and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), the UKHO committed to assist the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) implement protocols to ensure that the TCI are complying with its obligations under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

As a result of this cooperation, two Tidal Gauges were recently mobilized in the Turks and Caicos Islands, one Tidal Gauge is installed at South Dock in Grand Turk and one Tidal Gauge is installed at Sapodilla Bay in Providenciales.

Each Tidal Gauge station consists of:

  • 1 x Valeport Tidemaster Data Recorder and Valeport Pressure Gauge
  • 1 x Valeport Tidemaster Data Recorder and Valeport Radar Level Sensor
  • 1 x Sutron Satlink-3 Data Logger and Satellite Transmitter

For those who are not familiar with Tidal Gauges, one might ask,

What do the instruments do?

  • Valeport Tidemaster and Valeport Pressure Gauge
    • This instrument uses pressure readings to record water height at 10-minute intervals
  • Valeport Tidemaster and Valeport Radar Level Sensor
    • This uses pulsed K-band radar to record water height at 10-minute intervals; and
  • Sutron Satlink-3 Data Logger and Satellite Transmitter
    • Compiles the pressure and radar data and transmits through a NOAA satellite to a NOAA land-based data system.  The six 10-minute ensembles are transmitted every hour.  Specifics:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) East Satellite to the NOAA Data Collection System (DCS) Administration and Data Distribution System (DADDS). 

Why is the data recorded?

  • The data is recorded to obtain accurate tidal information
  • Logged tidal data could be used for historical purposes
  • Provision of near real-time tidal data
  • Recorded data can be processed using harmonic analysis to produce accurate tide table predictions

How will it benefit TCI?

  • Improved bathymetric mapping of TCI
  • Safer navigation and traffic for mariners
  • Engineers could use the data for coastal zone projects such as construction of bridges and docks
  • Habitat restoration projects require accurate tidal data
  • Tide data is critical to commercial fishing and recreational sports
  • Could be used to study tidal fluctuations associated with global warming and climate change
  • Ecologists could study tidal mixing of near-shore waters, where pollutants are removed and nutrients are recirculated

Will it provide information on upcoming inclement weather, including hurricanes and Tsunamis?

  • No, but can provide a historical database for storm surge.  Storm surge is the abnormal rise in seawater level during a storm, measured of the water above the normal predicted astronomical tide.  If a sufficiently long dataset is measured, estimates of extreme water levels would be possible, which would help with any future coastal development projects in TCI.

Minister Honorable Ralph Higgs commented, “This is another achievement of my Ministry as the Turks and Caicos Islands prepare for the pending audit of the International Maritime Organization in 2020. The first draft of the National Maritime Policy Document and the Action Plan has already been submitted and is currently being reviewed by the Steering Committee. Mapping of the Turks and Caicos Islands seabed is completed and once confirmation is forwarded to the UKHO that all Navigational Aids are functional, new charts would be produce in additional to Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) of the recently mapped seabed.”

Four Officers within the Department of Maritime and Shipping was recently trained by the Independent Contractor Fugro in Tidal Gauge management and maintenance. These Officers will be responsible to assist with data collection and to ensure that the UKHO and the TCI Maritime Department are kept up to date with monthly reports.

Release: Ministry of Tourism

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