ABSTRACT

The Ocean Data Gathering Program resulted in the collection of oceanographicand meteorological data at six offshore sites in the Gulf of Mexico from1968-1971. These data include one of the most extensive sets of severesea-state data available. Data obtained through February 1970 have beenrecently released. This paper summarizes the program, the data collected, thedisposition of these data, and the usefulness of these data. The use of thesedata by others members of the offshore community and research institutions isencouraged.

OCEAN DATA GATHERING PROGRAM:AN OVERVIEW
Introduction

The Ocean Data Gathering Program resulted in the collection of oceanographicand meteorological data in the Gulf of Mexico from 1968-1971. The purpose ofthis paper is to explain the program, report on the data obtained, point outsome uses which have been made of these data, describe the disposition of thesedata, and to encourage the use of these data by all scientists and engineersconcerted with the offshore environment. The program grew out of a need by theoil industry to have more definitive data regarding the offshore environment. The primary goal was to obtain data on the extreme oceanographic andmeteorological conditions generated by severe hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. The importance of such data is obvious in that the most severe test of anoffshore structure in the Gulf occurs during hurricanes. The program alsoobtained data during more nominal weather conditions. The average annual rateof occurrence for hurricanes in the Gulf is 1.07 hurricanes per year. Or, considering coastal crossing of the storm tracks, the average annual rate ofoccurrence of a hurricane striking within 100 miles of a particular locationalong the Gulf coast is only 0.08 hurricane per year. (These rates ofoccurrence are estimated based upon the fact that between 1900 and 1969, 74hurricanes whose pressure anomaly exceeded 0.92 inch of mercury occurred in theGulf and made landfall along the 1340 miles of U. S. coastline.) It wastherefore necessary that this program consider multiple measurement stationsand obtain measurements over several hurricane seasons to get the requireddata. It was not until the mid-1960's that instrumentation and recordingtechniques became sufficiently reliable and sophisticated to undertake such aprogram with a satisfactory chance of success. In 1965, Shell u-undertook pilotprograms to test the instrumentation and recording techniques. Encouraged withthese results, Shell solicited other members of the oil industry for support ofa full scale program in 1967. Seven other oil companies joined Shell in fundingthe Ocean Data Gathering Program: Chevron Oil Field Research Company, EssoProduction Research Company, Amoco Production Company, Gulf Oil Company, TexacoInc., Mobil Research and Development Company, and the CAGC Marine Region(consisting of Conoco Oil Company, Atlantic-Richfield Oil Company, Getty OilCompany, and Cities Service Oil Company Shell Development Company was theprogram administrator. The installation and maintenance of the instrument, cataloging of the data, and certain data reduction tasks were contracted to theBaylor Company. The program began obtaining data in October 1968. The initialprogram collected data through February 28, 1970. The program was subsequentlyextended twice. The first extension continued the operation of the initialprogram and provided data Jrol1l_ March 1, 1970 through December 31, 1970. Thesecond extension followed a six-month shut-down period and provided data fromJuly 1, 1971 through October 31, 1971. During the shut-down period, certaincritical components of the instrumentation and recording systems

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