Mystery Ship Spotted Cruising The Waters Off Three Tree Point
Charles recently asked in our Forums, “Does anyone know what the ships are doing sailing meandering around 3 Tree Point the past few days. I assume they are doing some kind of research.”
At nearly the same time, photographer Michael Brunk shot photos of the ship while down at Three Tree Point on another photo assignment.
From our photos we identified the vessel to be the R/V Wecoma from Newport, Oregon. It’s a research ship owned by the National Science Foundation and operated jointly with Oregon State University, College of Oceanic & Atmospheric Sciences.
The ship is involved in research on “topographic form drag.” Boiled down, what this amounts to is determining the affect that features of the ocean floor have on the flow of current.
Why study this? Today’s global models for atmospheric flow take into account the affects of mountains and other landscape features, but global oceanic flow models don’t do the same for undersea topography. This research is part of an ongoing study to provide the data to improve models for oceanic flow.
Three Tree Point has been the scene of multiple research efforts into form drag since 2004.
Here’s an excellent site for more information on form drag and some of the studies that have been conducted at Three Tree Point.