IAP LICOM Forecast System Assists Sri Lanka Oil Tanker Fire Rescue


On September 3, an oil tanker carrying 270,000 tons of crude caught fire in Sri Lanka southeast coast. The ship lost power and there was a potential serious oil leakage hazard. The ocean modelling group of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) immediately conducted the real-time analysis and forecast of the regional marine environments using the self-developed global 10-km ocean analysis and forecast system—LICOM Forecast System (LFS) —upon the request of the China-Sri Lanka Joint Science and Education Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on September 4 and provided the information including sea surface current and sea surface temperature for the Marine Environmental Protection Agency of Sri Lanka and the disaster reduction department of Southern Sri Lanka.


The data provided timely scientific support for fire control and impact analysis. The team also kept updating the forecast products in subsequent rescues. The blaze was finally extinguished on Wednesday Sept 9. 


The asterisk shows the location of the tanker. The sea surface currents and sea surface height on September 4, 2020 analyzed by LFS (Image by LICOM modelling group)


Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka reported in its social media China's assistance with the firefighting of the accident tanker and the emergency prevention measures of Sri Lankan government. Tenni PRADEEP, an official of the Marine Environmental Protection Agency of Sri Lanka, expressed gratitude to the Chinese experts for the timely and useful forecast and observation information, which enabled Sri Lanka continuously adjust the rescue plan.

Screenshot of social media of Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka

The LFS was developed at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences under the support of the "Earth System Numerical Simulator Facility" - a major national scientific and technological infrastructure project during the "Twelfth Five-Year Plan", the National Key R&D Program (2016YFC1401401, 2016YFC1401601) and the key deployment project of the Marine Science Research Center in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. LFS has a horizontal resolution of 10 km and 55-levels in vertical. The current ocean model LICOM3, with over 30 year’s development history, is the only independently developed ocean circulation model in China, which has been widely used in national meteorological and ocean operational sections. The assimilation system is based on the method of ENOI (Ensemble Optimal Interpolation).


Media contact: Ms. LIN Zheng, jennylin@mail.iap.ac.cn

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