NOAA Collaboration with the Panama Canal Authority
MARCH 22, 2019 — Working under the 2001 Memorandum of Agreement between the National Response Team and the Panama Canal Authority (in Spanish – Authoridad del Canal de Panama - ACP), OR&R’s Emergency Response Division (ERD) is collaborating to update the hydrography of the Canal Zone for trajectory model analysis.
Several years ago, ERD worked with the ACP to develop and integrate water movement parameters (hydrodynamics) in the Canal Zone into the GNOME oil spill trajectory model. Since the completion of this project, the Panama Canal has significantly enlarged the lock system to accommodate much larger vessels. This historic modification has led to a change in water circulation within the approaches to the locks, as the volume and flow directions have been altered. Through actual hydrographic measurements in the Canal, statistical analyses, conversions into ERD's in-house software program GOODS (GNOME Online Oceanographic Data Server), and subsequent input into GNOME the ACP will be better prepared to respond to an oil spill in the Canal Zone. This project is anticipated to be completed in May 2019 with an on-scene visit from ERD staff, and then used in a subsequent annual oil spill exercise in August 2019.