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Game on coastal research

With an exciting game of science the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht informs on the results of the Institute for Coastal Research. Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG) have been exploring the climate at the German North Sea coast for over 40 years. Using measuring buoys, satellite and radar observations are recorded, among other things, the current velocity, water temperature and wave height in the North Sea. In the data center in Geesthacht, these and other metric results are evaluated to develop computer models that show the ocean currents in the past, now and in the future. This enables, for example, to determine which coastal areas must be protected in the event of a large oil spill most urgent or the likely effects of future storm surges.

Or, where a bottle drives, which will be thrown into the water at any point in the North Sea. From this initial idea, the idea for a science game arose.

From the board of a small motorboat, the player can throw his “virtual” Message in a bottle into the North Sea. Insertion point and destination can be chosen on a digital chart. It is important to the choice of a favorable starting position to take unfair advantage of the flow and float the bottle as close as possible to their destination. The drifting path of the bottle on its15 day trip can not only followed aboard the HZG research boat – the states are also being displayed on a true-to scale marine chart.

Amongst other things the virtual field test shows how variable the current conditions in the German Bight are. A possible starting point for examle is the period around 16 February 1962, when a fateful storm surge reached the North Sea coast and the lower reaches of the Elbe and Weser.

The goal is to introduce a lay audience impressive and practical to the principles, objectives and outcomes of interdisciplinary projects of the HZG. The game is based on the the measurement data from more than 40 years of research.