SUT-USA Launched the New Committee: Group on Environmental Forces


Rachel Holanda & Araceli Lopez // SUT US // October 24, 2017
Launching of SUT US Group on Environmental Forces
Caption: SUT-Group on Environmental Forces inaugural committee members
Houston, TX - This past August, SUT-US launched a new committee, Group on Environmental Forces. The committee is one among three new committees being launched this year as SUT-US pushes to expand its technological scope and operations.
The new committee will focus its professional interests and activities around advancing knowledge on mechanisms in which atmospheric and oceanic forces affect the design, operations, and structures of coastal, offshore and underwater environments. Committee chair Jan Van Smiren leads the group in its inaugural year alongside committee secretary Robert Smith. In addition to its strong leadership, the committee has already demonstrated substantial interest and support around 20 members from diverse backgrounds such as engineering, oceanography, and meteorology serving organizations such as Shell, Woods Hole Group, BMT Group, Integral Consulting, Fugro, Texas A&M University, Wilkens Weather, and others. 
Committee chair Jan Van Smiren is excited to see “such enthusiasm of the group and their willingness to step up”. Additionally committee chair notes that the committee will benefit both its individual members with open collaboration and the Houstonian community with its outreach efforts.
The committee already began planning an array of events and activities, promoting its mission by planning activities such a professional course, a Lunch ‘n’ Learn Series, K-12 outreach tours, and special workshops. According to committee secretary Robert Smith, the events can provide participants with “a better understanding of how the key environmental forces associated with meteorology and oceanography are measured, quantified, analyzed and presented to support costal and offshore engineering design operations and integrity assessments.” Committee member Amiee Thurlow further emphasized the role committee activities play in regards to transferring knowledge and forming relations between seasoned professionals close to retirement and young professionals whom are entering into the field with limited experience and knowledge.
One unique workshop, hosted by SUT-US Group on Environmental Forces committee, will be CIGoM. This workshop is led by Dr. Zenon Medina-Cetina, SUT-US president and chair and member of CIGoM's scientific advisory board. The workshop is a special offering in which a variety of research scientists from Mexico’s Research Consortium of the Gulf of Mexico (Consorcio de Investigación del Golfo de México) will present their data, equipment, and models that they have developed. The specific research topics that the workshop will cover include:
  • Creation of oceanographic observation platforms, including buoys, deep ocean moorings (including Yucatan and Florida Straits), gliders, coastal HF radar installations.
  • Baselines studies of the marine environment, including 24 cruises throughout the region to provide a baseline of data and identify natural seeps, environmental hot spots and key risk areas.
  • Hydrodynamic numerical modeling to provide data sources for use in undertaking assessments of oil spill scenarios, as well as development of biochemical and spill response models.
  • Assessment and research into hydrocarbon degradation processes
  • Running simulations of natural and anthropogenic oil spill scenarios to evaluate the consequences and impacts and plan mitigation measures.
The CIGoM workshop is scheduled for January 11th in Houston and January 12th at Texas A&M University in College Station. The workshop is also co-sponsored by Texas A&M University’s College of Geosciences, GEOSAT Center, Department of Civil Engineering, and Department of Ocean Engineering. Click here for more details.
In addition to CIGoM, the committee has its first Lunch’n’Learn “Thrown for a Loop: Overview, Challenges, and Impacts of the Loop Current on Offshore Operations.” The Lunch ’n’ Learn will be on November 9th and is additionally available via webinar. To find out more, visit event page here.
If you are interested in joining in the committee or learning more about committee events, contact

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