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The Brahan Project

The Braham ProjectThe Brahan project (named after 17th century Scottish Brahan Seer reputed to have the gift of second sight, or “taibh-searachd”) is a unique project in the UK that delivers live information about the speed and direction of Scotland’s ocean currents. Using high frequency radar technologies, ocean current information can be provided from a wide part of Scotland’s large marine area - up to 200km offshore.

The results, which are not currently available from existing methods, will help not only scientific research, but also with:

  • search and rescue
  • pollution control
  • offshore oil and gas sector
  • renewable energy sector
  • other users of the sea such as the fishing industry, yachting and shipping

This new example of ‘Operational Oceanography’ is currently used in the USA but this is the first UK installation and the Long Range SeaSonde HF Radar System, which has been manufactured in the USA, has been installed at two stations - one at North Ronaldsay lighthouse in Orkney and the other at Sumburgh Head lighthouse in Shetland.

This is a collaborative project lead by Marine Scotland Science with support from partners:

  • BP Exploration
  • the Met Office
  • Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd
  • ICIT Heriot-Watt University
  • Qualitas Remos
  • CODAR Ocean Sensors

To find out more about the project visit To see the ocean currents recorded within the last two hours, or within the last week, choose the “Access data” menu option.

It is intended that tidal and residual surface currents will be monitored in two 180 km radius arcs either side of the Fair Isle Gap for a period of six months. Results will be supported by data from a variety of other methods including ADCPs (Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers), low-cost drifters and gliders.