Build confidence in weather windows with Long Range Forecasting

Six considerations when choosing a long-range forecast partner in offshore

For offshore organizations looking to improve cost efficiencies, long-range forecasts potentially unlock new opportunities to reduce costs and optimize decision-making processes. Long-range forecasts aid planning and decision making by illustrating the confidence of the forecast for a longer period. It also supports risk management and can be customized to meet specifically requested parameters.

But how do you know which weather partner to choose?

It’s crucial to join forces with a weather company that has specialized experience in the offshore industry. Ask for information on how their forecasts are made and verified. If no insight is available, alarm bells should ring.

Here are six other characteristics to look for in a long-range forecast provider:

  1. Clear insight into global correlations

Fundamentally, long-range forecasts require knowledge and skills in the drivers and interconnectivity of global weather patterns. These include relationships between atmospheric, oceanographic, and other physical phenomena.

For example, sea surface temperatures in the southern hemisphere can affect large-scale air pressure patterns in the northern hemisphere. What happens in the higher layers of air around the North Pole eventually might bring a severe cold spell to the U.S., Europe, and northern Asia.

Discovering, identifying, and monitoring how different global weather patterns interact is important for increased predictability and precise forecasts. When choosing a provider, consider the extent to which they have this knowledge and use it in their forecasts.

  1. Database of historical weather observations and re-analysis.

Observations are crucial for dependable long-range forecasts. Suppose that ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) is currently active, which means warmer than average sea waters over a large portion of the central and eastern Tropical Pacific. Having a database of climate index values allows meteorologists to search for similar past occurrences. A visualization tool enables forecasters to create a probability distribution map of how El Nino typically influences global weather patterns. A sophisticated tool also allows them to analyze the combined result of El Nino, and other global weather patterns, such as the North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperatures.

If several patterns suggest similar climate anomalies, then the forecast confidence increases. Creating accurate statistical forecasts based on previous data is a robust methodology for enhancing long-range weather forecasts.

  1. Calibration of model data

Reputable weather providers use a standard numerical weather model as a starting point for long-term predictions. More sophisticated providers will create their own model mix, crafting an effective combination of multiple models to create a statistically-optimized combination, which generates the most reliable outcomes.

The best providers calibrate weather models, meaning they analyze the past performance of the model and add verified data to make it more accurate for future predictions.

  1. Working with probabilities

When setting a weather forecast for the next three days, you can talk about the expected highs and lows. If you look at 15-days from now, realistically, you’ll only be able to talk about trends and opportunities. A long-range forecast is, therefore, embedded into opportunities; it offers an indication where the possible disruptions may be found.

An experienced provider links a confidence measure to the long-range forecast, for example: low, medium, high. The probability of the forecast coming true depends on, among other things:

  • The number of model options that choose a particular direction
  • The extent to which different global weather patterns show the same trends
  • The season of the forecast
  1. Meteorological support to your organization

Check to see if the provider can support your decision making with expert guidance provided by meteorologists. Establish whether they can communicate the complete weather story, including the most-likely scenarios, the critical impacts expected, and the risks and confidence level.

  1. Experience in working with offshore organizations

In addition to the previous five characteristics, verify the weather organization’s offshore and marine credentials. Establish whether:

  • The supplier understands the intricacies and complexities of forecasting for different offshore locations around the globe
  • They able to tailor forecast information to your risk profile, location, and project priorities
  • Have a track record in developing weather models and products specifically for the offshore industry

Curious to find out more about how long-range forecasting can benefit offshore companies? Download our whitepaper on Long-Range Forecasting in the Offshore Industry: Plan Ahead with Confidence