What Goes Into An Offshore Weather Forecasting Guide?

Offshore weather forecasting

Accurate and reliable weather forecasting is essential for your offshore company. That is why many offshore companies choose to invest in a sophisticated weather forecasting partner and a guide. 

With DTN Offshore Forecasting, your forecast will be reliable, enabling you to access the insights you need to make informed business decisions.

In this article, we will answer two important questions. First, what makes an offshore weather forecasting so important for your offshore project management and why do you need a guide? Second, what makes an offshore weather forecasting guide highly accurate and reliable?

Offshore platform

What makes an offshore weather forecasting so important for your offshore project management, and why a guide?

To answer this first question, we will briefly consider how essential accurate offshore weather forecasting data is to the entire project lifecycle. Let’s split the project cycle into five stages.

Stage 1 – Tendering
Right at the start of a project, you need a highly accurate forecast to establish when a project can safely and efficiently occur.

Stage 2 – Planning
When lining up the right vessels, equipment, and crew, you need to assess the weather forecast to determine if proceeding with each phase of an operation is an acceptable option.

Stage 3 – Start-up
What must be done in this phase? Teams must be mobilized, and work will begin. First, you must outline what you want to achieve, and the weather company will advise you, based on weather conditions, when and when not to work.

Stage 4 – Execution
After you have identified the weather window, the project moves to execution. Now it is about continuous monitoring of the weather, 24 hours a day. Acting on the trustworthy data provided allows you to keep the project on track.

Stage 5 – Review
Now it’s time to evaluate the project’s performance and assimilate the lessons learned. Unfortunately, not every weather company offers a post-project analysis service. This is a key step, as it is an essential bridge to closing the loop and maintaining trust.

Continuing with the answer to our first question, what makes a weather forecasting guide so important for your offshore company? Let’s now consider how the weather data is used in different ways by your offshore company’s various team members.

How the weather data is used by your company’s people and teams (strategic and operational)
Weather does not only affect the members of the team physically required to work in the elements. Weather impacts every portion of any offshore company.

  • General Operations Managers need to understand the impact of weather on business profitability and sustainability.
  • Risk Assessors need to verify that the project meets the mandatory safety requirements regardless of outdoor conditions.
  • Commercial Teams look to maintain adequate cost controls despite weather-induced fluctuations in commodities or schedules.
  • Technical or Marine Operations want to plan for minimal downtime proactively.
  • Project Operations will need to make sure the crew and assets are always safe.
  • Users on site will want to continue to keep operations safely running while allowing for the elements.

An exceptional offshore weather forecasting guide provides detailed weather data packaged in a way that suits the needs of the respective teams.

Let’s now answer the second question asked at the beginning of this article.

Offshore platform in the distance

What makes a weather forecasting application highly accurate and reliable?

Let’s take a brief overview of the answer to this question, breaking it down into five categories:

  • observations,
  • metocean models,
  • statistical post-processing,
  • quality control & data management, and
  • meteorology and forecasting expertise.

Meteorologists use data collected from thousands of observation points. These include weather stations (on land) and buoys (on water). They also use modern IoT techniques.

Remote observation techniques include:

  • triangulating thunderstorm positions via lightning sensors,
  • detecting precipitation by radar images, and
  • using altimeter and scatterometer data from satellites to analyze waves.

Weather experts use observation networks to draw on a broad range of high-quality data from multiple sources to ensure they provide a highly accurate wind and wave forecast.

Meteorological and oceanographic (metocean) models 
Since these models are built on the laws of physics, chemistry, and fluid motion, they are often very complex. They use a mapping system that creates a 3D grid, where factors such as atmospheric motion, pressure, temperature, and humidity are calculated in each grid cell. Interactions with surrounding cells help predict future atmospheric conditions. 

Metocean models use a system to divide the earth into a geospatial grid of latitude and longitude coordinates. Mapping within these coordinates details elevation, land use, and water depth in oceans, seas, or lakes.

Statistical post-processing
A strong forecasting system combines several analyzed weather models. Meteorologists combine the strengths of the metocean model and environmental data for an optimized design.

For the weather experts at DTN, the main resource is the forecasting system Nautical MeteoBase (NMB), used to predict marine weather and the state of the sea.

Quality control & data management
Regarding quality control, all incoming data is checked for accuracy, completeness, and irregularities. For example, algorithms are used to declutter radar data and reduce the number of false precipitation signals. 

Regarding data management, weather data comes in different forms; all this data must be cleaned, normalized, and structured. It can then be analyzed and transformed into valuable information.

Meteorology and forecasting expertise
To truly know and predict the weather, you need a team of experts to guide you. However, it is not just meteorologists that are necessary. You may not immediately think of researchers and innovators as part of the team, but these are important for developing new scientific and technical solutions tailored specifically for you.

The optimal team of experts includes a data provisioning team, weather forecasters, meteorological services, professional services, and a weather systems team.

Storm over the ocean

Achieving forecast accuracy

This article provided a general overview of what goes into an accurate offshore weather forecasting guide. First, it should be clear that there are major differences between freely available weather forecasting sources and high-quality marine weather forecast data.

The high-quality data available to your offshore company through specialist weather companies results in more weather windows and fewer false alarms. The benefit to you will be less project downtime, fewer instances of damaged equipment, and above all, avoidance of life-threatening situations.

DTN Offshore Forecasting is highly accurate. This precision results from being one of the biggest metocean forecasting global divisions with over 30 years of experience in providing forecasting services to the offshore industry.

Plan operations ahead of time. Make confident operational decisions well in advance by accessing wind, wave, and swell forecasts presented to you in an easy-to-understand format and web portal. 

Visit here to learn more.