87 Storm Prediction Information for Decision Making at Sea

Monday, 24 January 2011
Lizzie S. R. Froude, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom

Handout (1.2 MB)

Accurate forecast information about cyclones (both tropical and extratropical) is vital for decision making at sea. Activities ranging from ship routing to resource exploration require such information to optimise operations and to prevent economic and human losses. For example Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico have led to repeated disruption of the oil and gas industries located there, and similar disruptions are faced regularly by operators elsewhere in the world. Ship routing systems aim to avoid dangerous weather as well as finding routes that are optimal in terms of time and fuel costs.

In recent years the Environmental Systems Science Centre (ESSC) has developed extensive expertise in analysing the ability of forecast models to predict cyclones. This research has particularly focused on Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS), which provide information about the uncertainty/probability of forecasts of severe weather events. The cyclone tracking approach used provides useful cyclone focused forecast information, which it is not possible to obtain from standard diagnostic techniques. The potential value of this cyclone prediction information has been recognised by a number of industry sectors, including the marine, insurance and oil and gas. However, the question of how to interpret and utilise this information presents a major barrier. This project aims to overcome this barrier by working with British Marine Technology Group Ltd ARGOSS (BMT ARGOSS, http://www.bmtargoss.com/), a technical consulting company, specialist provider and leading innovator in the supply of marine environmental information.

Forecast tools/web services are being developed that present cyclone prediction information from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) EPS in a way that is useful to BMT ARGOSS' clients for improving decision making at sea. Satellite data from the new International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) based at Harwell in the UK is also being incorporated into the forecast tools. The tools under development will make use of eScience tecnologies to access the data remotely and make use of distributed computing techiques. The graphical interfaces are being developed with Google Earth.

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