Marine Forecasting Course 2017

The Marine Forecasting Course is a distance learning course designed to train forecasters to improve the quality of marine forecasting and nowcasting through the better use of satellite and model data. The course is a joint project from EUMeTrain and EUMETCAL with the goal of preparing forecasters in the core skills related to marine nowcast and forecasts

This on-line training course focuses on continually analyzing and monitoring the marine weather situation, forecasting marine phenomena, variables and parameters and issuing warnings of hazardous phenomena. During the course participants were requested to complete several training goals: creating a showcase of their own choice, completing the learning modules and associated quizzes and discussing relevant topics in the course on the forum.

The course was mainly asynchronous and only three lectures/practical sessions were given by the experts on marine weather in the period. Short descriptions and recordings of the lectures are below.

Lecture 1: Ocean Waves


Presented by Jean Bidlot (ECMWF)

Starting from the basics, this lecture introduces the students to wave model products (eg. wave height and mean propagation direction), wave spectrum analysis, long swell forecasts, extreme forecast index etc. Since these outputs (alongside data from the bouys) are the basic material marine forecasters have for forecasting and nowcasting waves in seas and especially in oceans, explaining the positive and negative sides of model outputs is very important for understanding and thus correctly using the products marine forecasters use.

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Lecture 2: Sea Surface Vector Winds


Presented by Ad Stoffelen (KNMI)

The lecture deals with modelled winds and winds derived from instruments onboard satellites like Metop-A and Metop-B in low orbits around the Earth (polar orbits). Today's models are evolving at a rate that is faster than the increase of density of observations and that presents a problem for forecasts. Here stands the question 'Will meteorology continue to develop and improve?'. The lack of observed data is thus filled with the data from satellites, although this data also has its own constraints due to the way it is derived. In the lecture the characteristics of the satellites carrying instruments for measuring winds and waves will be explained and the logic behind the calculations of winds using satellites will be discussed.

Scatterometer data are used for many different purposes in marine meteorology, e.g. warnings, enhancement of situational awareness for winds, monitoring of storm evolution, low pressure systems, etc., therefore marine forecasters using the products about wind and waves from satellites will be instructed how to use them and when to combine the data with model outputs.

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Lecture 3: Arctic Sea Ice Observations


Presented by Rasmus Tonboe (DMI)

Sea ice has always posed a threat to ships sailing through the northern Atlantic and also the ice was a clear indication of climate changes since the start of satellite observations in the 1970s. Satellites from their beginning have helped very much in tracking the condition and movements of ice sheets over North Pole and Antarctica. Sea ice condition, its melting and freezing over again in winter are important to track to see how they are affecting the weather and climate in these parts. Many satellite products and models were developed to distinguish thin one year ice from the thicker multiyear ice and to determine the actual thickness of these sheets. Further questions like how does ice affect radiation, how does snow affect the ice and what is the quality of the models that are used, will be answered during this lecture.

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Out of 23 received cases, experts selected these 7 to be published on EUMETSAT's page:

Selected case studies:

  • The storm of the century, December 2010, Oren Davidoff
  • The tropical-like cyclone of November 7, 2014, Eleftheria Tsiniari - Will soon be available!
  • Hazardous Waves along Australia’s east coast, Dave McQueen - Will soon be available!
  • Winds and waves during SE Europe cold wave, Tomislava Ljubas - Will soon be available!
  • Cold spell in the Spanish East Coast, Nicolás Bermejo - Will soon be available!
  • Explosive cyclogenesis in the Rio de la Plata and Atlantic Ocean, María Cecilia Villegas - Will soon be available!
  • Record high waves in northern parts of the Baltic, January 2017, Linnea Rehn