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Oceanweather Forecasting


In 1983, Oceanweather (OWI) was approached to produce a wind and wave forecast for the Discoverer Seven Seas which was one of the largest drillships in the world. OWI had already built a reputation for pioneering the hindcast approach in developing metocean criteria for structure design as well as developing new wind, wave and tropical models. The result was the first operational forecast system which computed vessel response, an approach that is being "rediscovered" even today.

Significant Wave Height Forecast


Since then, OWI forecasting has rapidly expanded. In the late 1980's, the operational forecast was extended to the North Atlantic and North Pacific. A partnership with C-MAP produced the first onboard optimum ship routing system which has continued to evolve into today's Vessel and Voyage Optimization Solution (VVOS). In the 1990's, forecasting was extended to global coverage and regional high-resolution nested models began operational use. The first global wave graphics on the Internet appeared in 1994 as Oceanweather unveiled its Current Marine Data web site for the maritime community.


CYCLOPS Storm Track

Today, OWI runs its global wind and wave models twice per day out to a forecast horizon of 15 days. Multiple high-resolution nested wave models are run up to 4 times per day to service the CYCLOPS product and provide weather data and graphics including Meteograms, API parameters, and OWI's SquallCast via email or web portal access to companies worldwide. Ensemble wind and wave forecasts out to five weeks issued once per week are available globally. OWI continues to improve the models and techniques used in producing forecasts and remain at the cutting edge of global marine forecasting.



OWI has always maintained that the best forecasts are produced by experienced marine meteorologists. Hence, the OWI operational forecast system has evolved to provide the best possible tools for our forecast team.


Tropical WorkStation


Forecast Runstream

South China Sea Regional Wind

Forecast data and marine observations are continuously collected by OWI. Model data from the NCEP (US), US Navy, ECMWF (Europe) and others are routinely evaluated by the forecast team. Observational data from buoys, ships, coastal stations, and satellite measurements of winds and waves are incorporated in the Wind WorkStation (WWS) for both global and regional applications. Tropical forecasts from national centers are used to drive OWI's tropical model which produces high-resolution tropical wind fields. All of this data is presented in the WWS where the forecaster evaluates the current situation and makes enhancements to the marine surface wind fields.

The enhanced wind fields are then run through one of OWI's spectral wave models. Currently, our global model is run twice per day and several high-resolution nested models are run up to four times per day. The resulting wave fields are then validated in realtime against all available observational data.

Output from OWI's forecast is used for a variety of purposes, many of which are detailed on our main forecast web page. We provide operational data for container vessels, offshore oil platforms, web sites, onboard display programs, in-house applications and many others.

Archived data is routinely used for post-voyage analysis, tow simulations and other applications that require near-realtime wind and wave data.

Realtime verification


Forecast-related Publications and Papers

Cox, A.T., B.T. Callahan, M. Ferguson and M.A. Morrone (2017) Tropical Cyclone Wind Field Analysis for Ocean Response Modeling: Hurricane Harvey (2017). 1st International Workshop on Waves, Storm Surges and Coastal Hazards, Liverpool, UK, 10-15 September 2017.

Cox, A.T., 2015. Classification of Radial Wind Profiles for Gulf of Mexico Tropical Cyclones 14th International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting & 5th Coastal Hazard Symposium, Key West, Florida November 8-13, 2015.

Graber, H.C., V.J. Cardone, R.E. Jensen, D.N. Slinn, S.C. Hagen, A.T. Cox, M.D. Powell, and C. Grassl, 2006 : Coastal Forecasts and Storm Surge Predictions for Tropical Cyclones: A Timely Partnership Program, Oceanography, vol. 19 no. 1, pp. 130-141.

Cox, A.T. and V.J. Cardone. 20 Years of Operational Forecasting at Oceanweather. 7th International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting October 21-25, 2002, Banff, Alberta, Canada.

Cox, A.T. and V.J. Cardone. Operational System for the Prediction of Tropical Cyclone Generated Winds and Waves. 6th International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting November 6-10, 2000, Monterey, California.

Cox, A.T., V.J. Cardone and D.T. Resio. Coastal Wave Prediction for Cape Canaveral, Florida. 3rd Conf. on Coastal Atmo. and Oceanic Prediction and Processes. Nov. 3-5, 1999, New Orleans.

Corona, E.N, R. D. Lynch, D. Riffe, V. J. Cardone and A. T.Cox. Typhoon Emergency Response Planning for the South China Sea. OTC 8117. Offshore Technology Conference. 6-9 May, 1996, Houston Texas, 855-868.

For a complete list of OWI publications please view our Recent Publications web page.


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