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Met Data via the Internet. Tim Thornton. There is plenty of weather data available through the official marine channels: VHF, Navtex, Shipping Forecast, Weatherfax, so why use the internet?. Why use the Internet?.

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why use the internet
There is plenty of weather data available through the official marine channels: VHF, Navtex, Shipping Forecast, Weatherfax, so why use the internet?Why use the Internet?

Smartcom Software Ltd

why use the internet3
There is plenty of weather data available through the official marine channels: VHF, Navtex, Shipping Forecast, Weatherfax, so why use the internet?

Convenience – no need to wait for the next broadcast

Why use the Internet?

Smartcom Software Ltd

why use the internet4
There is plenty of weather data available through the official marine channels: VHF, Navtex, Shipping Forecast, Weatherfax, so why use the internet?

Convenience – no need to wait for the next broadcast

Content – much better on the internet in terms of area, parameters, detail etc

Why use the Internet?

Smartcom Software Ltd

why use the internet5
There is plenty of weather data available through the official marine channels: VHF, Navtex, Shipping Forecast, Weatherfax, so why use the internet?

Convenience – no need to wait for the next broadcast

Content – much better on the internet in terms of area, parameters, detail etc

Comprehension – presentation is often easier to understand

Why use the Internet?

Smartcom Software Ltd

why use the internet6
There is plenty of weather data available through the official marine channels: VHF, Navtex, Shipping Forecast, Weatherfax, so why use the internet?

Convenience – no need to wait for the next broadcast

Content – much better on the internet in terms of area, parameters, detail etc

Comprehension – presentation is often easier to understand

Why use the Internet?

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how to connect
How to Connect

A number of different ways to connect to the internet:

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how to connect8
How to Connect

A number of different ways to connect to the internet:

  • Broadband at home
  • Wi-Fi in the marina

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how to connect9
How to Connect

A number of different ways to connect to the internet:

  • Broadband at home
  • Wi-Fi in the marina
  • Mobile phone in coastal waters
  • Satellite phone e.g. Iridium or Fleet offshore

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mobile coverage
Mobile Coverage
  • Vodafone Coverage
  • Need a good antenna to get this range
  • Note lower range of 3G services

Worldwide Coverage (All Networks)

On all 4 GSM frequencies

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facilities
Facilities

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costs uk inc vat
Costs (UK£ inc. VAT)

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how to get data
How to Get Data

A choice of two different ways to access the data:

  • Web browsing on a PC or mobile phone
    • Easy to use
    • Masses of data
    • Slow to download
    • Data not saved for offline access

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how to get data14
How to Get Data

A choice of two different ways to access the data:

  • Download data to software on your PC
    • Needs special software
    • Data more limited
    • Faster, cheaper download (especially if direct to server)
    • Data available offline
    • GRIB files often available

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sources of internet data
Current weather reports e.g. weather stations, weather cams

Remote sensing

Forecast maps

Weather Portals – One stop shops

Forecast data e.g. GRIB

Weather routing

Commercial services

Sources of Internet Data

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weather reports
Weather Reports

Useful for:

  • Seeing the current conditions before you get down to the boat
  • Seeing any local effects, e.g. sea breezes, too small or too short to be forecast
  • Comparing forecasts and actuals

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weather reports17
Weather Reports
  • Weather station reports
  • Weather buoys
  • Reporting Ships
  • Weather cams

Check the time of the weather reports.

Beware of local effects, and the location of the station relative to you

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met office
Met Office

Official Weather Stations

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weather underground
Weather Underground

Personal and Official Weather Stations

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weather underground20
Weather Underground

Weather report –

and data tabulated every 5 mins for personal, 1 or 3 hours for official stations

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us ndbc ships weather buoys etc
US NDBC – Ships, weather buoys etc

Search for all weather reports within a given distance and time period

See all reports with latest data

See the history of data at weather buoys

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smartmet weather reports
SmartMet Weather Reports

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smartmet weather reports24
SmartMet Weather Reports

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remote sensing
Remote Sensing

Weather satellite images and derived products

Visible and infra-red images for cloud type and height, sea surface temperature, ocean currents available real time

Derived products: wind, wave, current etc very useful (particularly over sea areas)

Coverage and speed of delivery needs improving for some products

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pseudo colour image
Pseudo Colour Image
  • Resolution ~1 - 3km/pixel
  • Images up to every 15 minutes
  • White – high cloud; yellow – low cloud
  • Can show sea breeze front on higher res images

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smartmet satellite images
SmartMet Satellite Images

Satellite image overlaid with forecast isobars and wind arrows

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sea surface temperature
Sea Surface Temperature
  • Needs no clouds!
  • Land/sea temperatures can help predict sea and land breezes
  • Gulf Stream & other currents
  • Fish finding e.g. on fronts of temperature changes

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wind speed and direction quickscat and ascat
Wind Speed and Direction- QuickScat and Ascat
  • Satellites each pass twice daily
  • Data 1-2 hours old when processed (or longer depending on source)
  • 25km resolution over open water only
  • Wind direction can be 90 deg out occasionally
  • Can show local behaviours not shown by forecasts

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digital atmosphere
Digital Atmosphere
  • Software for downloading, decoding and viewing current weather reports
  • Also displays GRIB files
  • A huge variety of data is available, but some of it is too technical for the average sailor
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Not as much data for Europe as for USA, due to different government policies
  • Cost from US$89 for the software, downloads free data

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digital atmosphere32
Digital Atmosphere

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numerical forecasts
Numerical Forecasts
  • All forecasts based on numerical models
  • Manual forecaster input only useful for first 1-2 days
  • Synoptic models for global weather forecasts (e.g. GFS, WW3, ECMWF)
  • Mesoscale models for higher resolution local forecasts (e.g. ETA, Theyr, HIRLAM, MM5). These can better model fronts, sea breezes, mountain winds etc

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forecast limitations
Forecast Limitations
  • The smallest feature in the forecast is about 4x the grid size, so a 0.5° forecast doesn’t know about most of the Channel
  • High Res forecasts from Theyr, ProGRIB, Moving Weather, WindGuru, Kona all use GFS model as the starting point, with no extra met data input, so are often no better than the GFS model (though sometimes they are)
  • Beware of sites and software that just interpolate to get a higher resolution, e.g. Moving Weather, or web sites giving forecasts for “your location”, e.g. BBC

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weather maps
Weather Maps
  • Many sites have weather maps for viewing
  • Typically generated automatically from numerical models
  • Sites may use the same data source but just presented differently
  • Images can be large, so slow to download
  • Viewing relatively inflexible

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weather map sites
Weather Map Sites

Westwind – www.westwind.ch - searchable database of all European data

Theyr – high resolution forecasts – www.theyr.net or www.theyr.tv

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westwind example
Westwind Example

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met office38
Met Office

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grib files
GRIB Files
  • Standard file format displayed by many chart plotters
  • Download numerical data – faster than images
  • Free data: 1 or 0.5 degree, 3 or 6 hour resolution of wind, pressure etc, all repackaged from standard US sources
  • Use tools like Saildocs or download from sites like Raymarine
  • Higher resolution data at a charge e.g. Meteo France NaviMail, ProGrib
  • Each file is standalone, so cannot combine downloads

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free grib file sources
Free GRIB File Sources

Raytech – www.raymarine.com (3 day fcsts)

Navcenter.com – www.navcenter.com/newdwnld.ccml

Global Marine Net – www.globalmarinenet.net/grib.htm (5 day fcsts)

Saildocs – www.saildocs.com - e-mail service

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grib files41
GRIB Files

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moving weather
Moving Weather
  • Uses standard GFS data, but interpolates to make it seem better
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Good for overview or long passages, but not detailed enough for coastal sailing
  • Cost £25 for the software, and £125/year for the forecasts

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ugrib
UGrib
  • Uses standard GFS data for wind, rain and pressure
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Uses discrete GRIB files
  • Free of charge (at the moment!)

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smartmet
SmartMet
  • Combines forecasts, satellite imagery, current weather reports – widest range of data of any software in its class
  • Small, fast downloads – smaller than GRIB
  • Integrated database, no problems of separate files
  • GRIB import and export
  • Subscription £49/year

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chart plotters with grib
Chart Plotters with GRIB
  • seaPro – GRIB viewer and routing
  • Maxsea – GRIB downloads, viewer and optional routing
  • Raytech – GRIB downloads, viewer and routing
  • Nobeltec – GRIB downloads and viewer

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weather routing
Weather Routing

Calculating the quickest route to sail

Inputs:

  • Your boat’s polars
  • Tidal streams / ocean currents
  • Forecast winds (GRIB file)

Outputs:

  • Optimal route
  • Isochrones

Programs: Maxsea, seaPro, Raytech, Deckman

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maxsea routing
Maxsea Routing

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conclusions
Conclusions
  • Huge amounts of data out there
  • Research the data that meets your needs before going afloat
  • Trade-off of cost of data against level of detail, reliability and comms costs
  • Always compare the forecast with what you observe!

Smartcom Software Ltd