Making the Most of Probabilistic Marine Forecasts on Timescales of Days, Weeks and Months Ahead

Steele, Edward (Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom) | Neal, Robert (Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom) | Bunney, Christopher (Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom) | Evans, Benjamin (Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom) | Fournier, Nicolas (Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom) | Gill, Philip (Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom) | Mylne, Kenneth (Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom) | Saulter, Andrew (Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom)

OnePetro 

AbstractMarine forecasts are essential to operational planning, with decisions able to be guided by a host of different weather products spanning a period of days, weeks and even months ahead. The correct selection and subsequent application of these different types of weather products has the potential to save many thousands of dollars per day in operational downtime, however this is only possible when the science underpinning these marine forecasts is properly understood by the user. In the current economic context, this is especially relevant to the offshore industry – whose use of forecasting technology is traditionally very conservative, and therefore whose planning is often more reactive – allowing large savings (e.g. mobilization / demobilisation costs) if robust decisions are made as early as possible. Two established methods for the interpretation of probabilistic data based on cost-loss and weather regime analysis are described and applied to ocean wave forecasting. It is suggested the selection of methods will be dependant on the timescales of interest, with the cost-loss analysis optimised for supporting decisions at timescales on days to weeks ahead and the weather regime analysis optimized for supporting decisions at timescales of weeks to months ahead. The application of these methods are illustrated from the point of view of a North Sea asset manager planning the mobilization of equipment / personnel under conditions of calm weather, and the protection of equipment / personnel under conditions of severe weather. For such a user, efficient operational planning will be best supported by the use of marine forecasts across all such timescales, from days to months ahead. It is intended that this will enable more informed decision-making, and help reduce operational costs, by promoting increased confidence in longer-range forecasts than are typically used by the offshore oil & gas and marine renewable energy sector.