MarineTraffic releases a High-Resolution Weather Forecast tool
MarineTraffic has helped create a prototype that provides high resolution forecast for near port and in port areas (try to understand operational needs due to weather) that is already being applied to fifty ports, but has potential to expand to all ports around the world. MarineTraffic publishes in the context of Accu-Waves project a prototype decision support tool for navigation management in ports.
Ports are vital links for the maritime network and their seamless operation is crucial for the efficiency and safety of maritime transportations. Recent reports of maritime accidents show that most of them occur within ports. In many cases those accidents could have been avoided if additional means of support for navigation had existed. The Αccu-Waves project (abrev. for accurate waves) contributes towards this direction as it has developed a decision support tool for navigation in ports that provides reliable data on prevailing sea states in port approaches and harbour basins in three-day forecasts at 3hr-intervals. Accu-Waves contributes to the safety of maritime transportation, by analysing sea states and understanding related environmental data. This contribution’s impact on the maritime ecosystem is two-fold. It provides quality data for limiting the human error in navigation (I.M.O. e-Navigation strategy) and improves our understanding of operational conditions during towage and navigation services. The latter is a necessary step to support the EU Space Agency procedure for certified navigation paths in ports. The tool is available online at the following link (http://accuwaves.eu/forecast/#).
The Accu-Waves project has addressed two major challenges. The first challenge was to reach a scientific breakthrough on the application of hydrodynamic numerical models. Consortium members from the Laboratories of Harbor Works (N.T.U.A.) and Maritime Engineering (A.U.Th.) have developed three hydrodynamic numerical models for this purpose and combined them so that the outcome takes advantage of each model’s different characteristics and strengths. A 3rd generation spectral wave model for wind-induced irregular wave fields was used to simulate waves in port approaches (Figure A), a mild-slope equation wave model tackled wave propagation and transformation inside harbours (Figure B), and a hydrodynamic model for barotropic circulation incorporated effects related to surges and astronomical tides (Sea surface elevation and currents information in the statistics of Figure A).
Then, with respect to each port’s special characteristics, the project combines intermediate results from up to three of the developed numerical models, in a single highly accurate and concise sea state forecast (you may want to watch the project video for more details).
Accu-Waves’ second challenge was to build a system to acquire data for initial conditions required from each model and orchestrate their executions. MarineTraffic has built such a system and delivered a scalable data fusion and processing platform that is capable of acquiring low resolution forecasts for atmospheric parameters (wind and sea level pressure), wave and hydrodynamic circulation from open data repositories on a daily basis and transforming them based on each model’s needs.
The system has been implemented using modern and scalable software engineering technologies and it has achieved its goal to synchronise execution plans and deliver a 3-day per 3-hour forecast for 50 major ports around the globe to end users. The online system is able to deliver results and possibly exceed the number of forecasted ports according to primary data availability and appropriate future configuration.
In addition to the visualisation of the numerical models delivered to the end-user of the project, the project also combines forecasted weather through its graphical user interface (UI) with the open sea map layer, that depicts useful information for navigation for each port such as lights’ location and orientation as well as traffic separation schemes among others. So the mariner can have a better understanding of the expected weather conditions along with navigational constraints that may apply when calling a port.
The Accu-Waves project is co-funded by the European Union and Greek national funds under grant agreement T1EDK-05111. The project uses the E.U. Copernicus Marine Service Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Service and the Open sea maps.