The forecastMeteorological Technology International, the only true review of climate,                                     ...
Weather routingby Keith ThomsonSHIP’S LOGWeather routing providesa major role in vessel economyA combination of weather fo...
Weather routing                                                   “The more accurate the starting                         ...
Weather routingforecasts, ocean current patterns, shipcharacteristics and special cargorequirements. For most transits thi...
Weather routing  Tropical storm charts depicting historic and  forecast track and area of uncertainty in relation to  a de...
Voyage case studyby Aiste HoffbeckPORT OUT,STARBOARD HOMEHow the world’s largest containercarrier uses met data to save fu...
Voyage case study      “The improved tool has an impressive potential: by utilizing  environmental information fuelsavings...
Voyage case studyvessels. The voyage is from Hong Kong toTanjung Pelepas in Malaysia with onealternative route following t...
Weather Routing Meteorological May 2011
Weather Routing Meteorological May 2011
Weather Routing Meteorological May 2011
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Weather Routing Meteorological May 2011


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Weather Routing Meteorological May 2011

  1. 1. The forecastMeteorological Technology International, the only true review of climate, Editorweather, oceanic prediction, measurement, and analysis technologies Christopher Hounsfield ( t was a very dark, system. It amazed me that the No sooner had the storm started Assistant editor I oppressive night, hot and close. The nearest town was company says there are up to 24,000 fatalities a year due to strikes, with than it passed. My best friend and I had completely forgotten about the Bunny Richards ( than 60km away. The sound of 10 times more injuries. Almost as exercise. But as the sky cleared, theheavy gunfire was deafening. A impressive is that the longest single storm subsided and then the first Chief sub-editorwhole regiment of tanks (57) were flash detected was 120 miles long, green curtain gently fell down from Alex Bradleyfiring their main 120mm rifled guns; and lasted nearly two seconds. the highest reaches of the ionosphere. Sub-editoreach tank was also blasting off tracer Despite being ‘in the field’ for As I lay on my back atop a grassy William Bakerbullets at a rate of knots from its two almost three weeks, this night firing hillock, smoking a cigarette, G&T in Production manager7.62mm coaxial machine guns. exercise was different: I noticed a hand, the amazing phenomenon of Ian DonovanBehind this were advancing two change – a fresh chill in the the aurora borealis (northern lights) Production team Carole Doran, Lewis Hopkins,battalions of infantry, about 1,200 atmosphere and a thick blackness began to play its dance across the Cassie Inns, Robyn Skalskymen, each soldier heavily armed and that was creeping in from the west. night sky. Mesmerizing; tranquilityusing it. Behind them were two The advancing gloom was amid mayhem, with greens, pinks, Publication & sales directormortar troops, and behind them a interrupted with almighty flashes and blues weaving and waving across Barry Smithbattery of 155mm artillery. All this within, and a rumble that was the heavens, all caused by emissionsmetal was getting really busy, all starting to grow even louder than of photons in the Earth’s upper Art directorammunition was live. This was the massive roar around me. It did atmosphere, which are excited by the James SutcliffeBATUS (British Army Training Unit not take long: within just a few collision of solar wind particles being Design teamSuffield) in a remote, but large corner minutes the darkness swept across funneled and accelerated along the Louise Adams, Andy Bass, Anna Davie, Andrew Locke,of the Canadian prairies. us, and the rain hit, but this was Earth’s magnetic field. Apparently, Craig Marshall, Nicola Turner, On this particular night I was something to be ignored. We were storm skies are more prone to the Julie Welby, Ben Whitestuck somewhere in the middle of under a vast sky. The nearest tree spectacle, as storms leave an ‘auroral Proofreadersthe slow move forward. I was a was miles away – this was the oval’ open, particularly in this region. Aubrey Jacobs-Tyson,‘battle captain’, ensuring fuel and prairies – and bolts of lightning were The only way to predict this is to Frank Millardammo went to the forward units. But flying across, from horizon to study solar winds. It seemed thethe lack of involvement in the horizon, up and down, and all atmosphere was doing its job of Editorial directorexcitement was compensated by the joined. It was absolutely spectacular. keeping the radiation away, and I was Anthony Jamesgreatest meteorological experience I Apparently an Irish Guards vehicle happy to watch the greatest light Managing directorhave ever witnessed. was hit, with minor burn injuries, show above Earth as a mighty encore Graham Johnson to the greatest light show ‘on’ Earth. CEO In this issue of MTI the well- but they had been shooting at our Tony Robinsonestablished company Vaisala writes tank bins for hours, so rough justice. The inclusion of ‘total’ lightningabout lightning detection. It It is said that streaks of lightning sensors at weather stations allowsdescribes the establishment of a with no obstacle can easily travel detection of all types of lightning,worldwide network that can detect across 50 miles of sky, and I am and therefore an increased ability tolightning storms and, based on certain this is what I witnessed. ‘nowcast’ tracking of severe weatherexisting data and modeling, predict Fueled by massive daytime heating, events. It could save lives, and a few ISSN 2042-7190exactly how the lightning storm will the atmosphere is often highly Irish Guards’ eyebrows. published byperform, expand, dissipate, or unstable, and extreme weather UKIP Media & Events Ltdbehave – an extraordinary global virtually impossible to predict. Christopher Hounsfield, editor Contact us at: Meteorological Technology International October 18-20, Brussels, Belgium: The most significant dates of 2011! Abinger House, Church Street, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1DF, UK If you are looking for new measurement, forecasting, inviting more than 10,000 key decision makers tel: +44 1306 743744 or analysis technologies, weather or research within the world’s major commercial purchasers of email: service providers, Meteorological Technology World meteorological measurement and forecasting Printed by Expo is your new must-attend event. equipment and services, including airports, marine Nuffield Press, 21 Nuffield Way, The international exhibition will be held from ports, airlines, military operations, wind farms, Ashville Trading Estate, Abingdon, October 18-20, 2011, in the center of Brussels, offshore facilities, and agriculture users, as well as Oxfordshire, OX14 1RL Belgium, one of Europe’s busiest hubs for all of the world’s national and regional met offices The views expressed in the articles international business activity. Entrance to the expo and research institutes. We’re expecting and technical papers are those of the is free and there will be free-to-attend forums that Meteorological Technology World Expo to be the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher. While every delve into the latest meteorological technologies, largest exhibition of its kind ever staged.” care has been taken during trends, services, and concepts. So whether you are looking for new business production, the publisher does not Graham Johnson, managing director of UKIP partners or to meet up with your established accept any liability for errors that may have occurred. Copyright ©2011 Media & Events Ltd, the global publishing and suppliers in one convenient location, Meteorological exhibitions company that publishes Meteorological Technology World Expo 2011 is the place to be. Visit Subscriptions Technology International and is staging the new £60/US$108 expo, says, “Meteorological Technology World Expo for regular exhibitor and visitor updates and to will bring the pages of this magazine to life. We’re register for your free entry pass.4 • ME TEOROLOGICA L TECHNOLOGY IN TERN ATION A L M AY 2011
  2. 2. Weather routingby Keith ThomsonSHIP’S LOGWeather routing providesa major role in vessel economyA combination of weather forecasting and the study of ocean currents has led to therise of the shipping route agencies eather routing of ocean-going compilation of atmospheric and meteorological centres and private W shipping has been practiced for many hundreds of years. Early Arab oceanographic data from ships’ log books meant that climatological averages of ocean meteorological companies, and by applying available surface and upper airtraders used the regular monsoons of the weather and ocean currents became forecasts to transoceanic shipping, itArabian Sea to navigate to East Africa and to available to mariners, and this information became possible to effectively avoid muchthe Indian subcontinent, while 15th century was used by early pioneers to develop heavy weather while generally sailingsailors took advantage of their knowledge of seasonally recommended routes for sailing shorter routes than previously.prevailing trade winds and currents to ships and early steam-powered vessels. In the last 20 years, the rapidoptimize their routes from Spain and In the mid 20 th century the modern development of computers, the internet andPortugal to the New World and back. concept of ship weather routing began to communications technology, together with In the 19th century, systematic be put into operation by national advances in meteorological analysis6 • ME TEOROLOGICA L TECHNOLOGY IN TERN ATION A L M AY 2011
  3. 3. Weather routing “The more accurate the starting analysis of the atmosphere from which the model is run, the better the final forecast will be” A typical bulk carrier which makes regular use Output of forecast winds (wind barbs) and wave height (colored contours) from present day of weather routing services atmospheric and ocean wave modelstechniques and atmospheric modeling, has to the maritime industry for more than 20 pre-determined goal (fuel savings, avoidingmade a much more detailed and accurate years. The company maintains two damage to cargo on deck and so on) andweather routing service widely available to operations centers; one in the USA and one those services dedicated to passivelymarine users on all scales. in the UK. Together the two offices deliver tracking a vessel’s progress to evaluate the 24 hour marine weather forecasting and speed and consumption performance forWeather routing services ship routing services to a global client base. contractual purposes. In the case ofThere are several private companies and Across the industry there are different Aerospace & Marine these services arepublicly funded bodies providing ship variables to the traditional weather routing Optimum Voyage Routing (OVR) androuting services. One such private company service. To a large extent two different Performance Monitoring (PMO).is Aerospace & Marine International (AMI) groups can be identified; those actively The goal of OVR is to develop the bestwhich has been providing weather services optimizing a vessel’s sea passage to achieve a route for a ship based on existing weather ME TEOROLOGICA L TECHNOLOGY IN TER N ATION A L M AY 2011 • 7
  4. 4. Weather routingforecasts, ocean current patterns, shipcharacteristics and special cargorequirements. For most transits this willmean the minimum transit time that avoids OPTIMUM SHIP ROUTINGsignificant risk to the vessel, crew and For most transits optimum shipping routing to the voyage. A preliminary routingcargo. The aim is not to avoid all adverse will mean the minimum transit time that message is transmitted to the master of aweather but to find the best balance to avoids significant risk to the vessel, crew vessel prior to departure with a detailedminimize time of transit and fuel and cargo. The goal is not to avoid all forecast of expected storm tracks, anconsumption without placing the vessel at adverse weather but to find the best initial route proposal with reasoningrisk to weather damage or crew injury. balance to minimize time of transit and fuel behind the recommendation, and alsoDuring the voyage, regular forecasts and consumption without placing the vessel at the expected weather conditions to beroute recommendations are provided to the risk to weather damage or crew injury. encountered along that route.vessel to aid the master in choosing the Route planning normally will start by This allows the master to better planbest route as described. reviewing the appropriate Pilot Chart his route and offers an opportunity to In contrast to active routing, the goal of Atlases and Sailing Directions (planning communicate with the service anyperformance monitoring is to measure and guides) to determine the normal weather special concerns that he or she mightprepare a report on the performance of the patterns, weather risks and prevailing have due to special cargo requirementssubject vessel in terms of speed and ocean currents. The Routing Service then or ship condition. Once the vesselconsumption of fuel along its route versus reviews recent weather patterns and departs, the vessel’s progress isthe contractual speed and consumption for weather forecast charts to determine the monitored closely with weather and routethe same vessel. This report requires an most likely conditions during the course updates sent as needed.independent analysis to determine what lossof speed was due to weather and currents,and what was due to the vessel’s surface has meant that dynamic ocean‘malfunction’ if any. current models are now initialized with The route forecaster uses specialized real-time surface elevation data. Thisgeographic information system software allows much greater precision in thewhich enables display of the vessel route modeling of ocean currents down to a fineon charts overlain with wind, wave, scale of a few miles and it means that shipscurrent, and several other types of can be routed much more accurately inrelevant meteorological factors such as sea relation to adverse or favorable, icebergs, and freezing spray. The route For example, strong current gyres in thewaypoints are plotted and compared to Gulf of Mexico change only slowly over aseveral other reasonable variations of the period of days and these can be used tosame route. The full set of routes is then great effect by the routing agency to reducesimulated taking into account the vessel sailing times by a couple of hours for thecharacteristics, forecast weather and ocean addition of a few extra miles. Slower vesselscurrents so that the optimum route can Ocean current chart showing a vessel route to are much more affected by currents, as theeasily be determined. Once underway the take maximum advantage of favorable Brazil speed of the current is a much larger westerly currentvessel’s actual positions are added to the percentage of the vessel speed, and theroute, and the vessel’s progress is vessel remains under the influence of thecontinuously monitored and updated graph on the previous page. This means that current for longer. A good example is shownwhen necessary, due to adverse weather or vessels can be routed to avoid an expected in the graph above left which depicts aother factors. storm which may not even exist yet, but typical westbound track taking advantage of which with a high level of certainty will the current patterns off the north-east coastLatest technologies in forecasting form somewhere ahead along the vessel’s of Brazil, close to the Equator.There have been major advances in recent present track. The global models are also A very strong current flows parallel toyears in meteorological analysis now beginning to pick up some tropical the coast from east to west throughout thetechniques and atmospheric modeling. storm development days before the storm year, and this strong current occasionallyMuch effort has been applied to has even been officially recognized by the breaks down into an eddy so that there is adeveloping methods to assimilate the vast respective regional forecast centers. branch moving from west to east some wayamounts of available satellite and other Another area where there has been a to the north. A slow vessel, say a drilling rigforms of remotely measured data into significant improvement is in the modeling being towed by a tug, can save three days orglobal atmospheric models. of ocean currents. In the past, current data more on a trip from the Gulf of Mexico to The more accurate the starting analysis was painstakingly extracted from ships’ Brazil despite adding 100-200 miles to theof the atmosphere from which the model is logs by comparing distance sailed over journey, by remaining to the north of therun, the better the final forecast will be. As a ground with distance actually sailed strong adverse current core and in theresult these models are now capable of through the water, and these observations following current branch of the eddy.producing accurate global forecasts of winds were collated into charts of monthly Vessels sailing east to west stay furtherand waves for up to a week ahead, and to averages which were the main source of south within the core of the current and ingive some detail about larger scale patterns ocean current information for masters and this way can improve voyage times byfor another week beyond that. other interested parties. The introduction several days. An example of the type of output of satellites capable of measuring to a high These regions of strong current wereavailable from such models is shown in the degree of accuracy the elevation of the sea depicted on the historic monthly averaged ME TEOROLOGICA L TECHNOLOGY IN TER N ATION A L M AY 2011 • 9
  5. 5. Weather routing Tropical storm charts depicting historic and forecast track and area of uncertainty in relation to a deep sea tow’s trackcharts, but the day-to-day fine detail wasnot available from these charts and masterswould find the favorable currents or avoidthe adverse currents by trial and error.Nowadays the routing company has accessto this fine scale current detail and voyagescan be tweaked and updated on a daily basisto ensure the best and most favorable routeis used which takes maximum advantage ofthe currents.Other routing considerationsOther non-meteorological factors alsoinfluence the choice of routes available.A recent and unforeseen developmenthas been the rapid increase in piracy inthe Indian Ocean originating from thefailed state of Somalia. As recently as fiveyears ago, vessels sailed with impunityacross the Arabian Sea into and out of theGulf of Aden. Attacks were carried out by small groupsof pirates in skiffs which were vulnerable tostrong winds and rough seas. The attacksthen began to become more sophisticated,making use of larger hijacked vessels as busiest sea routes in the world connecting Another factor which is having a majormother ships, pushing the area at risk across the Far East with Europe via the Red Sea impact on vessel routing is the price of fuel.the Arabian Sea to the west coast of India. and Suez Canal is now a risky undertaking, Recent geopolitical events have conspired toThis has meant a drastic change in routing and some operators are sending their vessels send the price of crude oil to historicallypatterns over the area, so that safety is now around South Africa and adding many days high levels.the sole concern. What used to be one of the to their voyages. Traditional weather routing still plays a vital role in minimizing fuel consumption, but other methods of fuel conservation are being practiced regularly by operators, including sailing at most economical speed or suggesting an optimal RPM setting for a given voyage. All these ‘variants’ to traditional weather routing continue to be totally dependant on accurate weather and ocean currents data to provide meaningful advice to the vessel. These methods will continue to be expanded on in the coming months and years, especially in scenarios of high fuel price and increased concern over greenhouse emissions regulations for shipping. Weather routing is a tool which can be used to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the global shipping industry. Collaboration between routing providers and vessel operators will result in improvement of existing services and development of new ideas, ensuring that weather routing continues to play an important role in vessel economy and safety in the future. ❚ Keith Thomson is the UK operations manager of Five days outlook animated wind and wave charts for Atlantic north east Aerospace & Marine International (UK) Ltd10 • ME TEOROLOGICA L TECHNOLOGY IN TERN ATION A L M AY 2011
  6. 6. Voyage case studyby Aiste HoffbeckPORT OUT,STARBOARD HOMEHow the world’s largest containercarrier uses met data to save fuelBy analyzing information on wind, waves, and currents, Eco Voyage is proving to be auseful cost-cutting tool in commercial shipping, as well as an aid in oceanic research co Voyage is a tool that was designed E to provide the planner of a trans- ocean voyage with information onoptimal speed through every part of thejourney. This enables the propulsion powerto remain as constant as possible to obtainthe lowest possible fuel consumption andCO2 emissions. Based on vessel particularsand detailed up-to-date information onexpected currents, wind, waves, and depthrestrictions along the planned route, theoptimal power and revolutions/minute (rpm)profile can be chosen. This way unwantedoscillations in the ship’s power can beavoided while still maintaining a fixedestimated time of arrival. The improved toolhas an impressive potential: by utilizingenvironmental information fuel savings of0.5-1% are expected. The project was developed by the VesselPerformance section in Maersk MaritimeTechnology (MMT), in cooperation withMaersk Line Vessel Management (MLVM)and Maersk Tankers (MT). The developmentis supported by The A. P. Moller Foundation. Eco Voyage functions in a way thatupdated sea current information is receivedfrom other vessels on the same routethrough a central server. In addition, theweather forecast program provides wind,wave, and current forecasts. Thisinformation is used to plan the most optimaland efficient route for every vessel. Testing of the system is almost finishedand the Vessel Performance section inMaersk Maritime Technology is now readyto evaluate the results. To illustrate how theprogram works, Kim Henriksen, the EcoVoyage prime mover in the vesselperformance section of MMT, prepared anexclusive simulation of calculating andplanning a voyage for one of the company’s12 • ME TEOROLOGICA L TECHNOLOGY INTERN ATION A L M AY 2011
  7. 7. Voyage case study “The improved tool has an impressive potential: by utilizing environmental information fuelsavings of 0.5-1% are expected” ME TEOROLOGICA L TECHNOLOGY IN TER N ATION A L M AY 2011 • 13
  8. 8. Voyage case studyvessels. The voyage is from Hong Kong toTanjung Pelepas in Malaysia with onealternative route following the Vietnamcoast and the other one in open sea.Focus on currentsThe first step in preparing the voyage plan islooking at the navigational requirements –the shortest route at deep water. However,there are restrictions, such as traffic zones,that need to be followed correctly. For eachvoyage a passage plan needs to be made thatdescribes the route and that route must bechecked within an electronic chart displayand information system (ECDIS). “We need Hub points are used to segment the voyage and Vessels can receive updated current informationto be aware of all points where the route will make information sharing more precise from sister vessels that are on the same routechange and these points need to be includedin route description,” explains Henriksen.“We call them waypoints.” This is where the weather comes in.When creating an overview of waypoints,one should look into the weather forecastsfor the period of the voyage. Of course, it isespecially bad weather that is of mostinterest, but sea currents also get a fair shareof attention as avoiding a head current cansignificantly save on the amount of fuel. After the route is defined in the ECDIS, itgets transferred into Eco Voyage program,where additional information such as speedrestrictions, shallow water or planningrestrictions can be added. A map functionshows the route and a number of hub points Shortest way on the map does not mean the most Voyage planning includes weather forecaststhat are used for segmenting the voyage and efficient voyage, therefore routes are optimized and prediction of sea currentsfor sharing sea current information withothers. The observations of currents from sister vessels are received from a server including a prediction of ocean currents. located in Copenhagen. This program does have a relatively simple The latest update of the program also model for calculating speed loss due to wind includes zones with increased pirate activity. and waves. It is possible to calculate up to This is important as vessels are required to four route alternatives of which three follow sail faster through such areas, as speed navigational lines: Rhumb Line (direct line), remains the best method for preventing Great Circle (shortest distance) or a pirate attacks. In this case Eco Voyage combination of both. calculates the higher speed in pirate- “There is one more alternative and that is populated areas that need to be matched an optimal route where an algorithm with lower speed later in the journey to optimizes the balance between extra distance compensate for increased fuel consumption. and speed loss,” says Henriksen. “Sometimes Calculations for passing shallow water the longer way might take less time and vice are similar, but in this case, lower speed is versa. But voyages are not equally easy to advised that need to be made up for at a optimize, as the waypoints of the original later stage in order to stick to the schedule. route are kept and the more waypoints there are the less optimization is possible.” Many route choices After calculation, the influence of the Most of the voyages follow a fixed schedule weather on the speed will be available in the where arrival and departure is known, and Eco Voyage program. Eco Voyage has an to save fuel, Maersk vessels try to avoid advantage as it is working on the same wasting time that is caused both by late database and models as the vessel departure and early arrival. Therefore speed performance monitoring system and needs to be carefully calculated and that is therefore all information of vessel’s done with regard to the effects of currents. performance is up-to-date. Therefore Eco Voyage is a flexible program that can benefit both performance and science because of the data After it is done, the route description is weather predictions are important, but their collected transferred to the route planning program in influence can vary, depending on the overall which the weather forecasts can be seen, condition of the vessel.14 • ME TEOROLOGICA L TECHNOLOGY IN TERN ATION A L M AY 2011