The Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) has developed a wave and current forecast for fairways, displayed in an interactive map solution on the website BarentsWatch.
The wave forecast service provides navigators with information on wave height, -period and -direction for as long as 60 hours forward in time. The alerts are updated four times a day.
Based on ocean models
The NCA develops the forecasts in cooperation with NORCE, and BarentsWatch, with user testing as an important tool of development. The service is based on ocean models from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA); developed further with methods from SINTEF and US Corps of Engineers, among others.
The service is useful for ferries and high-speed passenger boats, yachts and other vessels in coastal traffic. Based on the forecasts, the navigator may at an early stage asses the safety of a journey in a certain area. The use of wave forecasts may also give an environmental gain. This because voyages may be planned more efficiently and thus may contribute to reduce fuel consumption. The information may also be useful for aquaculture and other coastal industry.
Shipping lanes or surrounding areas
The map solution shows the shipping lanes as lines on the map, and for each lane one can choose to see wave profile diagrams for each forecast showing significant and maximum wave height along the lane. This makes a journey easy to plan in advance. For example, one can see whether there are areas of the sea lane that are too risky to use, and whether it is safe to carry passengers.
The forecasts also provide data for the areas surrounding the shipping lanes. Two separate services have therefore been set up to give information about wave height and direction for the area in general. Point forecasts show wave direction and height in the form of vectors of particularly interesting points in the area. Wave height lines show the significant wave height in the surrounding area. These forecasts are good tools to see how the “going” might be in the area and are useful for both pleasure craft and fishing boats.
The planned voyage can also be drawn directly into the map, or retrieved directly from the boat's navigation platform (ECDIS / ECS). A file is easily added to the service on the website, and you get back a wave alert for your chosen sail.
Crossing waves and current warnings
Crossing waves are also a type of wave that occurs in many places along the Norwegian coast. A special warning has been added to the service through a new methodology developed by NORCE, where it is notified when and where crossing seas occur.
The phenomenon occurs when waves change direction in such a way that the waves cross each other. This most often happens in shelter of a shallow, which act as a lens for the wave energy. Variation in current can also cause crossing sea, but is then often called current sea.
In the same service that shows wave warning, an automatic current warning has also been developed. Here you can better plan a safe voyage on a route through these areas. So far, forecasts have been made for Saltstraumen, Moskstraumen, Langesund, Rakkebåane and Tønsberg-Tønne.