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- Appendix H Working Group 4: Nearshore Forecasting WILLIAM G. GORDON, New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, Leader PAUL H. GLAIBER, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company GARY L" GRIDLEY, Conoco, Inc. WARREN W. HADER, Montauk Fishermen's Association WALTER KRISTIANSEN, Amoco Transportation Company KATHLEEN ~ MILLER, National Center for Atmospheric Research STEPHEN K RINARD, National Weather Service Southern Region, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration CHARLES L. VINCENT, Coastal Engineering Research Center Today more than ever, U.S. citizens depend on the coastal area to support a variety of economic activities. In the near future 75 percent of the U.S. population will live within 50 miles of a coastline. Increasing users of the area expect and will need timely observations and forecasts of weather, oceanic, Great Lakes, and river phenomena, such as weather, wind, waves, ice and icing conditions, temperature, current, and nearshore processes. Benefits will accrue in safety, economic efficiencies, and rational development This report of Working Group 4 defines the range of user groups, establishes their needs for information, reviews present capabilities, and suggests areas for improvement of near-term and future operation and research to satisfy each need. For the purpose of this workshop, nearshore includes tidal to 200 nautical miles (nmi) offshore, the Great Lakes, and other inland waterways. Coastal waters, with their complex water, land, and air interactions, 108
109 provide most of-our fishery resources. The relatively shallow areas of the marine complex contain energy resources important for the U.S. economy. Increasingly the same areas are used for direct disposal of a variety of unwanted materials. A wide variety of large oceangoing craft, (military and civilian), commercial and recreational fishing vessels, and recreational craft numbering into the millions transit or depend exclusively on these areas. The national economic use of this coastal area requires short- and long- term forecasts of weather and oceanic conditions to assist in protecting such areas from unwanted abuse and destruction, for safe conduct of activities, and for rational development. PRESENT MARINE WEATHER SERVICE The majority of nearshore mariners receive weather information from various sources. Most recreational boaters for example obtain weather information from commercial radio and television stations or from the Weather Radio of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These offer good service for those operating at short distances onshore. A common complaint about NOAA Weather Radio is that of limited range (line of sight for very high frequency [VHF]~. Commercial radio and television offers land coverage, but frequently such coverage is inappropriate over water because it does not take into consideration the substantial variation that can occur over water. Weatherfax machines on board vessels allow for the receipt of many different types of weather and oceanographic maps, but few recreational craft and only the larger commercial fishing vessels are equipped with them. Radio facsimile broadcasts are directed to the high seas and are often poorly received nearshore due to skip of the: signal Satellite images of oceanographic features (e.g., warm-core rings, eddies, temperature, and current boundaries) are used to evaluate prime fishing areas. As an exam- ple, satellite pictures of the Gulf Stream, depicting temperature boundaries and eddies, are routinely used by fishermen in locating swordfish and other large pelagic species. Coast Guard radio also services such craft with notice to mariners and relays National Weather Service (NWS) advice on weather and wave con- ditions. Larger oceangoing craft depend to a greater extent on commercial services and ocean conditions. CURRENT MARINE OBSERVATIONS At the national level, observations on marine weather and oceanic
110 conditions are collected by the NWS of NOAA These include buoys, C- Man, Volunteer Ship Observations (VOS) program and the Marine Reports Network (MAREPS). The buoy program is managed by the National Data Buoy Offlce (NDBO). The buoys measure basic meteorological factors such as And, temperature (air and sea), pressure, and waves. These buoys report once an hour into NWS communications via a GOES satellite. They are located at 54 coastal and high-seas sites. The main advantage is that they are obtaining over-the-water accurate and reliable data and provide good time series and climate data. Some buoys report spectral information, and a few of those also report wave direction. C-Man, or the Coastal observation network, is operated by the NDBO in a similar fashion as the buoys, except this system does not normally observe waves. Most sites have vely good marine exposure but are repre- sentative of a coastal location and are not over the water such as the buoy system. Through VOS, offshore ship operators reports are sent via CW to land-based radio stations (Coast Guard and commercial) and then into NWS. More modern methods also employ satellite communications. Most observations are subjective (except pressure). This forms the basis of all high-seas observations. The marine environment is a data environment very few observations are available over broad ocean areas. The MARlEP network uses marinas, Sea Grant, and ham and contract radio operators to collect uncoded marine observations from small boats on position, wind, seas, visibility, and weather. These observations are in turn relayed to NWS marine forecasts offices. Such observations assist the marine forecasting and verification programs with the result being more accurate forecasts and warnings and a safer marine environment. A more immediate user payback is the anticipation of direct user input into the forecasting program and the ability to obtain the latest marine forecast and warning through the MARK P operator. Observations from the above as well as from satellite and land-based sources are utilized to develop the present array of marine weather and ocean condition forecasts. MARINE NEARSHORE USERS A variety of users need and use nearshore ocean and weather observa- tions and forecasts. All users make use of marine and general forecasts in their day-to-day activities; during critical weather periods this use increases. Such users are identified in Able H-1, along with needs, frequency of need, and potential areas for improvement.
111 TABLE H-1 Nearshore Forecasting Users, Needs, and Improvements . . . _ Frequency Needs User Needs of Needs Improvement Commercial fishemnen Wind, wore temp., 6 hours More site tides specific Recreational fishermen Wind, wave, weather 6 hours More site specific Recreational boaters Wind, wave, weather 6 hours More site specific Beach goere Wind, wave, weather, 12 hours More site Tide specific Coastal construction Wind, ware, weather 12 hours More site tide specific Tug and barge Wind, weather, tide 6 hours Increased reliability Marine enforcement Wind, wave, weather 6 hours Increased reliability Oil & gas development Wind, weather Disaster preparedness Wind, weather 12-24 hours Increased reliability 12-24 hours Increased reliability ~ . . . ~ precision Distant water merchant Wind, ware, tide 6 hours Very site . _ , specific USER NEEDS Although there is a significant level of satisfaction regarding current services, various user groups identified areas where improvements in ser- vices would enhance their activities. In general the greatest need to National Weather Service operations is to achieve improvements in observation capability. Better, more compre- hensive observations are the prerequisite for improvements in short- and long-term forecasts. Of nearly equal importance is the need to improve the quality of dissemination. A large number of users depend on the present system of voice transmission, and the present NOAA capability is limited by range was well as geographic coverage. Improvements in this aspect alone would substantially improve service to many users of the nation's coastal
112 TABLE H-2 Inadequacies in Marine Obserration Capabilities Number Technique Displayed Level of Adequacy Comments Radar Absolute-NEXRAD deploy- By 1995, system ment under way fully operational Ocean buoys 54 Highly accurate, and Costly to install reliable; present and maintain; coverage inadequate good source of for aberration of data marine weather and oceanic data C-Man 41 Coverage incomplete; Dependent on dependable, reliable coverage; results hourly observation appear cost effective Volunteer ship Data highly subjective Forms basis for observers and confined to ship all high-seas routes obeenrations Marine 20 Incomplete coverage, Provides for high reports stations very limited to radio level of coverage at station cooperative location efforts waters. Geographic coverage was also a matter of considerable concern. Presently, weather forecasts are issued for a fairly broad area along the coast or within an estuary, such as the Chesapeake Bay. Users of these areas, particularly the recreational fishermen and boater and the small-scale commercial fishermen, find that such forecasts do not offer small enough resolution. Improvements to a large measure depend on increases in the number of observations. AI)EQUACY OF PRESENT CAPABILITIES As noted above, current capabilities of marine observations are in- adequate to provide for significant improvement-in the current level of forecasts. These inadequacies are summarized in Bible H-2. Inadequate support results in significant losses to users. Losses occur in a variety of ways and are not fully quantifiable at this time. Improvements in coverage, level of accuracy, reliability, and so on will to a large degree offset those losses and i nclude multiple groups. - The benefits will include cost savings to commercial operations that can
113 moditr their operations in response to the better forecasts. In many cases there will be multiple potential beneficiaries. The expected cost savings per period for the entire set of these commercial operators would be relevant. Therefore the benefits are likely to be highest in heavily used shipping lanes, congested terminal areas, areas of high recreational use (boaters, beach goers), and commercial fisheries. Other commercial benefits include improved safety, potentially measurable as reduced loss of life and expected dollar value of reduced equipment damage. One important and often neglected point is that not all of the benefits of improved forecasts will accrue directly to the commercial operators making use of the forecasts. In highly competitive industries the benefits may also accrue to the consumers. There may also be benefits in the form of reduced risks of environmental damage from oil spills and so on. 1b the extent that the expected benefits are broadly diffused across a wide spectrum of individuals, private forecasting services might be unable to provide the improved service even though the potential new social benefits might be large. In that instance, public provision would be more efficient. Public provision would also tend to be more efficient in cases where it is difficult to exclude nonpayers from using the service (e.g., information transmitted via radio). Benefits will accrue to recreational boaters and commercial operators who support sports fishermen. One clear immediate benefit will be improved safety. In addition to the direct benefit of reduced loss of life and property, there is the indirect benefit of reduced public expenditures on search and rescue. In addition to improved safety, improved quality of recreational experience should be identified. If better forecasts allow recreationists to make better decisions about activities on any given day, they will enjoy a higher average quality of recreation. Such benefits would be difficult but not impossible to quantity. Techniques are now available to estimate the value of quality attributes of recreational sites. Similar techniques could be applied to this problem. IMPROVING THE PRODUCT AND SERVICES The user communist needs to be better informed about the govern- mental weather community's capabilities. Many users are not fully aware of what the government agencies can provide. Thus, a program could be developed to educate the user community about available government data, programs, and other services. The community could then access existing information and take better advantage of it. Also, as new or improved programs are developed by the government, the availability and capabilities of these programs should be made readily available for public knowledge. 'rhe general concept of improving technical forecasting has consider- able merit. However, for it to be useful to the public and for it to remain
114 within the realm of NWS responsibility, it is apparent that serious study will be required. Care must be exercised so that one particular user group does not appear to be gaining the majority of the derived benefits. The NWS depends on observations of weather and ocean conditions. Many private industries can accurately make such observations. NWS and these groups should try to develop mechanisms to update the absorption of this information into the system. In most cases, private industry would respond to this concern because better forecasts would be to their benefit. In other words, the: user community would be more involved by gathering informa- tion for the forecasting program. The foremost unmet need is enhancement of aquatic environment observations. In general, observations over inland areas (i.e., Great Lakes and inland waterways) are considered adequate for production of appropriate forecasts. Over the coastal and ocean areas, significant improvements are required to forecast weather oceanic phenom- ena. Installation of equipment such as radar (NEXRAD) and improved computer capacity should result in very significant improvements in marine weather forecasting capability. Other cooperative efforts such as C-Man and MAREP can result in significant improvements in coastal area weather observations. Additional steps should be explored to involve industry in data collection. Obtaining additional oceanic observations will require significant ex- panded efforts and coordination. Cooperative efforts such as those men- tioned above can readily be expanded. Some would require minimum costs, while others could be extremely expensive. RECOMMENDATIONS Within present resource conditions, the working group recommends · improved observation through greater cooperative arrangements, such as C-Man, MAREP, and others; · improved dissemination through changes in format, area of cover- age, and adjustments to radio transmission; · improved public understanding of weather service capabilities, in- creased public awareness of marine users, and training of weather observers; and groups. . · refocusing on user needs through discussions with various user Filth limited additional resources, the working group recommends improved observations as noted above and adding ocean buoys that are properly placed; and
115 rivers. · terminal forecasts be provided for entrances to major harbors and With significant additional resources, the worldug group recommends . . additional ocean buoys; · satellites; · expanded cooperative arrangements; and at-sea ship radios and training of ship personnel. In the area of surprise storms, the working group recommends continued research on physics, · continued development of empirical techniques, · research that includes observations involving satellite and forecast- ing techniques, · issuance of appropriate warnings, · user education, institution of three-hour reporting. Recommendations Concerning Overall Capabilities Increased effort is needed to improve or establish operational capabil- ities for nowcasts and forecasts of velocity, temperature, and related fields within the coastal and deep offshore ocean, including fisheries forecasts and the development of an EEZ capability. Coordination and cooperation of ongoing and component efforts is necessary, as is the development of a national policy for internal ocean weather nowcasting and forecasting. There is an urgent need to establish a national ocean monitoring satel- lite program for the routine operational observation of marine parameters (wind, waves, sea-surface topography, sea color, temperature). Recommendations for Dissemination Systems The existing services of high frequency facsimile and radioteletype should be maintained. Satellite transmissions should be improved and broadened. NOAA Weather Radio should be upgraded to provide scheduled broadcasts (i.e., after-the-hour marine forecasts at 27 nmi). Its range of broadcast and resolution of marine forecast should be improved. NAV~I~X broadcasts should be more frequent than once every 6 hours and warnings should be disseminated by all media as they are issued. Adequate time allocations for broadcasts should be ensured.
116 HIGHLIGHTS The best service the NWS could provide the mariner is the most detailed, most accurate forecast possible, out as far in time as possible. Accurate detailed forecasts out 5 days would be extensively used. There is a need for a ~`marine terminal forecast" outside the entrance to major harbors and rivers. Such a forecast would be widely used for planning purposes by mariners entering and exiting port. CW and radio teletype communications are being phased out in favor of satellite communications. NWS should emphasize distribution of weather information and observation collection using satellites. Radio facsimile weather broadcasts are often not well received near- shore. Since many users operate near the coast and are increasingly equipped with facsimile receivers, a program needs to be developed that would ensure that this high density of users is not omitted from radio facsimile reception. llo recognize ship participation in the cooperative ship observation program, NWS should provide a pennant or some type of recognition that could be displayed onboard ship. Most shipping companies would welcome NWS forecasters to sail on their ships to familiarize the forecaster with shipboard operations and the New with NWS procedures.