THE USE OF A REAL-TIME WAVE AND WEATHER MEASUREMENT PROGRAM TO ASSIST IN OFFSHORE OPERATIONS AND TROPICAL PROGRAM TO ASSIST IN OFFSHORE OPERATIONS AND TROPICAL CYCLONE FORECASTING

Abstract

This paper describes a program set up by Conoco to improve weather forecasts in the Gulf of Mexico and minimize the risk to the safety of offshore personnel during severe tropical cyclone events.

A series of automated wind, wave and weather stations have been deployed in the Gulf to improve the real-time data base available for forecasting.

This data is used in support of a hurricane alert program that utilizes the latest state-of-the-art techniques in oceanography and meteorology. Conoco has seen benefits in safer and more efficient evacuations during severe tropical cyclone events, timely return offshore, and a large increase in the amount of real-time information available an these storms.

Introduction

This paper describes a program set up by Conoco, in cooperation with U.S. National Weather Service (NWS), to improve weather forecasts in the Gulf of Mexico, and minimize the risk to the safety of offshore personnel during severe tropical cyclone events.

As background, Appendix A contains a description of the various stages of development of a tropical cyclone. The most intense stage (maximum winds greater than or equal to 65 knots) known as a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, or a typhoon in the South China Sea.

Although Gulf of Mexico tropical cyclone forecasting is the focus of this program, a similar system could be set up in any offshore operating area program, a similar system could be set up in any offshore operating area affected by severe storms, including bath tropical and mid-latitude locations. The specific goals of the program are as follows:

  1. To receive more accurate and detailed wind and wave forecasts from the National Weather Service and the commercial meteorological consultantin support of offshore operations.

  2. Deliver timely and accurate severe weather warnings directly tooffshore personnel.

  3. Use of radar to keep helicopter pilots informed of severe weather.

  4. Improved data on the movement and areal extent of hurricane and tropical storms.

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