Day 3 Wed, August 18, 2021 | 2021
Using Metocean Forecast Verification Information to Effectively Enhance Operational Decision-Making
\n Metocean forecast verification statistics (or ‘skill scores’), for variables such as significant wave height, are typically computed as a means of assessing the (past) weather model performance over the particular area of interest. For developers, this information is important for the measurement of model improvement, while for consumers this is commonly applied for the comparison/evaluation of potential service providers. However, an opportunity missed by many is also its considerable benefit to users in enhancing operational decision-making on a real-time (future) basis, when combined with an awareness of the context of the specific decision being made. Here, we present two categorical verification techniques and demonstrate their application in simplifying the interpretation of ensemble (probabilistic) wave forecasts out to 15 days ahead, as pioneered – in operation – in Summer 2020 to support the recent weather sensitive installation of the first phase of a 36 km subsea pipeline in the Fenja field in the North Sea. Categorical verification information (based on whether forecast and observations exceed the user-defined operational weather limits) was constructed from 1460 archive wave forecasts, issued for the two-year period 2017 to 2018, and used to characterise the past performance of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ensemble prediction system (EPS) in the form of Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) and Relative Economic Value (REV) analysis. These data were then combined with a bespoke parameterization of the impact of adverse weather on the planned operation, allowing the relevant go/no-go ensemble probability threshold (i.e. the number of individual/constituent forecast members that must predict favourable/unfavourable conditions) for the interpretation of future forecasts to be determined. Following the computation of the probability thresholds for the Fenja location, trials on an unseen nine-month period of data from the site (Spring to Autumn 2019) confirm these approaches facilitate a simple technique for processing/interpreting the ensemble forecast, able to be readily tailored to the particular decision being made. The use of these methods achieves a considerably greater value (benefit) than equivalent deterministic (single) forecasts or traditional climate-based options at all lead times up to 15 days ahead, promising a more robust basis for effective planning than typically considered by the offshore industry. This is particularly important for tasks requiring early identification of long weather windows (e.g. for the Fenja tie-ins), but similarly relevant for maximising the exploitation of any ensemble forecast, providing a practical approach for how such data are handled and used to promote safe, efficient and successful operations.