Strategic Planning and Long-term Forecasting Services
Forecasting services are an add-on to the operational services and cannot be performed independently as require underlaying database as described above to run statistical calculus. However, these forecasts are the essential part of the information supply that allows efficient use of resources and planning.
Window of Opportunity Analysis
Maintaining ice and MetOcean database and use of GIS based tools enables the group to provide fast geospatial analysis in support of various implications on demand from Client. This could be anything from Search and Rescure operations or EER analysis to specific charts in support of sensitive operations. Having developed a set of models calculating ice parameters based on GFS and ECMWF data these forecasts may go up to 10 days ahead with certain reliability considered.
The combination of all datasets and knowledge of ice conditions development scenarios in a region allows to find the most favourable window of opportunity to conduct complex operations such as low ice class barge towage as well as to identify when leads open for faster transits between supply base and offshore installation.
Ice Edge Development Forecast
The same type of analysis combining ice and MetOcean data and forecast is essential to forecast Ice edge development in the region. The forecast is based on ongoing and forecast drift in the region as well as estimation where new ice is expected to form due to water temperature being near freezing point or where drifting ice is going to melt due to exposure to warmer waters from the deeper mid Caspian. Some consideration is given to currents observed from the satellite images redistributing water of different temperatures associated with wind surge events.
Freeze-up Forecasts are issued starting in October. The freeze-up dates rely on statistical trend observing the time needed between the first negative temperatures and the first ice observed in the region. Weather forecast and Sea Surface Temperature increase the accuracy of forecast within the week before the ice to appear.
Breakup Forecasts are issued starting mid to end of February for the Northern Caspian Sea region, these can use several forecast areas (agreed with client) and provide dates for the occurrence of open water ice conditions (<10% ice cover) as well as ice free conditions (no free-floating ice remaining). The forecast break-up dates are derived from the historical trends of estimated volume and areal extent for similar winters in the history.