May 14, 2015

Studying Weather [Resources in our library...]

We occasionally participate in various boating forums. [See our Some Forums We Read sidebar for links...]

Some of those topics may be relevant here, so once in a while we will repost on our blog for reference.

The following may be one of those cases. To accommodate our non-boating blog readers, sometimes we add some {additional information and links} to the original forum post. (below)

Re: Need help to understand the weather

Originally Posted by KD on Tropic View Post
Hi All... am looking for info... website.... books.... tutorials.... on understanding the weather for sailing... but weather in general....
Would like to be able to look at synoptic charts, weather patterns, gribs, cloud formations... and understand them with a higher degree of confidence than I have.... I suppose just have a better "seamanship" understanding of the weather... at present... I think I know enough.... but there is always that nagging thought in the back of my brain box that says you need to know more.

I am like a lot of people.... time poor to be able to be on the water as much as I would like.... I know there is nothing like practical experience to learn.... but if someone could guide me towards some theoretical help now so I can put it to practical use... I would be greatful.

Am off to Thailand to sail around the East coast riviera islands of Koh Chang, Koh Mak, Koh Kood etc. in a weeks time.... never a bad place to sail due to lots of protected areas should the weather turn.... so as a safe haven to learn in... it is perfect.... and this where I would like to get the practical side of "Understanding the Weather class 101" done...
Hi KD,

In direct response to your topic title I can say [at least speaking for myself...] "... don't we all..."

I break the topic of weather [Wx] into two distinct areas: understanding Wx and separately understanding Wx forecasting products. [e.g., WxFax charts, Grib files, satellite images, forecasts, etc.]

Our library and resource recommendations include [in order of consumption as one is the pre-requisite for the next...]:

Mariner's Wx Handbook [Steve and Linda Dashew; Generously donated to the public domain. Somewhat dated but still excellent; and the download version is free- along with several other very relevant titles.]

Attend Lee Chesnau's Professional Mariner's Course [We took it online through our SSCA membership.]

Before going to sea, and after assimilating and understanding the above, absorb:

Heavy Weather Avoidance and Route Design [Excellent book by Chen and Chesneau]

The above gave us the foundation required to begin to understand the weather and related products provided around the world to help prognosticate it...

We find that the study never ends for such a complex topic...

And with regard to forecast products:

One Wx forecasting product that I rarely see mentioned is the Forecast Discussion. [The US and Canada Wx agencies produce this at least daily. I don't know which other Wx agencies have a similar product..]

For those who may not [yet] be familiar with this document; it is the brain dump of the on-duty forecaster(s) describing how they arrived at the current forecast, how much confidence they have in it, and other possible scenarios they haven't mentioned in the main forecast that may come into play.

always read the Forecast Discussion before I read the forecasts, Wxfax charts, etc. as they provide depth to help me better understand everything I'm reading and evaluating. [You also get to know how the various forecasters think over time- their names are at the bottom of each report...]

And often I find it helpful to consult the US National Wx Service [NWS] Glossary of Abbreviations...

As an example, here is the link to the Forecast Discussion [with handy built-in glossary links...] for our current cruising area. [Sometimes you have to dig deep to find this document, or ask... I will also attach a copy of today's document to future-proof this post in case the above link changes in the future...]

I sometimes see the Forecast Discussion called by other names like the Scientific Forecaster Discussion, etc.

In case this is useful to anyone.


Attached Files
File Type: pdfNOAA Forecast Discussion Sample.pdf (111.5 KB, 0 views)

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