NHC Hosts Annual Mariner Decision Makers Weather Workshop


Published Apr 11, 2020 12:57 PM by Dr. Chris Landsea

From March 3-5, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) hosted a multi-day workshop for key decision makers from several major private sector maritime companies, as well as representatives from our U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy partners. The primary purpose of this workshop was to increase awareness and understanding among mariners of the various forecast products and services available from the National Weather Service (NWS).

The workshop featured presentations from NWS’ Ocean Prediction Center (OPC), Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) Miami and Key West, Port Meteorological Officers, and NHC’s Hurricane Specialists Unit and the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch. Breakout sessions provided attendees with insight into how we go through a hurricane forecast advisory cycle, how a marine forecast is created, and how a surface analysis is created. The workshop also taught attendees how to build forecast uncertainty into their decision-making processes, by conducting an interactive tabletop exercise. 

 During this workshop, participants also received valuable feedback from users regarding how they use NWS products. For example, speakers from the Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG) Ship Management and the U.S. Coast Guard provided insight into how they avoid marine weather hazards. Also feedback from the mariners was provided regarding current and potential future products and services offered by NWS. This feedback will help NWS determine what products and services need to be improved and determine which emerging products and services will best serve the marine community. 

Thirty-eight participants were in attendance at the workshop, including representatives from the following non-NWS groups: US Navy, US Coast Guard, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Overseas Shipholding Group, Crowley Shipping, Tote Services, Seabulk Tankers, Maritime Institute of Technology, Seacor Island Lines, and Chevron.

Dr. Chris Landsea is the branch chief of the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. He is the co-recipient of two Department of Commerce medals for hurricane research and has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as its subject matter editor in tropical meteorology.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.