For the past year, NIWA has been conducting in-house trials of a system which produces rolling 5-day forecasts of wave conditions.
Waves are generated by wind. The NIWA model currently uses 5-day forecasts of winds over the world’s oceans from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The model converts those wind forecasts into the likely wave patterns, taking into account the physics of how waves build up, travel, and dissipate. In future, the model will use wind forecasts being developed specifically for New Zealand by NIWA’s atmospheric scientists.
We are now beginning to work with commercial clients, adapting the model for their particular needs and location. For example, some port authorities may wish to be warned about wave conditions which may hinder safe port operations.