Sea Technology

AUG 2017

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 37 of 76 August 2017 / st 37 W hile the changing tides can be predicted, marine business operations are not as easily forecast. In fact, there is a plethora of complications that can arise quickly and cause trouble for marine businesses, science and engi- neering. One of the biggest challenges facing marine stake- holders is the weather. Weather is a natural force that can change on the coast in what seems like the blink of an eye. Offshore and on- shore operators both know how damaging weather can be. Just last year, an intense storm caused a near-tragedy for a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. High winds and 30-ft. waves not only injured passengers and caused thousands of dollars in damage to the ship, but also damaged Royal Caribbean's reputation. Weather conditions have far-reaching implications be- yond just the news headlines and commercial cruisers. Wind speeds, thunderstorms and hurricanes have regular adverse impacts on shipping and aviation industries, off- shore and onshore operations and renewable energy efforts. To combat these challenges, more and more marine stake- holders are turning to advanced weather services rooted in total lightning data, or the combination of in-cloud (IC) and cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning discharges. Decision Support One of the most critical aspects of the Royal Caribbe- an fiasco was the captain's decision to continue with the cruise, even though NOAA forecasted the storm and issued a warning four days before the ship reached the storm. Weather-sensitive decisions can be extremely difficult to make for a few reasons. One is that people in general tend not to take severe weather seriously. Another is that false alarms are common and can result in a decrease in profit and overall operational efficiency. Also, weather forecasts can change, so without access to high-quality, real-time weather data, marine decision makers are left in the dark. Decision support is critical for weather-sensitive opera- tions. Earth Networks partners with StormGeo to provide weather services integrated with solutions specifically tai- lored to the onshore and offshore oil and gas industry. Light- ning data and storm alerts are used to notify crews of im- pending severe weather while working on drilling platforms or while transporting personnel and equipment to various work sites. "Our clients see this severe weather monitoring and notification system as extremely critical to the safety and continuity of their operations," said StormGeo Managing Director Mark Chambers. "We've been working with Earth Networks for several years because we see them as the mar- ket leaders in lightning detection and innovative storm-alert- ing technologies, which are all integratable into StormGeo offshore support platforms." Total Lightning Network Storm tracking through advanced total lightning detec- tion is one area where tremendous innovation is underway. Earth Networks provides total lightning data from the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) to many federal agencies, including NOAA, the National Weather Service and the Department of Defense, as well as various global offshore operations for enhanced tracking of severe weather. Dangerous weather events often occur within 5 to 30 minutes of in-cloud flash initiation. ENTLN's proprietary sensor technology significantly improves severe weather warning times by 30 minutes or more. Precise detection of total lightning is critical for the advanced notification of severe weather phenomena such as hazardous cloud-to- ground lightning strikes, heavy rain, high winds, hail and even tornadoes and waterspouts. ENTLN is the first and largest total lightning detection network deployed globally, with more than 1,500 sensors that incorporate patented systems and technology to pro- vide unmatched lightning detection network performance. Thunderstorms are especially deadly and damaging be- cause they are very frequent and can include a combination of dangerous weather conditions such as cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, hail and high winds. Meteorologists study thunderstorms like they study other cloud formations: with satellites and radar. However, meteorologists can also study thunderstorms with lightning data. Total lightning data pro- Severe Weather Alerting Technology For Business Operations Accurate Forecasting Can Help Protect Assets By Max Borges • Filomena Martini

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