When offshore operations involve a vessel anchored in icy waters, a system needs to be in place to provide continuous monitoring of ice floes as they approach the vessel’s safety zone.
Successful operations for open water exploration, mobilization and demobilization, offshore drilling operations, offshore science programs, and rig moves are all highly dependent on accurate weather forecasting. Fairweather was founded on providing expert weather services and still maintains a full-time meteorologist on staff providing custom weather reports. In 2014, Fairweather entered a teaming agreement with StormGeo, a company that utilizes the latest digital weather technology and imagery to offer expanded services to clients, customized to their needs. Fairweather also provides manual weather observation training under the guidelines of the FAA and National Weather Service.
Ice Observation and Forecasting
Forecasts and daily reports of present ice conditions are available for the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas of Alaska, as well as the Sea of Okhotsk in the Russian Far East.
In addition to ice monitoring, Fairweather can provide complete ice forecasting services for vessels in the Arctic incorporating a variety of weather services, including animated maps measuring atmospheric pressure, wave heights, and other parameters depending on need. Services include remote sensing of present ice conditions and forecasting ice break-up and freeze-up, as well as ice growth and decay. Fairweather has the ability to forecast ice motion in Alaskan waters 16 days in advance, aided by imagery from multiple satellites.
Fairweather prepares in-depth studies on weather and sea ice climatology to assist organizations operating in Alaska’s extreme environment. The following are examples of studies Fairweather meteorologists have produced:
- Means and extremes of ice conditions at Port Clarence, AK
- Frequency of blizzard conditions at Barrow, AK
- Ice conditions for Sakhalin Island, Russia, using synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) imagery
- Engineering study of potential ice forces on the SDC drilling rig
- Ice conditions at Tuktoyaktuk, Canada
- North Slope tundra travel opening and closing dates
- Temperatures along the Trans Alaska Pipeline
- Length of the no-ice season for various offshore leases on the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas
- Tsavorite site visual flight rules (VFR) study
- Point Thomson wind and VFR study
- Point Thomson area ice history
- Late season tow route from Chukchi Sea to Herschel Island
- Wind studies for various offshore leases in the Chukchi Sea
Fairweather utilizes a variety of current and historical weather and sea ice data to support its studies, including:
- Ice charts for various Alaskan and Russian seas
- Satellite images, including SAR imagery of Sakhalin Island waters
- World temperature, pressure and other data on a 2.5-degree grid
- Weather data from many Alaskan official weather stations
- Ice-drift data for Alaskan seas