Summer Shamal winds and dust begin to impact the Middle East

As we transition to summer, our meteorologists prepare to forecast longer duration Shamal events. Shamal winds are strong winds that blow from the north to northwest over the arid Middle East. In winter, Shamals are associated with the passage of cold fronts. Cold fronts still influence the region’s weather through May, but by summer the region warms significantly and fronts become less frequent. Shamals from fall through spring are typically short-lived, lasting one to two days. By June, nearly stationary thermal lows along the monsoon trough over Northwest India, Pakistan and Southeast Iran interact with high pressure over the eastern Mediterranean and Saudi Arabia to produce more persistent northwesterly winds over the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Winds strengthen between these seasonal highs and lows as the low pressure areas intensify during summer months. Rao et al. (2003) found that gale force winds and rough seas offshore Qatar are more common in June than May and July. 

36 hour Arabian Gulf wind forecast

Shamal winds are strongest during the afternoon when hot surface air rises, creating turbulent eddies that mix winds higher in the atmosphere to the surface. High temperatures, strong winds and the seasonal lack of precipitation all contribute to the formation of blowing dust during these events. Sand and dust may be carried hundreds of kilometers across the Gulf states in dust storms, producing areas of near zero visibility. Read More »

Seasonal rains anticipated as the Southwest Monsoon approaches Sri Lanka and India

As we head into the Northern Hemisphere summer, the Southwest Monsoon is making its return to the North Indian Ocean. Once the southwesterly winds become persistent and strong, this will signal the end of the spring transition period, and the region will be entirely influenced by the Southwest Monsoon. On average, the Southwest Monsoon spans from June through September. The monsoon flow creates a convergence of moisture, promoting cloud growth and convection across the region. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, western and central India receive more than 90% of their total annual precipitation during these months.

Low pressure systems that track across the northern Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, and the mainland produce the majority of India’s rainfall, which is the driving force of the Indian economy. Farmers count on monsoonal rains to fill aquifers, lakes, and surrounding rivers for efficient crop growth and production. In years with insufficient rain, the nation is forced to depend on imports from other countries, creating a loss for domestic producers. Conversely, years with above-average rainfall can destroy crops and cause a poor harvest.Read More »

Wilkens Weather Welcomes Alec & Samantha!

We are thrilled to announce two meteorologists have recently joined our forecast team! With severe weather season in full swing in the northern hemisphere and the Atlantic tropical season just around the corner, it is critical that we have additional eyes on customer sites around the globe. Alec and Samantha are well-rounded meteorologists with zest for dynamic weather. Here’s more about them:Read More »

Celebrating 40 Years: Thank You to Our Clients

In 1977, WWT began with a few meteorologists striving to provide offshore forecasts for the oil and gas industry. Within 40 years, WWT has grown from what once was a four-man team, to a trusted global metocean business providing forecasts and hindcasts for every major oil basin.

In addition to our daily operations, WWT has supported unique forecasts for:

  • The U.S.’s first offshore wind farm near Rhode Island
  • Tall ship races throughout several regions of Europe
  • Weather analysis for the area where the Costa Concordia tipped over offshore Italy
  • Weather analysis for Tycoon, that ran aground near Christmas Island

Read More »

WWT at OTC 2017

Wilkens Weather adapts to the future of offshore energy

WWT Technology / WWL

For 36 years, Wilkens Weather Technologies has exhibited at the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), showcasing its products and services with professionals of the global oil and gas industry. Although oil prices have rallied in recent weeks, the demand for more cost-effective solutions continues. WWT is mindful of the challenges the industry is facing and continues to revamp its marine and tropical forecasting products to stay ahead of client demands.

At this event, WWT meteorologists align with other energy professionals to explore growth opportunities, strengthen partnerships, and foster new business relationships. WWT program manager, Ryan Fulton, shares his insight on this valuable networking experience:Read More »

Celebrating 40 Years: Memories & Successes

In the early days of WWT, meteorologists arrived at 4am to work on the morning weather forecast for the Gulf of Mexico. These reports were typed up and printed, so the person on fax duty could send them out one by one. Typically it would take forecasters four hours to complete the regional gulf report forecast and distribution. Other daily tasks included hand-analyzing surface charts and producing temperature, wind, and sea-state forecasts for coastal sites and international marine customers.

GOM Wave Model
Wave height forecast for the Gulf of Mexico behind a strong cold front that produced widespread gale force winds.

Over time, as business grew, so did the demand for immediate, operational weather information. In the early 2000s, WWT introduced customized client web pages, a tool that would provide customers easy access to weather information for their region and site-specific locations worldwide. In the late 2000s, with enhanced forecast models at our fingertips, there became a demand for long-range forecasts and historical analyses.

Read More »

Celebrating 40 Years: The Wilkens Story

WWT Early Years
Meteorologists Richard Wilkens and Tim Maystrick preparing weather reports

Our story began in 1977 with Richard Wilkens’ idea to start a weather forecast company to service the oil and natural gas industry. At the time, there was a high concentration of oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the years, petroleum exploration expanded, prompting Wilkens Weather to expand their services globally.

Meteorologist Marshall Wickman recalls one of WWT’s early business transactions, “[Richard] agreed to do one free sample forecast in the Strait of Magellan where data was sparse and told them, if it busts remember how much it cost you. If it is right remember where you got it from.” Apparently they liked what they received as it led to 20 years of continuous forecast service.

When we started, our technology consisted of fax machines that sent 8×11 inch pages at six minutes a page. Most weather reports were a few pages and included a hand-drawn, 3-panel surface map (depicting fronts, precipitation, and high and low pressure areas). Today, we have a wealth of online and mobile interactive tools that can provide quick and easy access to all critical weather information. Read More »

Celebrating 40 Years: 10 Surprising Facts About Wilkens Weather

Today, Wilkens Weather Technologies, a subsidiary of Rockwell Collins, celebrates 40 years as a reliable, customer-centric metocean forecast company. April 12, 1977 marks the founding of WWT by Richard Wilkens, whose vision was to tailor weather information to the oil and natural gas industry. For decades, highly-trained meteorologists have provided accurate weather support, allowing our customers to make timely decisions and ensure the safety of their personnel. 

During the next few weeks, we will share memories and successes from the last 40 years. We begin with the foundation of WWT – the meteorologists responsible for preparing weather reports and monitoring global assets 24/7.

Here is what you may not know about our team:Read More »

The 1982 Ocean Ranger disaster: what went wrong?

ocean-ranger-seen-from-afar-taken-by-david-boutcher
The Ocean Ranger in the early 1980s taken by David Boutcher, one of the 84 men who did not survive the tragedy. The photo was donated to the The Rooms Provincial Archives by Priscilla Boutcher, David’s mom

Thirty five years ago a ruthless nor’easter swept across the Northern Atlantic Ocean catapulting a wave of disastrous events leading to the demise of an “unsinkable” oil rig.

Located nearly 300km off the Newfoundland coast in the Hibernia Oil Field in 1982, the Ocean Ranger was the largest semi-submersible offshore drilling rig in the world at the time. The platform sat atop eight columns fixed upon two pontoons beneath the surface of the water. Stability of the platform, and overall safety of crew and operations, was achieved by the placement of water and fuel in ballast tanks inside the pontoons. According to a NASA Study from the NASA Safety Center, only two men aboard the Ocean Ranger performed the huge task of maintaining the appropriate equilibrium of the platform.  The two men operated in the Ballast Control Room, rotating on 12 hour shifts.

design
Configuration of Ocean Ranger, viewed when facing the bow.

Located only 30 feet above the surface, the Ballast Control Room contained an electric control panel embedded with lighted push button switches configuring valves, pumps, and tanks. These valves were used to pump ballast forward, backward, onboard or overboard from the tanks to account for any “list” (tilt) from various cargo loads or changing sea states. As small as a five degree list would hamper drilling production. In order to assess current sea conditions, there were four circular glass portlights (windows) constructed in the control room. These portlights would eventually lead to the disaster of the Ocean Ranger.Read More »

On The Road: Aaron Studwell at AMS

This week,  Aaron Studwell, Manager of Weather Operations, is attending the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Seattle, WA. During the first two days, Studwell, along with Joel Siegel from the ARINC office in Annapolis, MD represented Rockwell Collins at the AMS Career Fair. Over these sessions, Studwell and Siegel met about 125 students, discussed careers in marine and aviation meteorology at Rockwell Collins, what we look for in prospective employees – a passion for weather and forecasting and willingness to learn.

WWTs Aaron Studwell at AMS 2017
Aaron Studwell discussing meteorology careers with students at the 2017 AMS Career Fair.

Read More »

On The Road: Aaron Studwell at AGU

This week, our Manager of Weather Operations, Aaron Studwell, is attending the 49th Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA.  While the core purpose of this trip is associated with Ph.D. work in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Houston, Aaron is also attending sessions ranging from the initiation of lightning in developing thunderstorms to the seasonal forecasting of winter storms across the North Atlantic Ocean to the analytic theory of wind-driven seas.
WWT Supermoon by David Reynolds

The Science behind a Supermoon

Today, November 14, marks an extraordinary Supermoon. The last time the Moon was this close to Earth was January 1948. And according to a statement from NASA, the next time the Moon will be this close to Earth will be in November 2034. A Full Supermoon looks nearly 7% larger than your average Full Moon due to the proximity to Earth.Read More »

1PM ET: about as close to landfall as Hurricane Matthew can get

Early Friday morning, Hurricane Matthew was downgraded to a Category 3 before brushing along the coast of Cape Canaveral. As of 12pm ET, the eye is less than 30 miles east-northeast of Daytona Beach, Florida. According to the National Hurricane Center, sustained winds have been reported up to 73 mph with gusts of 91 mph in Daytona Beach. However, the storm has yet to make an official landfall but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost our chance. The eyewall of Matthew is currently brushing along the Florida coast. With one slight wobble to the west in the next hour or two, we could see a U.S. landfall.

WWT Hurricane Matthew Radar Loop
Wilkens Weather Technologies

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Hurricane Ike: 8 years later

Today is the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Ike making landfall over the east end of Galveston Island on September 13th, 2008.

Formation & Impacts to the Caribbean

Ike originated as a tropical wave off the coast of Africa and moved west-northwest across the Atlantic, similar to many other tropical systems this time of year. The National Hurricane Center designated the system as a tropical depression on September 1st. The storm became significantly better organized on the 3rd and was upgraded to a hurricane that afternoon. Early the next morning, Hurricane Ike reached major hurricane strength (Category 4) with maximum sustained winds of 125 knots and an estimated central pressure of 935 mb. Shortly thereafter, the storm made an unusual turn to the west-NOAA NHC Hurricane Ike Tracksouthwest. This heightened the threat for the Bahamas and northwestern Caribbean. (The only other system to have a similar change in direction was Hurricane Andrew in 1992).

This uncharacteristic turn led Ike into a more favorable environment, causing the storm to re-intensify to Category 4 strength. The cyclone made its first landfall on Great Inagua Island in the southeastern Bahamas the morning of September 7th. 5-7 inches of rain were reported on the island and high winds destroyed several structures including a cruise ship terminal.Read More »

Wilkens Weather On-site in the Bay of Campeche

WWT Meteorologist Offshore Bay of Campeche

With today’s technologies a meteorologist could easily work from an office on the mainland. But for a highly sensitive crane operation at sea, precise forecasts are essential. Many times a meteorologist on-site may see something that a computer model could not detect. Face-to-face reassurance is important to customers, and for this project WWT Meteorologist Darrell Ferguson was there to provide confidence to the crew that weather conditions were safe enough to proceed. Read More »

Remembering Galveston: The Great Hurricane of 1900

If you have been to Galveston, Texas, you are quite familiar with the city’s seawall. Construction began in 1902 as a response to the Great Hurricane of 1900, which devastated the city exactly 116 years ago today.

galveston1900On Sept. 4, 1900, Galveston was notified of a hurricane moving north of Cuba. Without the aid of modern forecasting technology, Galveston residents were unaware of the precise movement and potential track of the impending hurricane. As the hurricane progressed through the Gulf of Mexico it experienced rapid strengthening before it made landfall just a few miles southwest of Galveston. Meteorologists estimated winds of at least 130 miles per hour as the storm barreled through the city. With a storm surge of over 15 feet, Galveston was inundated with water. Residents received warnings of the hurricane the morning of Sept. 8, however many neglected the advisories. Texas’ fourth largest city had lost nearly 6,000 – 8,000 residents when the sun rose the next day. The Great Hurricane of 1900 is known as the “deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history”.Read More »

Wilkens Weather On-site in the Sea of Okhotsk

Wilkens Weather Technologies Meteorologist Offshore Sakhalin For over 30 years, Wilkens Weather meteorologists have been on-site and onboard during platform/deck installations and mobilizations in many regions globally. WWT has significant experience forecasting in the Sakhalin Island area, dating back to 1999. Strong relationships in the region led to the mobilization of WWT Meteorologist Eric Brozefsky to the Sea of Okhotsk in 2012 to provide more centralized decision-making and decision support to time and budget-sensitive projects. We reached out to Eric to learn more about his offshore experience:

“During the summer of 2012, WWT meteorologists provided on-site meteorological support for a GBS (Gravity Based Structure) installation, LMU installations, and subsea work in preparation for a topside installation in 2014.Read More »

Probability-based simulation tool from Wilkens Weather improves weather decision-making

STAVANGER, Norway- A new interactive simulation tool from Wilkens Weather Technologies (WWT) is helping offshore oil, gas and marine companies improve their weather-related decision making. The solution, EnsembleSimulator, uses probability-based forecasts to clearly identify working weather windows for on-going marine operations.

“Traditional weather reports frequently result in uncertainty in forecast confidence because they cannot be easily quantified,” said Mark Walquist, general manager at WWT. “Our new on-demand, interactive simulation tool improves decision-making confidence by using probability in determining project weather windows, particularly for daily go/no-go decisions.” Read More »

Spaghetti… what? Forecast models broken down

By now I’m sure you have seen the “spaghetti plot”- ensemble of forecast models-regarding Tropical Depression Nine. If you’re not a meteorologist or everyday weather guru, then you have every right to be confused by this graphic of overwhelming lines. With a little background on the models, you’ll be sure to impress your coworkers when they begin to bring up TD Nine or soon to be Tropical Storm Nine.
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WWT: The Trusted Source for YOUR Weather

For nearly 40 years, Wilkens Weather Technologies has been a trusted leader for weather forecast solutions tailored to the global oil and gas industry.

WWT Meteorologists Our team of 25 degreed meteorologists, many with over 20 years of forecasting experience, recognize the strengths and weaknesses of forecast models in different regions and seasons on a global perspective. The extensive experience of our staff ensures a solid understanding of regional weather patterns, along with local wind and wave effects, to produce timely and accurate forecasts for our valued customers. Read More »

Wilkens Weather introduces Ocean Current Guidance Forecast service

WWT Ocean Current Guidance Forecasts

Houston, USA (June 14, 2016) – Offshore oil, gas and marine companies that experience project-related disruptions from fluctuating ocean currents now have a new tool to better manage those challenges. The Wilkens Weather Technologies (WWT) Ocean Current Guidance Forecast service provides site-specific awareness of currents to give operators a clear understanding of oceanic conditions.

“We designed this service for anyone engaged in smaller scale, budget-sensitive projects where ocean current awareness is necessary, but current solutions are often cost prohibitive,” said Ryan Fulton, program manager at WWT. “This new service provides a useful current forecast and, in conjunction with daily weather forecast reports, enables operators to understand trends in oceanic conditions that can impact their projects.”Read More »

Wilkens Weather releases new tropical cyclone tracking tools for its iOS mobile app

Wilkens Weather Technologies Mobile App

Houston, USA (April 25, 2016) – Just in time for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season, Wilkens Weather Technologies® (WWT) has released a new version of its iOS Mobile App. The latest version contains a series of major upgrades to the app’s Interactive Weather Map, including a new Threat Profile feature which is now embedded within the global tropical cyclone tracking tools, allowing immediate threat identification of tropical systems with respect to customer assets.

“From real-time weather display to our cyclone tracking feature set, WWT effectively informs users of the impacts from an approaching tropical system,” said Ryan Fulton, program manager at Wilkens Weather Technologies. Read More »