I am happy to be involved on weather matters generally although my personal direct knowledge is mainly European. However, it would have to be on some form of notification basis. There is a limit to the time that I have to wander around the Internet
. I think that CF has a notification by topic system.
Dreaming Yachtsman has brought up some interesting points. This overlong reply might set some thinking – and probably disagreeing.
I must say that I am very cynical about DIY forecasting using 500 hPa charts
or any other tools. If you can get such information then either you have internet
or Radiofax. In either case, you will certainly not outperform the NWS, ECMWF, the UKMO etc. You have far too little information for a start and computer models are doing ever better.
Speaking as a European waters sailor making much use of the GFS GRIBs together with what comes available via the GMDSS, we can plan with some confidence to at least 5 days. When cruising, I look ahead on a daily basis to 8 days using the GFS. It is not unusual to find good guidance to at least 6 or 7 days. To me, those time scale are most valuable and impossible to achieve by any other way.
That is not to say that a sailor cannot improve on GRIB or GMDSS output. We can and should be using local knowledge, experience and commonsense in interpretation of all forecasts.
I have to say, also, that I doubt the benefit of getting a forecast
that claims to be on a 2.5 km grid. Meso-scale models can be run on grids between 1 and 10 km. Some comment on limitations:
But, the smaller the grid, the smaller the area for which the forecast
can be run. Meso-scale models can only be run with input from global models. Improvement on the global model is likely to be in areas where topography has a major effect eg through narrow straits.
Small weather detail have short lifetimes. Even if small scale weather could be analysed on a 2.5 km grid, the model will only be able to represent weather on a scale of about 10-12 km – 4 or 5 grid lengths. Weather features of this size will have lifetimes of a few hours, probably less than 6.
Without reading the small print I cannot say whether these 2.5 km forecasts are based on a 2.5 km model or, as is sometimes the case with forecasts on the Internet, interpolated from a larger grid – even from the GFS 50 km output.
Weather services have been reducing grid lengths in the global models with the main benefit of starting with a god analysis and to increase the likelihood of picking up small weather detail that may become large systems in a few days time. The GFS and the UK both now run, effectively, on a 25 km grid. ECMWF uses a smaller grid. Within about 2 years, I expect the GFS and the UK to come down to about 10 to 15 km. That is near the current
NAM and the UK NAE. Even now, the UK does not regard the NAE as being “operational”. Looking at its output on www.weatheronlin.co.uk
the NAE gives more data but little more information.
They run meso-scale models to help short term detailed prediction such as strong wins, ice on roads or fog
on highways etc. However, bearing in mind the time that is bound to elapse between these models being run and their availability to us, the detail modelled on the small scale will have largely disappeared. Benefit would be mainly in local topographical effects which is where the thinking sailor will improve on the forecasts in any case.
Perhaps a couple more comments. Models cannot (yet) deal with convection. They will indicate the probability of showers or thunderstorms but not a specific storm except on the very short scale. Secondly, while models are capable of predicting fairly small sea breeze effects, whether they will do so will always depend on other small scale factors such as cloud cover.
Sorry, I got carried away.