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Old 27-09-2010, 05:00   #1
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Does NOAA Pull Their Marine Forecasts Out of Thier *** ?

I know all the more experience guys will say you need to use multiple methods or at least sources for weather, but seriously what is up with NOAA?

Yesterday from iPhone 2-4'. I was standing on the beach at the time, and as far as I could see the Atlantic looked like a lake. Off NJ diving in the past and they were saying up to 6' RIGHT NOW! yet we were seeing 3'...if that.

I know part of the issue is you need to look at the buoys too, if for no other reason than the forecasts don't show wave duration, which makes the forecast really incomplete in the first place. Duration is just as, if not, maybe even more important than height.

Anyway, right now 4-7' seas on the forecast. Yet all but one of the buoys in my area are showing <1'.

Their forecast may be accurate as far as wind and rain is concerned, but where the hell are they getting these wave heights from? Don't they even look at their own buoys?
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Old 27-09-2010, 05:14   #2
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No they not their head is in the way.marc
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Old 27-09-2010, 06:20   #3
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It's just really generalized. If you check it out, there are basically two forecasts for the entire span of water south of Point Conception (maybe 200 miles by 150 miles of water?):

National Weather Service - NWS San Diego

But if you look at a more detailed (live buoy data) plan, you'll see wind in different directions, much different speeds, and that's only in half the area serviced by the above NOAA forecast.

What's good to hear is the "advancing low pressure system" stuff especially at night if you can't see clouds. Or around here they'll often talk about specific weather anomalies like Santa Ana Wind conditions, which the buoy data wouldn't key you into until it was too late.
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Old 27-09-2010, 07:41   #4
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Yeah, just started using that site, and windfinder, and downloaded the buoy app. For only $.99 well worth it for quick easy access.

Or I could just blast over to the beach on the dinghy and look for myself.
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Old 27-09-2010, 07:44   #5
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Forecasts deal in generalizations at the macro level for a collection of micro events. As rebel_heart indicated it is a question of means/averages across a fairly large area.

For example, a 30% chance of rain means that the models show in cases where pressure, humidity, temperature, etc. were similar it rained 3 in 10 times. Or for the optimists - 7 in 10 times it did not rain.

There are times the marina has been worse then the bay and 1 mile was the difference between a tight sail and a bucking bronco. I had a sailing partner run aground in a microburst when it barely sprinkled 2 miles away.

This Analysis of Local Weather reporting is a good indicator of the issues involved. For those wanting to avoid reading it? Beyond 3 days is a crapshoot, the odds are more a guess than a prediction.

Also, the Butterfly effect does exist. Tens of millions of changes in land, sea, air over a 1000 mile range can have a significant and often unpredictable effect. Think of the air temperature change in Kansas when soil over 100,000 square miles is tilled. That semi-green reflective surface is now brown and holding heat. Rain clouds rise, hill features are overcome, etc.

So should we bother looking at weather? Yes. The data NOAA and other services use are statistical models and while a 30 day outlook is nothing to bet your life on, come Thursday, the weekend is almost always right. (Our brains are wired to remember anomalies - so we often think unexpected things happen more often than they really do)

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