Investigating Weather Forecast Reliability in TIMEZERO

Thanks to the free weather forecasts inside TIMEZERO software we can plan a route using the chart and weather to make decisions such as when to leave and whether a good weather front is approaching, or alternatively if the weather is bringing powerful winds that should be avoided at all costs.

If you’re thinking about going sailing you should be monitoring the variable elements. Mother nature can be a cruel and merciless mistress. Even a seemingly innocuous fishing trip you have done a thousand times over could turn for the worse. One thing that we can always be sure of is that no matter the accuracy of a forecast, at any given moment, the weather can turn on a dime.

But of course using weather forecasts is the most precise tool at our disposal to effectively get a glimpse into the future. The further into the future you try to go, the less accurate the forecast may be. To illustrate this, we can use TIMEZERO software. Looking at different locations that each bring different factors to the table in terms of weather forecasts. The first is the western Mediterranean. This sea is relatively enclosed but factors effecting it can come from land as well as the North Atlantic. The second is the Indian Ocean. It is a very open ocean being connected to the South Pacific and so of course this is certainly an ocean that requires lots of planning.

Looking at weather forecasts of 7 days, 2 days and 24 hours, we can compare them to the weather forecast on the day. With these large-scale weather forecasts, it is possible to look at the color coded wind speed as well as the wind direction. You can see the different weather fronts and how they evolve.

Mediterranean Weather Forecast

Indian Ocean Weather Forecast

By observing on a larger scale we can conclude that while the 2 day and 24 hour forecasts provide a very accurate overview, the 7 day forecast can be unreliable in certain areas, while perfectly reliable in others. But of course depending on where you will sail, you need to be able to count on the information you’re given. So, the closer time to the date of sailing you can get, the better.

Based on the observations above, it is possible to conclude that it is wise to start looking at a forecast on a larger scale when preparing a trip, even if the trip is only a few hundred miles. By taking the larger scale forecast you can get an image of what is going on in and around your immediate area.

Another prudent measure is to look at the forecast up to 24 hours before and up to 24 hours after. How is the weather changing? Is there a big change in or near the area that you plan to sail in? All these measures are a great first step into minimizing the risk of running into trouble in the form of high winds or no wind at all.

Weather Forecasts in TIMEZERO

The weather forecasts within TIMEZERO are supplied by NOAA and are entirely free to download. The download is zipped so a lot of information can be squeezed into the smallest amount of data. So when you are out at sea, you don’t need to break the bank just to receive your weather forecasts. To find out more information on weather forecasts, visit our dedicated website page: