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NOAA>NWS>NCEP>OPC>General Information>About Us>Accomplishments>Accomplishments 2003

Ocean Prediction Center Accomplishments 2003

1. Introduction

Reflecting the changing and growing role of MPC in the marine and ocean community, the name of the Marine Prediction Center was changed to the Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) effective January 12, 2003. This change positions the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) for the future as the role of the oceans expands in NOAA.

OPC continued its high level of outreach activities by providing training to mariners on the use of its products, staffing booths at boat shows, and providing safety at sea seminars. The Center also began providing a new service - graphical depiction of ice accretion.


2. Major Accomplishments

OPC expands collaborative surface analysis efforts - On June 3, the OPC began collaboration with the Honolulu Weather Forecast Office (HFO)to produce a seamless surface analysis. OPC now coordinates with the Tropical Prediction Center (TPC), the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC), and HFO to issue a set of consistent surface weather analyses to the public.

OPC provides new service - In June the OPC implemented the graphical depiction of ice accretion on its charts covering the northern waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Ice accretion can pose a deadly hazard to vessels. Areas of moderate or greater ice accretion are delineated.


3. Conference Participation

OPC took part in four workshops and conferences - Joe Sienkiewicz, Science and Operations Officer (SOO) and acting Chief of OPC's Ocean Applications Branch (OAB) was invited to attend the Ocean Vector Winds Science Team Meeting held in Oxnard, CA, January 13-16. The meeting was attended by representatives from a variety of universities, NASA, NOAA, EUMETSAT, Japan's NASDA, and the Navy's NRL and FNMOC. In his talk, Sienkiewicz described OPC operations and presented several examples of QuikSCAT winds in high wind situations.

September 22-25 he participated in the Cyclone Workshop hosted by SUNY Albany and McGill University. The workshop was held in Val-Morin, Quebec. Sienkiewicz discussed the operations of the OPC, including the hurricane force cyclone climatology being developed at OPC. There was significant interest in this effort by people from the United Kingdom and Pacific Northwest as they have been victims of hurricane force wind events in the past.

He attended the first Weather Conference hosted by Lloyds of London, October 14-15. The conference was held at the INMARSAT Centre in London. Attendees ranged from public and private sector meteorologists, vendors of various software packages, offshore and fast-ferry operators, and insurance brokers. Sienkiewicz provided a talk on the impact of technology on operational marine forecasting over the past 10 years.

In November Sienkiewicz spoke at a symposium on the sinking of the steamer Portland . The vessel sank in 1898 with the loss of 192 lives. The recent discovery of the wreck on the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary has raised a great deal of interest in the weather associated with its loss. The symposium was held at the Portland Harbor Museum in Portland, Maine, on November 7 and 8. Attendees included marine historians, marine archeologists, NOAA National Ocean Service Marine Sanctuary Staff, relatives of those that lost their lives, teachers, several authors, and marine museum staff (from a variety of marine museums). Approximately 65 people listened to Sienkiewicz talk about marine forecasting 100 years ago and today. He also described the evolution of the storm that sank the Portland.


4. Training at Government Facilities

Twice during the year training was provided to external U.S. government facilities - On March 29 OPC Joe Sienkiewicz gave a 45-minute talk about weather safety at the 24th Annual Safety At Sea Seminar held at Alumni Hall of the U.S. Naval Academy and co-hosted three one-hour panel discussions concerning various aspects of safety. In addition, on March 29-30, the OPC staffed a booth at the seminar, which was sponsored by the U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Squadron and the Maryland Marine Trades Association. Approximately 220 sailors attended the seminar series along with 300 midshipmen. OPC Marine Forecasters Dave Chorney, Todd Shaw, and George Bancroft, as well as Sienkiewicz, worked at the OPC display booth, answering questions and handing out samples of OPC analysis and forecast products.

Dave Feit, Chief of OPC's Ocean Forecast Branch (OFB), participated in the NWS Western Region Marine Forecaster Training Workshop held at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, May 20-23. Feit presented an overview of OPC's products and areas of responsibility as well as some insights into the OPC coordination process. He also explained the OPC system for quality control of ship observations and how satellite-derived scatterometer winds are used in the forecast process.


5. Outreach

The Center provided staff at the Atlantic City International Power Boat - OPC's Director Jim Hoke and Marine Forecaster Jim Clark teamed up with the Mt. Holly, NJ, and Upton, NY, Weather Forecast Offices on February 5-9 to staff the NOAA booth at the Atlantic City International Power Boat Show. The event is one of the world's leading boat shows with over 40,000 people attending annually. The show offered an excellent opportunity to educate the public on the NOAA marine program and to gain feedback on its strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps the most frequently heard request was for NOAA to increase the number of buoys along the East Coast. The boaters said they used the buoy observations heavily and especially appreciated the recent improvements NOAA has made to the accessibility of these data. Many attendees commented on the improved quality of NOAA's marine forecasts and services over the last five years, in general. Perhaps one of the most striking unsolicited comments came from a fisherman who frequently works over 50 miles off the coast of New Jersey, "Your forecasts keep us alive out there."

Marine safety presentations were a large segment of OPC outreach activities - Lee Chesneau, OPC Marine Forecaster, gave 13 marine safety presentations between January and October at venues on the east and west coasts. Among them, he made a presentation on April 23-24 for the North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners Association in Seattle, WA. On October 25, he participated in Trawlerfest held in Alameda, CA. There were 100 coastal and offshore sailors in attendance for his presentation. On the east coast he participated in several in September. These included SailExpo NY/NJ held at the Jersey City (NJ) Marina on September 26 and Trawlerfest on September 27 in Solomons Island, MD. He presented seminars on OPC warning and forecast products at these events, with about 250 recreational mariners in attendance.

On March 1, Paul Vukits, OPC Senior Marine Forecaster, made a marine safety presentation to the Singles on Sailboats Association's Spring Training event held in Annapolis, MD. The Association consists of sail boaters ranging in skill from novice to advanced. The presentation detailed the functions of the OPC, OPC products, where and how to acquire our products, and how to use OPC weather products for a safe passage.

Other outreach activities - On February 26, Joe Sienkiewicz gave an invited talk to the staff of the Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea, located in Mystic, CT. Sienkiewicz provided a short history of marine forecasting and then spoke about OPC operations, wind warnings, and products. Approximately forty staff members attended the hour and a half seminar. Those in attendance were historians, administrators, trustees, craftsmen, and volunteers.

Sienkiewicz also hosted nine science teachers from the Charles County Public Schools on the afternoon of April 30. The teachers, who were completing a course entitled "Water in the Earth System", received an introduction to the OPC and to ocean forecasting.

Training for mariners on the use of OPC products was conducted at a wide variety of locations during 2003 - Marine Forecaster Lee Chesneau made presentations on OPC warning products and services to the Advanced Meteorology course at the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI), Seattle, WA, on June 23-27 and October 20-24. The attendees were professional mariners who work mostly on ships, tugboats, and ferries. Chesneau discussed in depth the NWS marine program with emphasis on OPC warning, analysis, and forecast products.

He was an instructor on the Sea Education Association's brigantine SSV Robert C. Seamans. Lee provided information on OPC forecast and warning products and services to the student sailors on the voyage from San Francisco to Los Angeles from August 8 to 13.

Three times in 2003 Chesneau hosted Advanced Meteorology course students from the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in OPC's operations area at the NOAA Science Center on October 1. The students were provided with an overview of OPC operations. In the case of the October 1 visit, the students participated in the hurricane hotline conference call for Hurricane Kate. They also met with OPC Director Jim Hoke and OFB Chief Dave Feit who conducted a question and answer feedback session with the students.

Chesneau provided several seminars at the annual Waterway Radio and Cruising Club and Seven Seas Cruising Association Convention held in Melbourne, FL, November 13-16. Over 600 mariners attended several seminars Chesneau conducted as part of the convention. OPC warning analyses and forecast products and their interpretation were covered. He also distributed information packets and answered questions from attendees throughout the convention. He participated in the Winlink-sponsored day long seminar which focused on accessing OPC text and graphic products at sea. Winlink is a marine communications hardware and software company.


6. Special Activities

Support to NOAA HAZMAT - On January 29, the OPC provided forecast support to NOAA HAZMAT in Seattle for a vessel which had the potential of creating a major oil spill. The vessel, a 410-foot car carrier, was located 160-180 nautical miles east of Cape Fear. The crew was evacuated on January 24. The vessel was listing severely and leaking diesel fuel, lubrication oil, and number 6 oil. A tug boat was dispatched to see if it could be towed to safe harbor. OPC continued to provide support to the HAZMAT staff over the next several days. The result was a successful conclusion to the operation and praise to OPC for the crucial weather support it provided.

OPC provides tour and information to National Ice Center (NIC) staff - On June 5, National Ice Center (NIC) staff visited the OPC. They were briefed on OPC operations by Dave Feit and on technical issues by Joe Sienkiewicz. Included in discussions were ways of increasing the sharing of information between OPC and NIC.

OPC hosts summer students - Two college students spent part of the summer at the OPC. Joi Copridge, a physics major at Clark Atlanta University, was with the OPC from June 5 through July 23, working on a project involving hurricane force storms. Jodi Min, a senior at the United States Coast Guard Academy, worked at the OPC from June 23 through July 25. She also studied hurricane-force oceanic storms, a topic of increasing interest and understanding in the OPC.

OPC meteorologist provides marine training at COMET - Joe Sienkiewicz attended the first COMAP Planetary Boundary Layer Symposium, held at COMET in Boulder, CO, on September 8-12. The course was attended by 26 SOOs, Warning and Coordination Meteorologists, and Lead Forecasters from the NWS and one Canadian forecaster from British Columbia. Sienkiewicz gave seminar illustrating the wind speed gradients observed across the sea surface temperature gradients of the Gulf Stream.


7. Media

Swell Pictures interviews OPC SOO - On February 20, a production crew from Swell Pictures of Los Angeles, CA, filmed the operations area of the Ocean Prediction Center. Swell Pictures was putting together a one-hour documentary describing a swell event this past January that impacted both the Hawaiian and central California coastlines. The SOO Joe Sienkiewicz was interviewed and provided information regarding swell generation and propagation. Sienkiewicz also described the evolution of the North Pacific storm that produced the swell train. The completed documentary was released late in 2003.

Fox News interviews Ocean Forecast Branch Chief - On September 18 Dave Feit gave a live interview to Fox Television News regarding the extremely high waves off the east coast associated with approaching Hurricane Isabel. Feit pointed out the area of 50-foot waves just off the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and noted they would play a large part in the storm surge expected shortly.

OPC featured in magazine - The OPC was featured in the December 2003 issue of Cruising World magazine. Earlier the author, Ralph Naranjo, had visited OPC to gain a first-hand understanding of the center in preparation for the article about marine weather forecasting.


8. Awards

Cline Awards were presented to OPC Staff - OPC Marine Forecasters David Chorney, Curt Janota, Robert Oszajca, and Fran Achorn were recognized for initiating a new and innovative method of assessing the performance of OPC in issuing graphical warnings for the north Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

SOO Joe Sienkiewicz was recognized for showing vision and providing excellent leadership in the incorporation of QuikSCAT satellite data into OPC's daily operations. QuikSCAT furnishes valuable information over the data sparse oceans.


9. OPC Staff as of December 31, 2003


James Hoke, Director

Kevin McCarthy, Deputy Director

Crystal Rickett, Administrative Officer

Jeanette Rolen, Secretary

Ocean Forecast Branch

David Feit, Branch Chief

Senior Marine Forecasters: Scott Prosise, Edward Schoenberg, Douglas Scovil, Paul Vukits, Robert Oszajca

Marine Forecasters: Kevin Achorn, Frances Achorn, George Bancroft, Lee Chesneau, David Chorney, James Clark, Joe Cope, Joseph Czarniecki, Pedro Fritz, James Kells, Hugh McRandal, David Mills, James Nolt, Michael Rowland, Todd Shaw

Ocean Applications Branch

Joseph Sienkiewicz, Acting Branch Chief/Science and Operations Officer

Curt Janota, Meteorologist Developer

Personnel Changes in 2003

James Kells joined OPC as a forecaster in January



 Preparing the Pacific Offshore forecast

Marine Forecaster, Lee Chesneau, preparing the morning forecast package for the Pacific offshore area.



 OPC interviewed by media

Ocean Forecast Branch Chief, Dave Feit, being interviewed by Fox Television News about the extreme waves generated by hurricane Isabel.



Video- Racing up the Chesapeake Bay.


NOAA/ National Weather Service
National Centers for Environmental Prediction
NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP)
Ocean Prediction Center
Mr. Darin Figurskey
Chief, Ocean Forecast Branch
5830 University Research Court
College Park, Maryland 20740-3818

Phone: 301-683-1520
Fax: 301-683-1501 (SDM), 301-683-1545 (back office-administrative)

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Page last modified:  Wednesday, December 31, 2014 16:40:32 UTC