Storm closing the Port of Valencia puts HiSea wave height forecasting to the test

The storm that battered the Spanish coast and forced the Port Authority of Valencia to close the maritime gate of the city for several hours on Saturday, 6th November, was also an opportunity to test the accuracy of HiSea’s remote forecasting model, by checking its predictions against actual measurements carried out at sea, EU-project HiSea partner Fundación Valenciaport said.

“This was a great opportunity to put the HiSea platform to the test, more specifically the MET-OCEAN data service for monitoring and forecasting wind speed and direction, significant wave height, direction and currents,” commented Fundación Valenciaport project technician Mark Tanner.

“Here, the HiSea partners were able to compare real-time marine data with the HiSea platform’s predictions. It resulted in that at the time of closing, the platform was also registering significant wave height values, which modelling could have been used beforehand to foresee the situation and contribute to risk management planning required and also predicting the port’s operations’ downtime during de extreme weather conditions,” Tanner added.

In graphs comparing the modelling forecast values with the real-time values, for wave height (see the graph below) and other parameters, the forecasted values were shown to be largely in line with the real-time measurements. This follows earlier results which showed similar levels of accuracy in HiSea modelling predictions for other parameters as well, such as seawater temperature, as well as chlorophyll and turbidity.

Before the closure of the port on the 6th of November, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) had established a yellow warning on the south coast of Valencia and the entire coast of Alicante due to north-easterly winds of force seven and waves of three to four metres.

For operational safety reasons, at around 13:00h on the Saturday, the port closed its doors due to the strong winds and high waves, which posed a significant risk to incoming traffic in the port’s channel and to vessels proceeding to berthing operations, Fundación Valenciaport noted.