Starpath Marine Weather
Lesson Plans

Lesson 1 INTRODUCTION

Role of marine weather • Elements of marine weather and how they relate to each other and to forecasting • Terminology and glossaries • Getting started on sources • Getting started on map symbols
 

Lesson 2 PRESSURE & WIND

Why the wind blows • Pressure and barometers • Properties of Highs, Lows, ridges and troughs • Winds from isobars • Apparent wind to true wind • More on map reading

Lesson 3 GLOBAL WIND & CURRENT

Causes and descriptions of global winds • Doldrums • Trade winds • Horse latitudes • Prevailing westerlies • Polar front • Air mass classification • Structure of the atmosphere • Stability • Ocean currents • Centers of Action concept

Lesson 4 STRONG WIND SYSTEMS

Lows • Fronts • Squalls • Tropical storms and hurricanes • Strong winds in clear skies • A reminder that ultimately we will more often use our knowledge of marine weather to find more wind than to avoid too much wind.

Lesson 5 CLOUDS, FOG, & SEAS

Clouds types and meaning • Fog types and meaning • Wave terminology • Sea state forecasting • Beaufort scale

Lesson 6 WIND & TERRAIN

Sea breezes • Land breezes • Channeling and gap winds • Blocking and shadowing • Effects of friction on shoreline winds • Sailboat tactics

Lesson 7 WEATHER MAPS REVIEW

More practice on map reading • Sorting out typical confusions • Map sequencing to verify forecasts • Manual weather routing • Fine tuning wind predictions• Use of sea state maps • Use of ocean current maps • Comparing GRIB data with analyzed products from the NWS • Automated weather routing software

Lesson 8 SOURCES OF DATA

Marine Weather Services Charts • How to use local and international forecast zones • Local and high seas radio voice sources • Traditional radiofacsimile options and how to use them • New resources available by SSB, satellite phone, and cell phone connections to PCs • Model forecasts in GRIB format on land and underway • Pros and cons and safe usage of GRIB data • Overview of Internet sources • Quick Scat winds • WWV storm warnings • Weather data by FTP-email • Ultra mobile data for use in cell phones and PDAs • Professional routing services

Lesson 9 ONBOARD FORECASTING

Quick forecasting tips • In-depth use of barometer • Meaning of wind shifts • What the swells, waves, and ripples can tell us • Old sayings explained • Meanings of Clouds • Logbook procedures • Combining observations with forecasts • How to explain why your own forecast was wrong!

Lesson 10 SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE WEATHER

What is reversed and what isn't • Unique features of Southern Hemisphere weather • Special sources for Southern Hemisphere weather data