Marine Forecast Centre

Sailing boat

Are you getting ready for a sea voyage or a family trip to the beach? Are you looking for forecasts for the times of high and low tides? Wave height forecasts? Sea temperature forecasts? Do you want to know the strength and direction of marine currents? The salinity of the sea water?

Look no further, the OD Nature Marine Forecast Centre calculates them for you!

Formerly known as the ‘Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematic Models’, since 1976 our marine forecast centre has been developing, maintaining and operating a collection of three-dimensional models of marine forecasts for storm surges, waves and currents in the North Sea and the Channel, with a focus on the Belgian economic zone.

Helping the Public

Using similar techniques to those used by weather forecasting models, twice a day our models calculate five-day forecasts of all the physical parameters which determine marine traffic in the Channel and the North Sea. These forecasts are published on our website and are destined for a large audience. They are also central to the numerous specialised applications in support of civil protection, maritime safety, research and/or economic activities.

High seas
Protecting Civilians

Often considered to be the most reliable for the south bay of the Nord Sea, our marine forecasts are one of the main sources of information used on a daily basis by the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium and by the Ostend oceanographic and meteorological station during the preparation of their respective marine reports.

It is on the basis of our models forecasts of storm surges that the governor of West Flanders activated the emergency plan against the risk of flooding during the famous storm of Saint-Nicolas in 2013.

Aiding Research and the Private Sector

Marine environments are particularly dynamic environments where it is often difficult to achieve the long series of measurements necessary for the completion of a research project or various feasibility studies. This is why we are regularly contacted by academics or engineers working in research departments in order to obtain time series of the parameters produced by our models.    

Helping the Coast Guard, Maritime Safety and Protection of the Environment

The Belgian part of the North Sea is intersected by two of the busiest maritime routes in the world. The Belgian part of the North Sea is thus a zone that is particularly sensitive to maritime risks like collisions between ships, shipwrecks, men overboard, the loss of cargo, the loss of containers and the accidental or illegal discharge of hydrocarbons or of harmful or potentially dangerous chemical substances. All of these risks are taken very seriously by the Belgian Coast Guard

In support of the Belgian Coast Guard, our Marine Forecast Centre has developed a model capable of predicting the trajectory of objects floating on the surface of the sea or of marine pollution. Thanks to its internet interface (OSERIT), the operators of MUMM or the central office of the Belgian Coast Guard can activate the model at any moment and thus, in a few minutes, obtain useful information about evaluations to be carried out in the event of an incident at sea. For example, in the event of a hydrocarbon spill, the information provided by the model makes it possible to estimate the risk of the hydrocarbons reaching the shore, but also to forecast how pollution will be displaced in the sea, or to accurately locate a hydrocarbon spill during operations to combat this pollution at sea.

International Recognition

The quality of our department is internationally recognised. A founding member of EuroGOOS, we exchange our forecasts on a daily basis with the 24 institutes which are members of the NOOS network, from all 9 countries that border the North Sea. We also operate a drift service for the EMSA, the European maritime safety agency (EMSA). This recognition enables us to be involved as a partner or coordinator in research projects which have been co-financed by the European Commission and are linked to operational oceanography.

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