TalTech creates model to predict wave height and direction in Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea.
The Baltic Sea. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Researchers from Institute of Marine Systems (IMS) at TalTech and Estonian Environment Agency have created a model to predict the height and direction of a significant wave in the Baltic Sea.

If someone wants to go fishing, they can now make sure that the waves in the Baltic Sea are not too high and will not tip the boat.

The Institute of Marine Systems at Tallinn University of Technology developed a model that predicts how high the waves will be in the Baltic Sea over the next three days.

Rivo Uiboupin, the head of the Marine Systems Institute (MSI) at Tallinn University of Technology, said that the model is necessary so that, for instance, people who are building something at sea may plan their activities. It is also useful for beachgoers and surfers. However, Uiboupin said the app's largest audience consists of recreational boaters who use it for navigation purposes.

As with any forecast, the model is unable to predict the wave height with absolute accuracy. The head of the Environment Agency's weather forecasting section, Ivar Ansper, said that checking the prediction for Tuesday on Monday was more accurate than, for instance, checking the forecast for Thursday.

"I would say it provides you with 90 to 95 percent accuracy for the upcoming day and as time increases the accuracy declines to about 80 percent or less," Ansper said.  

The information is accessible through the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

When calculating wave height, the model takes into account wave generation, interaction, propagation and attenuation.

Uiboupin said that it is possible to estimate what the waves would look like in the Baltic Sea in the near future by applying several formulas and equations.

Ivar Ansper, a senior specialist at the Environmental Agency, expressed hope that future collaborations with universities would continue.

The development of the wave model, he said, exemplifies how science can be made useful quickly.

"I dare to say that cooperation with universities has been somewhat lacking thus far; it could certainly be improved," he said. 

The 72-hour wave height and direction forecast for the Baltic Sea is updated twice every day.

The Environment Agency utilizes this model internally and has also made it available to the general public.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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