South Africa: Swell Times As Seamester Team Weathers Massive Storm

analysis

The students, lecturers and scientists participating in the SEAmester programme aboard the SA Agulhas II had to bolt the storm doors after receiving some unnerving weather forecasts...

Shortly after 5pm on Saturday 6 July, the SA Agulhas II, the South African icebreaking polar cargo and research ship owned by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), started feeling the impacts of the massive storm headed her way from the South Atlantic Ocean.

News had arrived at the vessel via three daily forecasts and shipping synoptic charts in the preceding days. The SEAmester/Agulhas System Climate Array (ASCA) cruise had been spared bad weather up to this point, with a massive cold front slipping southwards in the first few days of the cruise. However, this time, we did not look to be as lucky.

The SA Weather Service Marine Unit in Cape Town recently developed a 6km high-resolution wave forecasting model (for up to 67 hours) for the South African coastline. The supporting forecast for the waves we could expect to experience was sent by the Cape Town Weather Office, where the Marine Unit is based. And what a revelation that turned out to be! The powerful storm was forecast to bring winds...

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