Space leads the new surf forecasting revolution

January 11, 2014 | Surfing
Winter Storm Hercules: reliable wave forecasts are critical | Photo: Sven Grossenbacher/Billabong XXL

A new technology promises a revolution in the wave forecasting methods and models. Measuring swell from space, in real-time, is the next big thing.

Winter Storm Hercules has proved, once again, that the power of the ocean can't be tamed. If we must predict extraordinary natural events, why don't we do it from space?

The European GNSS-R Environment Monitoring, an European scientific joint-venture led by Deimos Engenharia, is a technology using radio signals from satellite navigation systems to monitor sea state.

These radio signals are reflected in the ocean surface and land, to determine maritime conditions such as wave height, with accuracy rates that can reach one millimeter.

GPS reflectometry is able to get real-time, accurate observations of large areas across the oceans, during long periods of time, and in adverse weather conditions.

The European GNSS-R Environment Monitoring is more reliable than the classic weather buoys, and is able to track ground swells forming thousands of miles away from the coastlines.

The new revolution in wave forecasting represents an investment of 2.8 million Euros that will be tested in the next three years.