The FOCUS project


Due to the Arctic’s extreme environmental conditions and remoteness maritime operators are strongly demanding user-specified weather and sea-ice predictions. With the chaotic nature of the coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea-ice system and systematic errors inherent in our model systems, a careful and accurate estimation of the forecast accuracy, is needed to provide the end-user with high-quality information for decision-making. Probabilistic forecasts based on ensemble prediction system can provide the necessary information. In previous end-user workshops and training sessions, we have gained extensive knowledge where advanced services are needed and have the potential to drive innovation. We will built-up on this knowledge and create a consortium of natural and social scientists, commercial and public suppliers of navigational products and services, and end-users from the maritime sectors. For additional guidance and outreach to end-users not part of the project we establish a Stakeholder Advisory Group with key representatives from the shipping, tourism, military, and fisheries sectors.

In order to allow for advanced probabilistic weather forecasting, the operational weather prediction system of MET Norway will be enhanced by coupling to a 1D ocean turbulence model allowing a physically consistent error propagation and operationally feasible coupling strategy. The ocean sea-ice prediction system, as part of the Copernicus Marine Environmental Monitoring Service will also be enhanced using better knowledge of atmospheric forecast uncertainties. Novel ensemble based forecast products will be analysed, designed and refined in a co-production process. The involvement of partners from the public and commercial sectors, will warrant an interactive and flexible development of forecast products and ensure a user-oriented development of the system. With novel methodologies from the social sciences present-day and future forecast information needs will be assessed.


A photo

The project is organized in four workpackages (WPs). WP0 is responsible for the coordination of project and the SAG. WP1 and WP2 are organized along a forecast values chain. WP1 represents the development of ensemble forecast systems, while WP2 entails the added-value process of public and commercial services. WP3 overviews the value chain and analyses the process from forecast generation to user decisions.

WP-1 Ensemble predictions of weather, waves, ice, and ocean

  • Ocean coupling of the convective-scale AROME Arctic weather prediction system by incorporating the General Ocean Turbulence Model (GOTM)
  • Improving the ensemble characteristics of the ocean and sea-ice forecasting system (TOPAZ) which is part of the CMEMS Arctic Marine Forecasting Center

- PI Laurent Bertino (NERSC)

- co-PI Erin Emily Thomas (MET Norway)

WP-2 Added-value services and forecast dissemination

  • Developments of map services at MET Norway including probabilistic information as part of MET-halo.
  • Demonstrations services with the NAVTOR planning station NAVStation and probabilistic information for passage planing.

- PI Jelmer Jeuring (MET Norway)

- co-PI Bjørn Åge Hjøllo (NAVTOR AS)

WP-3 User-needs now and in the future

  • Following-up on the Maritime Futures 2030: The Arctic Region workshop to understand future end-user needs.
  • Analysis of the provider, intermediate- and end-user interfaces
  • Policy Brief detailing the social and technical dimensions of Artic forecasting systems.

- PI Berill Blair (Univ. Wag.)

- co-PI Machiel Lamers (Univ. Wag.)

The consortium

Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Norway

Dr. Malte Müller is the lead-PI of the FOCUS project. Malte is a senior scientist at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. His research interests include high-resolution coupled ocean, sea-ice, and atmosphere modelling, ocean tides as part of the climate system, and provision of weather and climate information to end-users.

Dr. Jelmer Jeuring leads Work Package 2. Jelmer is a researcher at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. He has a background in social psychology (MSc) and geography (PhD). His research focuses on usability gaps of weather and climate services. By integrating social-scientific methods into meteorological research and practice, he studies various issues surrounding user-provider interactions, including co-production of knowledge, communication of risk and uncertainty, and psychological aspects of weather and climate.

Dr. Erin Emily Thomas co-leads Work Package 1. ....

Yurii Batrak contributes to Work Package 1. ....

Dr. Cyril Palerme contributes to Work Package 1. Cyril is a researcher at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. In his research, he focuses on improving forecasts of Arctic weather and sea-ice, and he is particularly interested in understanding interactions between the atmosphere and ice-covered areas.

Dr. Johannes Röhrs contributes to Work Package 1.

Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Norway

Dr. Laurent Bertino leads Work Package 1. Dr. Laurent Bertino is an expert of ensemble data assimilation and spatial statistics with soon 20 years of expertise with sea ice forecasting in the Arctic. His interests are in applications of data assimilation and coupled ice-ocean models. He is currently leading the Arctic Monitoring and Forecasting Center in the Copernicus Marine Services.

Dr. Jiping Xie contributes to Work Package 1. Jiping is an expert of ocean and sea ice ensemble data assimilation and is using the TOPAZ system.


Dr. Sukun Cheng contributes to Work Package 1. Sukun is an expert of waves in sea ice and is using the neXtSIM model.


Dr. Bjørn Åge Hjøllo co-leads Work Package 2 Bjørn Åge has a Master in Meteorology, and started his carrier in Norwegian Meteorological Institute’s R&D division in 1992, and for the three years heading the Marine Forecasting Centre. In 2004, he joined C-MAP Norway as General Manager for C-MAP Marine Forecasting Centre. In 2011 he joined a group of managers establishing NAVTOR AS to focus on e-Navigation. He is today Chief Business Development Manager focusing on e-Navigation solutions.

Ståle Høylandskjær Ståle has a background in marketing and sales and experience from the commercial days at MET Norway, being responsible for sales related activities to the maritime and offshore sector. He worked as Area Sales Manager at C-MAP Norway, later to be Jeppesen AS (a Boeing subsidiary). Since 2013 he is the Area Sales Manager in NAVTOR

University of Wageningen, Netherlands

Dr. Berill Blair leads Work Package 3. Berill researches issues that impact remote and coastal Arctic communities; the focus of which have been risk management in natural resource governance; and resilience and adaptation to emergent challenges – most prominently from climate change and impacts from industrial activities.

Dr. Machiel Lamers co-leads Work Package 3. Machiel is an Associate Professor at the Environmental Policy Group of Wageningen University & Research. His research interests are in the fields of sustainable tourism, tourism and nature conservation, environmental policy, and science-policy interface.

Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Germany

Dr. Hans Burchard contributes to Work Package 1 Hans is supporting the application of the General Ocean Turbulence Model (GOTM), a one-dimensional water column model included into the project to reproduce and forecast near-surface dynamics interacting with atmosphere and sea ice processes