Apps for Sailors: Weather 4D & Weather 4D Pro iOS

Take the Weather With You A new star among the constellation of weather apps  
Author:
Updated:
Original:

On a recent voyage I used Weather 4D to view National Weather Service (NWS) Global Forecast System (GFS) weather prediction data, commonly distributed as GRIB files. Of the myriad apps that can be used to display GRIB files, I found Weather 4D to be the most useful way to download and review NOAA’s GFS model GRIB data over cellular or WiFi networks. What sets it apart is the stunning layered display of data elements and its ability to project changes over time, similar to an animated video display. This is a brilliant app that shows wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, temperature, wave height, period and direction, current speed and direction, precipitation and cloud cover.

Weather 4D uses “weather zones” to define the data included in each GRIB file. This zone definition includes the duration of the weather forecast–1 to 8 days–forecast projections in 3-, 6-, 12- or 24-hour increments and a grid resolution of 0.5, 1 or 2 degrees. Data elements include wind speed and direction 10 meters above mean sea level, pressure, precipitation, temperature, waves and ocean current. Zone definitions determine the size of the file downloaded and are dependent on the area size, forecast options and weather elements. Note that large files may take a long time to download and could exceed your cellular plan data limit.

Wind speed can be displayed with traditional wind barbs or as a colored gradient. (A half barb indicates 5 knots, one long barb is 10 knots, two barbs is 20 knots, etc.) Barometric pressure is displayed using continuous blue isobars with labels or in a 3D mode, with highs and lows represented as peaks and valleys on a 3D surface. Wave data includes both wave direction and period, as obtained from FNMOC WW3 Global or Euro. Temperature and rain are shown as colored gradients. Each data element is represented in separate layers. Multiple layers can be combined by selecting the item(s) and display options for some stunning visual presentations.

To visualize changing conditions, Weather 4D allows you to scroll through a weather forecast over its selected timeframe. As you do so the various weather data overlays also change, allowing you to easily visualize the evolving conditions. Each layer has several settings that allow you to customize the display to highlight the weather conditions you are most interested in. This is especially useful for tracking weather systems or noting changes in wind speed and direction.

Due to the fact that a virtually unlimited number of screen-display combinations are available, the screen can become quite busy. During our recent voyage, for example, we regularly monitored the wind speed and direction, baromateric pressures in the area, and wave height and direction. Toggling between temperature, clouds and forecast rain provided yet more information.

With so many features and options at your disposal, Weather 4D can seem overly complex, especially in the beginning. With this in mind when first working with the app, I recommend using a single layer and then experimenting with the display options. If they make an updated version, I would like to seem them add a setting for high/low colored gradients, which would make it easier to visualize the pressure systems. All in all though, for recreational sailors and coastal cruisers, Weather 4D provides a beautiful way to manage and view GRIB files. I give Weather 4D 4½ stars. Weather 4D is available on iOS for $10.99. s

Name: Weather 4D & Weather 4D Pro iOS

Available on: iOS & Android devices (weather4d.com/en)

Price: $10.99 & $33.99 (Pro)

Score: 4 1/2 stars

Related

Shelly-forward-last-day

Charter Advice for First-Timers

Never chartered? No worries. A vacation under sail can be the most memorable time of your life. That said, it also pays to be prepared by doing some reading, building your skills and listening to what the experts say. First and foremost, not all charter grounds are created ...read more

HugoBoss

Video: Vendeé Update

Last week Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) led the fleet across the equator. As one of the class' top sailors who's been on the Vendeé Podium twice, it seemed possible that Thomson was going to grab an early lead and hold on to it all the way around the world. But early on Saturday, he ...read more

AdobeStock_229409051

Chartering Again for the First Time

It’s been a rocky road of late for the charter industry, especially here in the Western Hemisphere. First came hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean followed by Dorian in the Bahamas. There has also, of course, been the coronavirus, which burst into global prominence ...read more

01 LEAD cedaryachtclub_onedesign18_hike

An Interview with Ayme Sinclair

In recent months, US Sailing, like many organizations, has been taking a closer look at diversity to ensure it’s doing the best job it can of introducing people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to the sport. As part of this effort, this past summer it organized an online ...read more

125768940_10222759720523627_5373654001582879638_n

US Sailing Presents Adaptive Sailing Panel

On Tuesday, November 24, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum will present the latest panel discussion in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series. This event will focus on adaptive sailing and provide practical recommendations for organizations looking to expand their adaptive ...read more

02-IMG_5971

A Carbon Neutral Circumnav with Jimmy Cornell

Historic anniversaries have always held a special fascination for me, especially if they mark a significant nautical achievement. In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ would-be voyage to India, I organized a transatlantic rally that followed the historic route of the ...read more

DJI_0068

SAIL Podcast: Jimmy Cornell’s Carbon-free Circumnav

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with bestselling author and pioneering bluewater sailor Jimmy Cornell, who set out November 19 on yet another circumnavigation aboard a newly designed, carbon-neutral Outremer 4Zero catamaran. The voyage, which ...read more

emirates-600x

Emirates Team New Zealand Splashes the last of the AC75s

Emirates Team New Zealand unveiled its second-generation AC75 yesterday, joining the other three America's Cup teams with boats in the water. In just over 100 days, this boat will attempt to defend the Cup for the Kiwis, but there's plenty of racing between now and then, with ...read more