Apps for Sailors: Weather 4D & Weather 4D Pro iOS - Sail Magazine

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

Take the Weather With You A new star among the constellation of weather apps  
Author:
Publish date:
apps-1

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.

apps-2

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

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more

albinheaters

Albin Pump Marine: Marine Water Heaters

IN HOT WATERSweden’s Albin Pump Marine has introduced its line of marine water heaters to the United States. Complete with 130V or 230V AC electric elements, the heaters can be plumbed into the engine cooling system. They feature ceramic-lined cylindrical tanks in 5, 8, 12 and ...read more

03-squalls4

Squall Strategies

Our first encounter with a big squall was sailing from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico. We left at 0200 to ensure we’d get into Ensenada before our 1300 haulout time. The National Weather Service had forecast consistent 15-20 knot winds from the northwest, which was perfect for the ...read more