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New seasonal forecast service to help with estimating conditions for harvesting timber

Photo: Eija Vallinheimo / FMI.

Harvesting machines weight about 20 tons and require good bearing capacity of the terrain to avoid the machines from getting stuck and to keep from damaging the topsoil of the forest floor. Up to 80% Finish forest land have been classified for Finnish Foreste center based on analysing airborne laser scanning data for what sort of conditions are required for forest trafficability. 6 classes some requiring dry summer and some winter conditions for trafficability.

The new service by Finish Meteorological Institute (FMI) extends this classification by helping to estimate for up to several months ahead if and when dry enough conditions for summer or adequate frost and snow conditions for winter could be expected.

These predictions should not be used like weather forecasts, they are more like locally accurate climate information. Instead of one value they give a range where the actual result should settle with high probability”, tells Mikko Strahlendorff from FMI.

These forecasts are based on an ensemble of 51 seasonal modelling results. When 90% of models agree that conditions are either good or bad simple go / no-go guidance is given. When models disagree the trafficability classification is shown as is. The forecasts are updated once per month and are courtesy of EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Services (C3S). The modelling results have for the service been bias-corrected using average local monthly climate for years 2000 to 2019. When the models agree these forecasts should be useful for at least two months and offer information to help timing the harvest for about six months.

Some prediction skill comes from global weather pattern teleconnections. The predictability is better with the slowly changing variables of soil moisture, soil temperature and snow depth used in the service.

Come try out locations in Finland on . Harvester Seasons -service will be freely avaiable to use during a one year trial period lasting until May 2021.

More information:
Mikko Strahlendorff, Finnish Meteorological Institute, tel. +35850 359 3795,

Project partners
Finnish Meteorological Institute, Main contractor
Metsäteho, Subcontractor
Metsä Group, Client

This service was funded within Copernicus C3S Use Case Program Service contract under framework agreement ECMWF/COPERNICUS/2019/C3S_428g_FMI. As a part of the E-Shape EuroGEO Showcases project , the service has also received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 820852.

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