Weather data collected at sea crucial for extreme maritime forecasting in changing climate

29 October 2019

More data collected by ships at sea will help improve extreme weather forecasts and benefit mariners, a world symposium on extreme weather conditions has heard.

Former secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, and chair of the Nautical Institute Peter Hinchliffe said an increase is needed in the amount of meteorological data received from vessels to improve forecasting and weather warnings, helping both the maritime industry as well as the public.

'Only 2,500 ships voluntarily provide met data. Out of a total of around 80,000 ships in international trade this is a shockingly small number and efforts must be made to increase the contribution of this vital data to improve forecasting and weather warnings,’ Mr Hinchliffe told the symposium.

The first joint World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the International Maritime Organisation symposium - held in London form 23-25 October 2019 - shone a light on the urgent need to close the gap between met-ocean providers and users of this information in the maritime industry.

The symposium is a contribution to the United Nation's focus on its 'Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development' from 2021-2030 and looked at safety of life at sea and the impact of extreme weather.

Ports and Harbours are also expected be challenged from a safety and economic perspective in the future, due to more frequent and intense storms and rising sea levels, the symposium heard.

UK maritime minister Nusrat Ghani stressed the need for met-ocean and shipping communities to build dialogue on global solutions in shipping and maritime transport, especially in the changing climate.