Maersk, a Danish shipping company, has committed its fleet of 300 vessels to operating within the global Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) scheme of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Approximately half of its vessels are already operating within the VOS scheme and the remaining half should be active by the end of 2020.
Weather and sea-state observations have been collected and disseminated systematically for over 150 years. They provide essential data on meteorological conditions at sea for weather forecasts and, over long timescales, help climate scientists understand climate change. Ship observations, alongside other ocean, land-based and satellite observations, are fed into global and regional climate analyses, as well as coupled atmosphere-ocean climate models, which depict the evolution of our environment. These observations also help to ensure safety of life and property at sea by allowing better forecasting of storms and other extreme ocean-related events.
Five Maersk vessels have already been equipped with automatic weather stations (AWSs) known as EUCAWS (European Common Automatic Weather Stations). These systems – provided and installed by Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) – automatically acquire data on atmospheric pressure, air temperature and relative humidity, and transmit them hourly. By the end of 2020, a total of 50 such stations are planned to be operational, providing the largest fleet of AWSs from one single company.
GOOS is a joint programme of WMO, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Science Council (ISC).