Odyssey sailors send back automated weather information to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) using specially designed software.
- The boats’ onboard systems are configured to continuously capture data from the electronic instrument network, which allows the boats to make automated reports via email of wind conditions, sea temperature and barometric pressure using the WMO Code for Ship Weather Reports. This data can then be used by meteorologists for their forecasts.
- How does it work?
Martin Kramp, ship coordinator at JCOMMOPS (the Joint Technical Commission of the WMO and IOC-UNESCO):
“With a satellite communication system and a computer onboard, and the instruments the yachts have for wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, air and sea temperature, all that needs to be done is to install the free software and spend 5 minutes per day to compile a report.
There is no obligation to do this. But if it is done, all those friends and family at home can not only follow your position, but also see on the internet what the weather is like where the fleet is currently sailing.”
- This is part of the WMO Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) scheme. There are currently around 4000 ships on the list, although the numbers have declined in recent years, and reports are largely concentrated on the major shipping lanes. Even so, the contribution made by VOS meteorological reports to meteorological services and to global climate studies is unique and irreplaceable.