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World Meteorological OrganizationIntergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO Ship Observations Team ~ integrating and coordinating international.

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Presentation on theme: "World Meteorological OrganizationIntergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO Ship Observations Team ~ integrating and coordinating international."— Presentation transcript:

1 World Meteorological OrganizationIntergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO Ship Observations Team ~ integrating and coordinating international ship-based observing programmes for JCOMM ~ SOT-IV April 2007, Geneva, Switzerland Sarah North ASAP Chair Report

2 The main developments since SOT III have come from the E- ASAP as it progressively aims to integrate European ASAP ships into a cooperative programme. 9 of the 16 active E-ASAP ships are now effectively integrated i.e. 5 ASAP units have been procured directly by the programme and are therefore fully integrated, while 4 ASAP units (owned by Germany and UK) have been managerially and operationally integrated into the programme. E-ASAP entered its next phase at the start of 2007 when Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) was chosen once more as the responsible member for the programme. Status of ASAP operations since SOT- III

3 Although E-ASAP ships primarily operate in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean, the programme also aims to contribute to the WWW by providing up to 10% of its soundings outside the EUCOS area of interest ( e.g. in the Southern Oceans). E-ASAP also funds radiosonde operations from the North Sea platform Ekofisk, and contributes funding for consumables used by the Norwegian Weather Ship MIKE. The E-ASAP model of integrating units on a regional basis in order to obtain economies of scale, and aiming to harmonise operations under a central management team, is perhaps one that could be considered in other areas of the globe Status of ASAP operations since SOT- III

4 An important contribution is also made by Japanese research ships operating primarily in the North Western Pacific areas and seas adjacent to Japan (although the research ship Mirai also occasionally operates in the Atlantic and Indian oceans). The number of soundings reported from Japanese research ships has increased significantly since 2005 ( from 582 in 2005 to 938 launches in 2006) and the percentage of reports getting onto the GTS continues to be high when compared to that of E-ASAP ships. Whilst a total of 4238 soundings messages from E-ASAP ships were inserted on the GTS in 2005 the loss rate (due to loss of sonde at launch, operator error or transmission problems) continued at unacceptably high levels. Status of ASAP operations since SOT- III

5 During the intersessional period radiosonde soundings were also performed by South African research ship SA Agulhas. Although operations were temporarily interrupted by theft of the sounding equipment from this ship, it is understood that they will resume in the near future. Research ships operated by other countries may also be performing occasional soundings for particular projects, but because these do not contribute directly to the ASAP programme the details are not known. Closer links with research institutions are needed so that all upper air soundings at sea are captured. Status of ASAP operations since SOT- III

6 The Worldwide Recurring ASAP Project (WRAP) was discontinued in May 2005 when the host ship (MSC Corinna) underwent a change in its trading pattern. The project had provided good quality upper-air data over a period of almost four years and had required close collaboration between the National Met. Services involved (i.e. the Australian B of M, the UK Met Office and NOAA). Had other Met Services been able to financially contribute to the project then it might have been possible to develop it as an ongoing programme. The validity of the WRAP concept was proven in the operational sense and should therefore be kept under review by the panel, in case suitable opportunities arise again in the future (e.g. Scholar Ship ?) However if the project is to be resurrected then it would be essential to establish ongoing financial commitments from a greater number of participants at the outset. Status of ASAP operations since SOT- III

7 Activities since SOT III included  Assisting with arrangements for recovery of the sounding/launching equipment from the WRAP ship. Return of the sounding computer to NOAA, and concluding financial arrangements for WRAP consumables and maintenance.  Attending the first E-ASAP Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting held in Hamburg from 9-10 November 2005  Chairing the second E-ASAP TAG meeting held in Hamburg on 19 March 2006 [Note – a further meeting of the TAG was held yesterday]  Providing input into the SOT annual report, the ASAP brochure and the ASAP pages on the JCOMMOPS website. Activities of the Interim ASAP Chairperson

8 Satellite Transmission Problems  The transfer of Goonhilly Inmarsat C LES operations to Burum LES in November 2006 had a major impact of E-ASAP data transmission, resulting initially in the loss of data and, subsequently, to major timeliness problems. Issues since SOT III Satellite Transmission Costs  T h e c o s t o f u p p e r a i r T E M P c o d e d a t a t r a n s m i s s i o n v i a I n m a r s a t i s e x t r e m e l y h i g h w h e n c o m p a r e d t o a s t a n d a r d S H I P c o d e t r a n s m i s s i o n f r o m V O S ( o f t e n a m o u n t i n g t o o v e r € / m o n t h / s h i p ).  T o a l l e v i a t e t h i s c o s t b u r d e n a g r e e m e n t w a s r e a c h e d w i t h i n E U C O S t o r e i m b u r s e t r a n s m i s s i o n c o s t s i n c u r r e d b y E - A S A P o p e r a t o r s. T h i s s y s t e m h a s o p e r a t e d w e l l b u t w i l l n e e d t o b e r e c o n s i d e r e d i n t h e l i g h t o f t h e r e c e n t G o o n h i l l y p r o b l e m s. Satellite Transmission Developments T o r e d u c e t r a n s m i s s i o n c o s t s E - A S A P h a s b e e n t e s t i n g t h e u s e o f G l o b a l s t a r a n d a n a l t e r n a t i v e t o I n m a r s a t c o m m u n i c a t i o n s.

9 Shipping trends There have been major mergers between container shipping companies since SOT III resulting in significant changes to ship trading patterns. Fortunately, this has not greatly affected ships that host ASAP units. (However as new ships come on stream this often results in older ships transferring to different routes or being sold on to other companies, and this could easily happen at any time, without any real warning ). PMO Involvement It is difficult for ASAP operators to have the flexibility to respond to such changes. ASAP observations are specialised in nature and not all Port Meteorological Officers will have the necessary skills to service them. It is suggested, therefore, that there is a need to extend the training of PMO’s in major container ports to encompass routine ASAP operations Issues since SOT III

10 High resolution data BUFR code templates to match the vertical frequency of the alphanumeric TEMP code have been developed within WMO and a further template to facilitate the collection of high resolution data in real time is being developed. However the costs involved in transmitting BUFR data via satellite is a determining factor in deciding the level of data (and metadata) that can be sent. Furthermore manufacturers of sounding equipment will need to ensure that their systems can accept the high resolution BUFR template The extent to which delayed mode high resolution data (usually collected by visiting Port Met Officers) is being evaluated for quality is not clear, although it is known that this is not currently happening for E-ASAP high resolution data due to resource issues. Issues since SOT III

11 Ship Design Modern container ships are being designed with a minimum of superstructure or deck space where an ASAP container can be sighted. This highlights the need to establish close links with the major container shipping companies, and to encourage new ships to be designed and classed with possible future weather observing capacity in mind. It also suggests that the time is ripe to start reconsidering the design of ASAP units and launching systems so that they can be more easily accommodated onboard and transferred to other ships when necessary. Issues since SOT III

12 Metadata The need for a dedicated ASAP metadata database has been discussed at previous sessions of ETMC and also at SOT III, although no definite actions were agreed. Assuming there is a user requirement for the collection of ASAP metadata then it is suggested that JCOMMOPS might be considered a suitable host for maintaining an online metadata database. If such a repository for ASAP metadata were to be formally developed it would bring into question the need to maintain data in the ASAP section of the SOT annual report. However it would allow the metadata to be easily interrogated. Issues since SOT III

13 Soundings close to land  The risks of damage, or injury to third parties, caused by radiosondes falling over land has been considered in the E-ASAP TAG following concerns expressed over ascents performed while transiting the St Lawrence seaway in Canada.  This risk can be reduced by using integrated parachutes for larger balloons, while smaller balloons need the purchase and attachment of a separate parachute when doing ascents in coastal waters, or when doing test launches in port.  However, insurance premiums to cover for such risks are extremely high, particularly in North America, and as a consequence E-ASAP launches are no longer performed by participating ships when sailing close to land (< 75 nm) unless they are willing to accept the insurance risk Issues since SOT III

14 Global ASAP performance has been slightly disappointing since SOT-III and, following the loss of the WRAP ship, operations are now primarily focused on the North Atlantic and Western Pacific. The capital costs involved in establishing an ASAP unit, and the ongoing costs of consumables, are extremely high when compared to other marine observing networks and are difficult to justify, especially given the high radiosonde failure rates. Although ASAP data has been shown to be of comparable quality to that from land radiosonde stations, increased satellite and AMDAR data over oceans place a question mark over future plans to enhance ASAP operations. Whilst more targeted observations in sensitive areas where storms are originating should be encouraged this is always likely to be hampered by the variable nature of shipping movements ASAP nevertheless continues to be an important component of the World Weather Watch and it is hoped that other countries can be persuaded to initiate, or resume, their ASAP activities. ASAP Chair Report - Summary

15 The SOT IV meeting is invited to consider the report and... elect a suitable new Chairperson to progress the aims of the ASAP Panel consider whether the Panel should become a Task Team

16 JCOMMOPS Coordinator to prepare a simple static web page, accessible through JCOMMOPS and the SOT page, in coordination with the ASAP Chairperson ( ASAP Chair & JCOMMOPS Coordinator ) ASAP Brochure to be kept under review at future ASAP Panel sessions, as appropriate ( ASAP Chair & Secretariat ) E-ASAP store high resolution data, if appropriate and possible. (E-ASAP) Review of ASAP Action Items

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