Annual report 2004

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  • The main objective of E-SURFMAR in 2004 was to formulate an overall surface marine network design for the programme, in order to improve the quality of numerical and general forecasts over Europe. A study, carried out by the Programme Manager, showed that the most suitable parameter required by WMO for NWP which cannot be provided by the space segment, is air pressure. So, an increase of the density of observations is recommended for this parameter. It could be achieved through the use of more drifting buoys and Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) in the north of 35N in the North Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Some parameters measured by satellites, such as Sea Surface Temperature (SST), wind and waves, require calibration and validation. Reliable in situ SST data are already provided by drifting buoys. An increase of the use of these buoys would contribute to improve the quality of satellite data calibration for this parameter. For wind and waves, the E-SURFMAR design study recommends the use of four existing moored buoys which would be upgraded to provide directional wave spectra and 10-minutes wind data, and possibly re-located in more suitable positions.
  • The transition of responsibilities from the European Group on Ocean Stations (EGOS) to E-SURFMAR for data buoys has been carefully prepared. In December, the EUMETNET Council accepted the proposition of Meteo-France to take over the management of this component of the programme after December 31st, 2004. A Data Buoy Manager has been appointed. This latest will be helped in his task by a Data Buoy Technical Advisory Group (DB-TAG) which will meet for the first time in Geneva in mid-January 2005.
  • By the end of December 2004, about 50 drifting buoys managed by EGOS was operating in the North Atlantic (see histogram). Most of them (86%) were SVP-B drifters. At least, they measure the mean sea level pressure, the barometric tendency over the past three hours, the sea surface temperature and the surface current. Three out of them provide wind direction and wind speed estimates through a submarine acoustic technique. The mean lifetime of these buoys is around 12 months. The E-SURFMAR design study recommends to deploy an average of 175 buoys of that kind per year.
  • The second meeting of the VOS Technical Advisory Group (VOS-TAG) of E-SURFMAR was held in Toulouse in June. The group expressed again its concern about the data communication costs which are too high. A few ways are studied in order to reduce them. The compression of reports sent through Inmarsat and/or a better use of the Meteosat DCP transmission are the main ones.
  • The automation of the observation aboard ships is another important issue for E-SURFMAR. The BATOS system developed by Meteo-France was presented at the VOS-TAG meeting. By the end of 2004, Meteo-France operates 30 AWS stations of that kind. Efforts are carried out to make this station the EUCOS shipborne AWS. E-SURFMAR plans to purchase 3 BATOS stations in 2004, then five every years if possible.
  • 2005 will be the first year of the programme implementation.