Annual report 2005

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  • The implementation of the network, designed in 2004, began in 2005 by the integration of the European drifting buoys activities. This component is actually the most efficient to increase the number of air pressure measurements at the sea surface to improve the numerical weather prediction (NWP) over Europe.
  • Since 2005, drifting buoys, primarily provided by some European National Meteorological Services (NMSs) on a voluntarily basis, have been funded by the programme. In addition, a collaboration with NOAA/AOML started in 2005, allowing E-SURFMAR to upgrade 20 oceanographic buoys with barometers. These buoys were deployed in the North Atlantic. Thirty new upgraded buoys will be deployed in 2006.
  • In 2005, the E-SURFMAR programme delivered about 437,000 hourly observations of air pressure, barometric tendency, sea surface temperature and current velocity from an average of 53 buoys drifting in the North Atlantic or in the Mediterranean Sea, including those upgraded. Communication costs for E-SURFMAR drifting buoys will be fully borne by the programme in 2006.
  • In 2004, the E-SURFMAR design study recommended the use of four existing moored buoys to provide directional wave spectra and 10-minutes wind data. These buoys are K5, M1, Lion and Cabo Silleiro. Since 2005, compensations have been paid by E-SURFMAR to the NMSs who operate these four buoys. Upgrades - and possible re-location for one of them (M1) - are requested.
  • The VOS activity of EUMETNET members is another component of E-SURFMAR. Since 2005, VOS observations and communication costs have been partially compensated by the programme. The deployment of Automated Weather Stations (AWS) aboard ships and the reduction of the data communication costs are two essential works carried out within the programme. Three AWS systems funded by E-SURFMAR in 2005, will be installed on ships by the beginning of 2006 and the compression of data transmitted through Inmarsat-C by such systems is about to be implemented.
  • About 287,000 observations carried out by EUMETNET VOS were transmitted onto the GTS in 2005 (i.e. 7% more than in 2004). Out of these, 57% were reported by ships equipped with an AWS.
  • Air pressure measurements from all the components are carefully controlled. Although the quality of manned VOS is still weaker than for data buoys, the quality of VOS observations in general will increase in the future due to their automation.