Extreme Maritime Weather - Towards Safety of Life at Sea and a Sustainable Blue Economy


(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) Identifying ways to reduce the loss of life and property, damage to the environment, as well as disruptions to the economy from extreme maritime weather.

Under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, the WMO and IMO have collectively worked to reduce the risk and vulnerability of the maritime community in the event of hazardous or extreme maritime weather. Despite this longstanding partnership, there exist areas in which the WMO and IMO can close the gap in understanding between the maritime industry and the metocean community.

Topical sessions highlighted the need for educational trainings for both mariners and metocean forecasters that would increase awareness between mariners and forecasters of each community’s needs and operational constraints. Specifically, to build a broader understanding among various stakeholders will require forecasters to have a clearer understanding of forecast-dependent maritime operations and decision making and likewise will require mariners to understand the forecasting process.

The first International Symposium on “Extreme Maritime Weather: Towards Safety of Life at Sea and a Sustainable Blue Economy” was held in London at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Headquarters from the 23rd to 25th October 2019. Jointly organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the IMO, over 200 participants from over 40 different countries attended, representing both private and public sectors, and including Ministers and Ambassadors.

This Symposium also highlighted the need to tighten connections in the value chain between the collection of metocean data, metocean data assimilation, marine weather forecasting, and the dissemination of marine forecasts and services to users and stakeholders.

It also demonstrated the value in looking to the research community to inform operational and policy and decision making, from which the results can in turn inform subsequent research priorities. Participants identified opportunities for increased metocean data collection through the extant WMO Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) programme as well as private industry (e.g.oil and gas). Participants observed that there is a need for more explicit encouragement for ships to actively participate in programmes as well as an improved understanding of how to better facilitate the onboard collection of metocean data.

Moreover, this Symposium demonstrated the need for authoritative data sources officially endorsed to increase confidence in product users and a closer look at data management and dissemination is required to promote the exchange of relevant data.

Finally, the Symposium highlighted a growing demand for marine services that communicate impact-based weather forecasts as well as ancillary support in decision making. Future efforts could include developing vessel class-specific impacts that correspond with varying marine weather conditions. Presenters also highlighted the need for improved forecast portrayal and visualization of weather impacts that would include forecast confidence and uncertainties, thereby shifting the focus of communications from what the ‘weather will be’ to instead: ‘what it will do’.

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Source: WMO



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