The objective

The main objective of the Surface Marine Operational Service is to coordinate, optimise and progressively integrate European activities for surface observations over the sea in support of Numerical Weather Predictions.

The requirements

To formulate an optimum overall surface marine network design, to implement it and to regularly revise it according to data user's requirements. The first design study (2004) led to:

  • an operational network of about 100 drifting buoys measuring air pressure and sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic and which make their data available in real time onto the Global Telecommunication System of WMO.
  • The financial and technical support for the operation of 4 moored buoys as a baseline for the calibration and the validation of satellite-derived wind and wave observations.
  • the support of the activities of Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) in order to better coordinate and harmonise practices. This support includes compensation to participating members for the observations and the communications related to this component.
  • both the operation of an increasing fleet of Shipborne Automated Weather Stations (S-AWS) in support of the network design and, in parallel, the automation of the observation aboard ships through the development of such stations.

Air pressure observations over the sea surface in November 2013:
conventional VOS (blue dots), shipborne AWS (green dots), drifting buoys (red dots) and moored buoys (black dots)

The tasks

  • to arrange the delivery of drifting buoys in a few suitable locations and to coordinate their deployments thanks to VOS.
  • to manage the share of compensation among participating members according to their activities in surface marine observations.
  • to evaluate and apply a new cost effective communication system to S-AWS stations and to drifting buoys as and when necessary.
  • to find savings in communication costs for conventional VOS ships not equipped with S-AWS.
  • to manage the installation of S-AWS aboard E-ASAP ships and ships plying in the Mediterranean Sea and to operate them.
  • to facilitate the exchanges of technical information between participant and, in particular, to prepare a call for tender for the procurement of S-AWS with common specifications.
  • to monitor the availability, timeliness and quality of the data produced by each component of the programme and to take appropriate measures to correct the problems.
  • to work closely with several task teams from the two international organisations involved in surface marine observations: JCOMM Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP) and Ship Observations Team (SOT).

The organisation

The current phase of E-SURFMAR will last until the end of 2017. The Coordinating Member for this Operational Service is Météo-France and its Manager is Mr Pierre Blouch. 

Current participants

By the end of 2013, the current participants were:

1. RMI (Belgium) 11. MeteoLux (Luxembourg)
2. DHMZ (Croatia) 12. KNMI (Netherlands)
3. DMI (Denmark) 13. Met.no (Norway)
4. FMI (Finland) 14. IMPA (Portugal)
5. Meteo France (France) 15. RHMMS (Serbia)
6. DWD (Germany) 16. AEMet (Spain)
7. HNMS (Greece) 17. SMHI (Sweden)
8. IMO (Iceland) 18. MeteoSwiss (Switzerland)
9. Met Eireann (Ireland) 19. UKMO (United Kingdom)
10. USAM (Italy)  


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