How our ships help with creating weather forecasts

Hapag-Lloyd has been participating in the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Scheme of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for several years now. With our fleet under German flag, we continuously report weather observations at sea to Germany’s DWD meteorological service. But how does this work in practice? And what is the data used for?

Shipping companies participating in the WMO’s VOS programme report maritime weather observations to national meteorological observation services. Germany’s national meteorological service is known as the Deutsche Wetterdienst, or DWD. To make this possible, our ships under German flag are outfitted with the necessary measuring equipment, such as a barometer and a laptop, when they change flag. On board the ship, the officer of the watch carries out a weather observation every six hours. Several types of data are recorded, such as the height of the waves, the amount of clouds, and the cloud type and height of base. It goes without saying that this is only possible if the trade route and weather conditions are permitting.

The collected data is then transmitted via satellite to the DWD, which uses it to make weather forecasts and compile statistics. The data even flows into computer models on developments related to climate change.
The WMO has now awarded us with a certificate of recognition to thank us for our German-flagged fleet’s many years of participation in the programme as well as for the several thousand meteorological observations that our officers have recorded in this period of time. These represent an important cornerstone of global weather observation.

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