Applied Satellite Technology Systems UK, part of the AST Group of companies, is proud to work with Met Office Marine Systems to transmit vital measurements from their Marine Automatic Weather Stations (MAWS) via Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD). The Iridium SBD service allows users to track, monitor and exchange data with remote assets, which are often deployed across multiple countries and continents beyond the range of terrestrial wireless connections.
With Iridium SBD, it is possible to integrate mobile assets into resource planning and logistic management systems, using compact equipment and a single communication carrier.
Since the early 1980s, Met Office Marine Systems has operated a network of MAWS around the UK on moored buoys, light vessels and remote islands. Observations from the network, particularly the moored buoys to the west of the British Isles, provide early warning of severe weather conditions. Each moored buoy system measures air pressure, air and sea temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and wave height and period, with detailed spectral wave data from selected sites. All stations transmit their observations hourly, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The data from these systems is primarily used by forecasters to monitor developing weather conditions for early warning of severe weather conditions and, with time series extending for over 25 years, are increasingly important for characterising the marine climate. The data also provides ground truth for satellite calibration/ validation and are incorporated into Numerical Weather Prediction models which are used to produce forecasts for all sectors including defence, transport, oil & gas, renewables, sports and entertainment events as well as daily television and radio forecasts.
The normal moored data buoys are replaced every two years, with an interim annual servicing visit. Scheduled visits are usually made between late spring and early autumn when weather conditions are most suitable.
Met Office Marine Systems are introducing newly designed moored buoy systems across the network with the aim of extending the time between servicing and replacement visits.
These long servicing intervals in such remote locations means that the reliability of the components, especially communications is vital. Various methods of data transmission have been tried, but the blend of reliability, cost, low power consumption and flexibility the Iridium SBD service provides has proved to be the best.
Met Office Marine Systems have over 100 modems across the permanent stations already described, as well as on merchant and scientific research vessels operating from the Arctic to Antarctic. These vessels require the uninterrupted global coverage that Iridium provides.
The latest observations from the fixed marine and coastal stations are available on the Met Office website: www.metoffice.gov.uk.