Labrador Sea Weather Forecasts – Meet our Meteorologist and Weather Technician aboard the RV Meteor

Julia (left) and Andreas (right) in their office.

By Anne-Sophie Fortin

Every day aboard starts with looking up the weather forecast from our favourite meteorologist aboard: Julia Wenzel. Her forecasts are central to the planning of our day-to-day operations on the ship. While on land we may be more interested in whether a day will be sunny or rainy, here at sea we are more interested in the wind direction, speed, and wave height. Storms such as the current hurricane “Danielle” and the low-pressure system over Western Europe are also of interest even if they are far away as the swell propagates hundreds of kilometres away from these weather systems.

Forecast of significant wave height (colours, in meters) and the wind strength and direction (arrows). The approximate position of the vessel is indicated by the boat icon. The hurricane “Danielle” (lower left) and low-pressure system (lower right) produce high waves locally.

Our weather technician Andreas Raeke, on the other hand, takes care of all the meteorological instruments (e.g., wind, temperature, humidity) and the weather observations (clouds, visibility, precipitation, waves) aboard the research vessel. The data collected on board is transmitted to a global database by satellites and assimilated into weather models which increases the accuracy of the forecast. Additionally, Andreas launches every morning a weather balloon, which measures the atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind speed as it takes in altitude.

Weather balloon launch. Video: Andreas Raeke.

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