The global surface temperature workshop hosted at the Met Office continues to generate media interest. Discovery News reports on providing climate data for the masses. You can read more about the conference and watch an introductory video on the aims of the workshop in an earlier post. Other related articles include Temperature records to be made public (telegraph.co.uk), Making climate data free for all (nature.com) and You: Google may aid global climate project (guardian.co.uk).
In a feature on MoD news website, SOLDIER magazine reports Weather experts keep the Armed Forces one step ahead. In the article Ian Matthews of the Met Office and Operations Officer of the Joint Operational Meteorology and Oceanography Centre (JOMOC) which provides information about current and future environmental conditions. explains “Weather can have a massive impact on operations, large-scale missions can be delayed or brought forward depending on what the weather window is like and what impact it will have on things like aviation support. That knowledge gives commanders a big military advantage.”
JOMOC is staffed with a mix of Met Office weather forecasters and Royal Navy weather forecasters and oceanographers, who work together to make sure that our armed forces across all services and in whatever location they may be have access to some of the best weather, climate and oceanographic information in the world.
Land forecaster Squadron Leader Bruce Sherratt, a professional meteorologist from the Met Office, serving with the RAF Reserves, has deployed to theatre for three five-month periods, each time working closely with the International Security Assistance Force’s aviation assets.
The officer said that although helicopter and fast jet pilots have always relied on accurate weather information, those in charge of the mission’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more aware of how the atmosphere affects them:
“Everywhere I have been, meteorology has been one of the biggest factors and I think it should be treated as an intelligence asset. When you are planning a battle and have a million things to think about, one person who knows about meteorology can provide some really important information. I think we can add enormously to the mission. Yes, we can tell you about the weather, but our information can also give you an idea about what the enemy might be planning to do and that can be used to your advantage. For UAVs, not having cover can put missions in jeopardy because the troops on the ground are operating in a dangerous environment.”