Saturday, January 10, 2009

After a duration of many years I have resumed making weather reports out at
sea. We installed the "AMVER SEAS" software on new years and though we're
not catching every synoptic hour, we do manage to send a couple of reports
every day.

For people not in the know, AMVER stands for "Automated - Mutual VEssel
Rescue system" a voluntary ship reporting system operated by the USCG.

During my last contract in the US gulf, as we were tossed around by Gustav,
Hannah and Ike I developed an abiding respect for the USCG and the NOAA. The
NOAA has an amazing website where we could get practically all the info that
I could ever need out at sea. It really is a pity that I don't have accesses
to the net this trip. But anyway, end of last year, we were contact by the
committed people at NOAA and they sent across the software along with a
couple of Hygrometers. The software is easy to use and using it, we can send
both AMVER position reports and NOAA weather reports. For people at sea who
don't have it, you can get it by downloading it from the NOAA website, or by
sending your next port details to the NOAA.

I had stopped sending weather reports because it was a pain to figure out
how many oktas of Cb clouds were between the height range of 800 to 1200
meters. And if they had been increasing or decreasing over the last
specified time interval. Though I might never seem to have much to do, I
always did feel like I had better things lined up then looking for Cb
clouds. The SEAS software rather makes it all easy by giving me 10 pictures
to choose from. For some reason, I always seem to be choosing the same
pictures for the last many days. I think I'm being followed by some clouds.

The second reason I had stopped weather reporting was simply because I
didn't think thy were relevant. I mean, who is going to look at data sent by
someone on a ship when you have weather radars, satellites and buoys giving
you live information. It simply seemed a colossal waste of time. But then it
does seem important to those good fellows at NOAA, so who am I to argue. I
just try to get these reports to them in good time. Also, I'm paying off
those two hygrometers one weather report at a time.

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