Invasion of the AMOUK observations

I download tens of thousands of land and sea observations each day in the form of SYNOPs from OGIMET. I’ve noticed that in the last few months (and perhaps much longer) UK coastal waters seem to have been invaded by dozens of observations with the callsign starting AMOUK, I say dozens but at 06 UTC this morning there were precisely 43 of them. Most of them just report an hourly air temperature, dewpoint and sea level pressure, why this is limited to just those three parameters and doesn’t include wind, wave and SST data beats me. It maybe of course that they do, but is lost in the conversion from BUFR to plain text at OGIMET. The quality of the data looks reasonable enough but there are a number of dodgy pressure sensors amongst them.

Who set up all these AWS on a boat is a bit of a mystery, and what useful information they provide is debatable. They could have been installed by the Met Office, although why they’ve only installed them on boats that don’t venture further afield is a mystery. Gone are the days (thanks to piracy) when you could track the progress of the QE2 (GBTT?) through a series of excellent observation as she made her way across the Atlantic from New York. If this initiative is being led by the Met Office, I would have thought the money would have been better spent installing AWS (something like a Vaisala WXT520) on land at the centre of each of our major towns and cities to bolster up and maybe fill a few of the big gaps in our observational network?

If you know anything that can throw some light on who set up this growing list of AMOUK ships please let me know.

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