The Port Meteorological Officer (PMO) is a representative of the national meteorological service (NMS) and is the primary contact with local maritime authorities and the maritime community at large. The position is important because it contributes directly to the effectiveness and efficiency of the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) scheme.
Without the dedication and enthusiasm of the PMO to maintain an active national VOS Fleet, the quality and quantity of recorded and reported meteorological and oceanographic data from ships would be adversely affected. This has serious implications for national meteorological services that;
- Provide an operational marine forecasting and warning service;
- Undertake climate monitoring and research; and
- Supply data to end users.
» Location of the PMO
The PMO office should preferably be located at the main port. This provides the opportunity for more visits to voluntary weather observing ships and quicker access to replace equipment and instruments if necessary.
An office at the port will help to facilitate close contact with marine authorities and shipping companies, as well as passing ships' officers and crew. It also provides increased opportunities to recruit ships into the national VOS Fleet.
» Functions of the PMO
The specific functions provided by the PMO are dependent on the area or the port being serviced and the type and volume of marine traffic. The complete range of PMO functions are:
- To maintain a national VOS fleet by;
- Recruiting ships of any nationality (if not already recruited by another NMHS) to take, record and transmit weather observations whilst at sea; and
- De-recruiting ships as deemed necessary.
- To maintain accurate records of the ships recruited into the national VOS fleet, including:
- Full ship details, as per the WIGOS Metadata requirements;
- All instrumentation supplied and recovered; and
- All instrument checks and calibrations dates.
- To regularly visit ships recruited into the national VOS fleet to:
- Maintain contact with the Observers;
- Provide ongoing training to Observers;
- Maintain and inspect the meteorological and selected oceanographic instruments;
- Check the presence and condition of supplied handbooks, meteorological tables and charts;
- Maintain the ship's supply of autographic charts, muslin, wicks and other mandatory consumables;
- Recover electronic logbook data.
- At the request of another PMO or the Master of a ship, use reasonable endeavours to provide the following services, regardless of the ship's nationality and country of recruitment:
- Perform a barometer check;
- Check instructions for Observers;
- Provide advice on bulletins, including a list of areas for which forecasts are issued and to update the relevant facsimile broadcast schedules.
- Check the meteorological and selected oceanographic instruments; and
- Provide advice or assistance on meteorological matters.
- Recover instruments for return to the country of recruitment.
- Promote and maintain liaison with:
- National Meteorological Service (NMS);
- Neighbouring PMOs;
- Harbour authorities and shipping companies; and
- Merchant marine schools and yacht clubs.
- Enquire about problems that may be experienced with:
- The transmission of meteorological and oceanographic observations to a Land Earth Stations or other communications facility.
- The reception and adequacy of forecasts, bulletins and facsimile broadcasts, and to bring this information to the attention of the national meteorological service.
- To support complementary national, regional and international marine meteorological and oceanographic programs:
» Work Regime
With a large number of VOS operating on worldwide trade, it is important that all PMOs work to common standards. This ensures that ship visits, including equipment performance checks and observing instructions, are internationally consistent regardless of which PMO undertakes the visit.
To promote common standards, the VOSP arranges International PMO Conferences in conjunction with WMO, and has assembled a range of forms, tools, promotional and reference material to assist PMOs to perform their work. These include:
- Best Practice Guides;
- National Observing Practices;
- Forms & Tools;
- VOS Monitoring Tools; and
- Brochures & Pamphlets.