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Sofar Ocean

US - The Forecast for Weather-Spotting Technology

The upcoming UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) should herald an increase in marine exploration, aiming to better understand our oceans to reverse the declining health of ecosystems.

The upcoming UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) should herald an increase in marine exploration, aiming to better understand our oceans to reverse the declining health of ecosystems. Heightened knowledge about these waters means a stronger, more effective commitment to even further exploration and to mitigating the impact of weather systems on coastal communities and marine ecosystems.

Weather spotting and its related technologies are not a new industry, nor do they lack in notable achievements. Since the late 1800s, various strategies, including at-sea observations, buoys, satellites, and statistical and modeling predictions have been used to better identify and comprehend weather patterns, both short and long term. However, today we strive for quicker, more accurate and more detailed data for increasingly effective models. To do that, though, we must continue exploring ocean-atmosphere dynamics, which inevitably requires more observational data. Like our struggles with understanding the deep sea, our arsenal lacks data, which is often costly, time intensive and difficult to collect. One group, however, is pushing to change this norm by connecting the world’s oceans together.

Sofar Ocean, a San Francisco-based creator of marine instruments for data collection and weather forecasting, is determined to increase the collection of and access to ocean data, as well as provide critical insights to scientists, communities and industries around the world. Its Spotter technology, designed to autonomously collect data on waves, wind and water temperature, as well as their Smart Mooring, a modular, real-time monitoring platform, play important roles in ameliorating the current shortage of information needed to address the health of our oceans. “We set out to deploy a global distributed sensor network of live weather sensors, driving real-time ocean weather data into models for better forecasts and situational awareness…we can now improve ocean wave forecasts by more than 30%,” said CEO Tim Janssen. This is only the start, he added; by the end of the year, global coverage will be achieved with more than 2,000 live sensors at any given time.

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