|The Bermuda Weather Service, operated on behalf of the Government of Bermuda, by Serco
Aviation Services, provides meterological observations and forecasts as support for
operations at the Bermuda International Airport, for the general use of the Bermuda
public, for local marine interests, and yachtsmen voyaging to and from the U.S.
coast, Caribbean and trans-Atlantic.
Be sure to visit our www.weather.bm site for a 5-day Bermuda weather forecast and information on marine conditions, as well a number of interesting graphs and charts which mariners may find useful.
BWS is presently staffed by six Meteorological Technicians and six Forecasters with two Bermudian Forecasters under training. The service was founded in 1995 and is located on the former U.S. Navy Baselands, on Southside, St. David's. The office is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with one Forecaster and one Technician on duty. The Meteorological Technicians make hourly weather observations, with special observations made for sudden changes, or significant events. The use of automated sensors and equipment is employed for the measurement of weather parameters, such as temperature, wind speed and direction, and amount of precipitation. Upper air temperatures, humidities and winds are measured and recorded first thing every morning using a weather balloon. An attached device, called a radiosonde, transmits data back to the weather station's receiver as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. The data is plotted on a special graph, called a Tephigram, enabling the Forecaster to estimate such things as the amount and type of clouds, the possibilities of rain, showers or thunderstorms, as well as guidance on surface winds and temperatures. More than one weather balloon is launched daily during Hurricane Season (June - November). All surface and upper air observational data is immediately transmitted to the U.S. National Weather Service for global distribution.
Bermuda is an isolated spot, surrounded by thousands of square miles of ocean. Ship weather reports in this area are naturally very sparse, therefore, it is most important that all available data is carefully studied in order to keep abreast of weather developments. The Forecaster utilizes several items of equipment, largely computer-based, to produce the marine and public forecasts, as well as specialized products, such as marine charts for yachts travelling to or from Bermuda, and upper-air forecasts, used by aircraft pilots. BWS receives extensive observational data via satellite which is analysed by the Forecaster. The Internet has become a useful tool for finding current observations from the eastern U.S. and Canada, in addition to shipping reports and long term forecasts based on computer models produced in Europe and North America. Captured data from Geostationary Operational Everonmental Satellites (GOES) is downloaded every 15 minutes, stored, animated with graphics software and displayed as moving images of clouds, temperature, moisture and other parameters on computer monitors.
Another very useful tool for short-term forecasting is the weather radar. The analysis of information from all of the sources gives the Forecaster an accurate assessment of the current weather conditions and a good insight as to what the weather is going to do next. A record of weather data as far back as 1949 is kept and updated daily for research and averaging purposes. It is also used for answering the numerous queries we receive on past weather from the public and industrial concerns. It is also useful to have and maintain such a database so that the Technicians and Forecasters may search it to determine the shift of weather patterns from year to year and keep a track of records which has been set. Data has been collected from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the U.S. Navy. Auxiliary current observations are also taken from automatic and manned stations maintained by other organizations in various locations throughout the island. Weather information is disseminated to the public via recorded telephone messages, fax, the Internet and local cable Channel 11. Bermuda's radio and television stations also broadcast forecasts and current conditions. Severe weather warnings, such as gales and hurricanes, are also issued through the same media.
It is very important that Bermuda has a meterological station such as the Bermuda Weather Station because the only other source of weather observations and forecasts are ships which may be in the area at the time. For airplane pilots and mariners, BWS serves as a helpful, consistant reference source for mid-Atlantic weather information where there are no others. Because of the location of Bermuda, hurricanes become a major issue for concern. BWS works in conjunction with the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the Bermuda Emergency Measures Organization and other organizations to aid in the understanding and tracking of North Atlantic tropical disturbances. For aviators, mariners and Bermudians especially, the Bermuda Weather Service acts not only as a helpful place where one can answer the question, "Is it going to rain today?" but also as a vital resource for updates during hurricane season.
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