Drifting weather buoys to start collecting meteorological data in Russian Arctic seas by 2024

Drifting weather buoys to start collecting meteorological data in Russian Arctic seas by 2024

In the next 12 months, Russia will deploy a network of high-precision weather buoys and meteorological stations in the high-seas and coastal sections of its Arctic zone.

“We will set up an observation system using drifting weather buoys. These are special devices that we will deploy in preset areas of the Arctic Ocean. They will relay basic oceanographic data on drifting sea-ice formations, water and air temperatures, atmospheric pressure, salinity levels, the thickness of snow and ice layers, etc. This data is vital for our weather forecasts,” Alexander Makarov, director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute , told journalists.

There are plans to install modern drifting and stationary Russian-made measuring devices in all Russian Arctic seas, including along the Northern Sea Route’s shipping lanes, by early 2024.

According to Makarov, seven drifting weather buoys have already been installed. They transmit data to the World Snow and Ice Data Center every hour via communications satellites. The data is processed and relayed to the database of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet).

Russia will deploy an additional 42 weather stations in its Arctic zone throughout 2023. In general this network is to be upgraded until 2035.

“We will mostly upgrade eastern Arctic weather stations, including the remotest high-seas sectors and islands. This sector is crucial for expanding year-round navigation via the Northern Sea Route,” Makarov noted.  

The deployment of drifting and stationary stations will make it possible to monitor the region’s ice and meteorological parameters every hour; this will facilitate more accurate weather forecasts for safer navigation.

“Rapid data transmission will help check online ship routes and provide highly accurate digital forecasts for future navigation,” Makarov said. The meteorological network will provide additional opportunities for research projects, he added.