Maersk Releases All its Weather Data Into the Public Domain

File image courtesy Maersk

Published Jan 27, 2022 6:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

Number-two ocean carrier Maersk has announced that it is releasing all past and future weather data collected by its ships into the public domain, allowing the scientific community to use it for free. The data has been collected by Maersk vessels since 2012, and the release increases publicly available ocean weather data by 28 percent, according to Maersk. 

The line's goal is to help climate research and weather forecasts by providing scientists with an abundance of weather data from the world’s oceans, where ground level data coverage is limited. Most current data comes from satellite observations and from metocean buoys, which both have some limitations. According to Maersk, the long series of observations will give climate scientists a better picture of how surface-level ocean conditions have changed over the past 10 years.

The data – more than 9 million individual observations – will be shared via the Global Ocean Observing System, run jointly by UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization. The data set will expand constantly thanks to 7,000 daily observations collected by Maersk's 300 owned vessels. 

In collaboration with the National Meteorological Service of Germany, Maersk has installed automated weather stations on several of these vessels - calibrated, research-grade measurement stations that collect high-quality data on a larger number of parameters. 

"Climate change is without doubt one of the biggest challenges the global community is facing, and we have set an ambitious strategy for our business to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2040, but we have also as a part of our ESG strategy committed ourselves to contribute to climate and ocean science with data gathered from our vessels. An opportunity being our digitized weather observations," said Aslak Ross, Head of Marine Standards at Maersk.

The data release was welcomed by researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. "As a member of the scientific community, I am thrilled that we get access to this unique data set. The data will help to better constrain past ocean surface conditions but also help to improve future predictions - from weather to climate," said Dr. Johannes Karstensen, a physical oceanographer at the Helmholtz Centre.