How to find historical weather for maritime, sea and ocean locations

Maritime weather data covering many of the world’s oceans and seas is available in Visual Crossing Weather Data Services for viewing, downloading and accessing via the Weather API. This article discusses the available data and the variables that are unique to maritime data.

white ice on body of water

Available maritime weather data

Maritime weather data in Visual Crossing Weather is sourced from a variety of sea and ocean based weather observing stations. Typically these stations are located on buoys, oil platforms and other moored locations throughout the oceans.

The locations for the weather stations are chosen to match areas of high maritime vessel traffic or maritime activities such as offshore drilling and wind farms. There is therefore a high concentration of station data in the Gulf of Mexico, Western Europe in the North Sea, English Channel and Irish Sea and the Pacific Ocean near land masses. Maritime weather stations are also located in large bodies of freshwater such as the Great Lakes of North America.

In addition, there are additional stations located in areas of meteorological interest. For example, there are many stations in the tropical locations near the equator to assist in tropical weather forecasting and recording for hurricanes, cyclones and other tropical storms.

The data is collected by the National Data Buoy Center and typically includes approximately 1000 recently updated weather stations around the globe. The stations themselves can be operated by many organizations including government weather organizations and services, universities and colleges and private companies who are operating ocean and sea-based equipment and facilities.

Available weather data variables

Maritime weather are typically fully automated weather stations that normally record observations hourly. Some weather stations may record data more frequently (up to three times an hour). In addition, some weather stations record data less often – either every three or six hours.

As the stations are fully independent which do not require maintenance, they measure the core weather variables of temperature, dew point, wind speed and direction, wind gust, sea level pressure and precipitation amounts. Some stations will also include visibility and cloud coverage.

Wave heights and direction

Some of the sea and ocean based maritime weather stations report additional, maritime-specific data including information about the wave height, wave direction and tidal information. This information isn’t currently available in the normal subscriptions of Visual Crossing Weather – if you would like to include these results in your data, please contact us.

How to access the maritime weather history data

Historical Maritime weather data is available within the standard Visual Crossing Weather History database. Maritime weather stations will be used whenever the query location would include maritime data as a part of the station search radius. No special query criteria are required to include maritime weather station data in the result.

The result of this is you may see maritime weather stations used for land based locations that are near to the coast. In addition, if you request weather data for near-shore maritime locations, land based stations may be used in addition to nearby maritime stations.

As most ocean and sea based locations will not have a regular address, it will be necessary to use latitude,longitude as the location of maritime locations.

Maritime weather forecast data

Our 15-day weather forecast is a truly global weather forecast and includes both land and ocean and sea based locations. Simply request the location by latitude,longitude to retrieve maritime weather forecast data.

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