An Unwelcome Legacy

Stephen Askins muses on one of the sad legacies of piracy over the past few years; the dearth of reliable, updated weather data from the Indian Ocean

Weather windows – an unwelcome legacy of Piracy

Harvesting, around where I live, has been taking place well into the night and local weather reports are geared to advising farmers of the weather windows so that crops are cut at just the right time. While the weather men may get some stick for their ability to predict BBQ summers and mild winters, most of us take for granted the fact that meteorologists have vast amounts of data to feed into their computers so that the modelling has a chance to make accurate predictions. I have more than a fair chance of knowing if I will need an umbrella on my commute to work.

One of the sad legacies of piracy over the past few years is a dearth of similar data from the Indian Ocean. The early pirate attacks on anything afloat meant that key scientific vessels could no longer be committed, and with them went the chance to measure a whole host of scientific, weather and climate measurements. None were more important than the strength and direction of winds which are critical to gauge the timing of rains so vital to the farmers of Africa and India. Millions of lives have and will be affected. An unwanted and unintended consequence of piracy may be that it will make feeding the local population more difficult without yet more foreign aid.

I suppose the irony is that the pirates themselves have no accurate weather forecasts on which they can rely. This means that if they ever do find the will to return to the easterly parts of the Indian Ocean they won’t know what weather they are likely to expect. Let’s hope it catches them out.

Source: Ince & Co.


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