The Meteorological Station or the «Met» is located 3 km. north of Olonkin City. There are currently 4 people working at the Met: the chief met officer, a technician and two met officers. Below follows a short introduction to the history and activities at one of Norway’s most remote meteorological stations.
The most important part of a regular day at the «Met» is the release of radiosondes twice a day. Jan Mayen is one of only X stations that release weather balloons in Norway, and every radiosonde provides valuable information about temperature, pressure, wind speed, wind direction and humidity from the surfrace and to about 30 km up in the atmosphere. The balloon itself is filled with hydrogen, and under ideal conditions it ascends with a speed of approximately 5 meters a second. The diameter when the balloon is released is slightly over 1 meter, but as the hydrogen expands under the pressure decrease upwards in the atmosphere, it can be up to 10 meters wide before it bursts.
The word «synoptic», derived from the Greek «synopsesthai», means to «view together» or «at the same time». In meteorological context, the term refers to the use of weather observations made at the same time at a large number of stations. When the met staff at Jan Mayen performs so called synop observations six times a day, these include wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humiditiy, pressure, cloud amount, cloud height, cloud types, precipitation level and more. The observations are written down in a special synop code which is then sent to the main office of the Norwegian Meteorogical Insitute. The «synops» are important in order to create reliable weather forcasts at the mainland, as a major part of the low pressure systems passes Jan Mayen first and observations here can contribute with valuable information on the weather to come.
06.00 UTC – Synop
09.00 UTC – Synop
10.35 UTC – Reading of weather report on the radio
11.15 UTC – Launch of weather balloon with sonde
12.00 UTC – Synop
15.00 UTC – Synop
18.00 UTC – Synop
22.35 UTC – Reading of weather report on the radio
23.15 UTC – Launch of weather balloon with sonde
00.00 UTC – Synop
00.30 UTC – Approximate time that the balloon bursts. Go to sleep.
The Norwegian Meteorological Institute has been observing the weather on Jan Mayen since 1921. Back then the station (which is now called Eldstemetten or «The Oldest Met») was located in the Jameson bay, east of Eggøya. This station was burnt down and evacuated when the war started, but people was back already the following year to resume the measurements.
Later a new station (now called Gamlemetten or «The Old Met») was built on what was later to be called the Liberg plain, after young Aksel Liberg who in 1950 died some 100 meters from the house when performing a weather observation in severe storm. Gamlemetten was used until 1962, when Olonkin City was rised to house the LORAN workers. A new meteorological station was then built 3 kilometres north of Olonkin, and this is what Jan Mayeners today refer to as Metten or «the Met».