|June 29, 2011||Share this article|
Unique three-way partnership yields new ocean-monitoring buoy
This photograph shows the new MBARI / NDBC / CeNCOOS buoy floating in the open ocean about 30 miles west of Monterey Bay. The yellow float is about two meters (six feet) across.
In 1987, the NDBC installed a deep-water buoy ("buoy 46042") about 30 miles west of Monterey Bay. The buoy was designed to support National Weather Service forecasts and warnings, as well as weather and climate modeling.
In 1989, MBARI installed a scientific monitoring buoy called "M2" about six miles south of the NDBC buoy. M2 was deployed close to the NDBC buoy on the assumption that ship captains were already avoiding the NDBC buoy. M2 was designed to monitor changes in the physics and biogeochemistry of the upper ocean from the surface to 300 meters depth.
This illustration shows the locations of the existing MBARI and NDBC buoys, along with the recently installed hybrid buoy, which may eventually replace them.
In early 2011 MBARI and the NDBC signed a five-year memorandum of agreement to build, deploy, and test a new buoy that carries instruments similar to those on both 46042 and M2. NDBC provided the buoy and mooring, as well as a standard set of weather-buoy sensors to measure wind speed and direction, air temperature and relative humidity, waves, currents, and ocean temperature and salinity at various depths. MBARI provided instruments to measure chlorophyll (an indicator of algal blooms), suspended particles, pH, dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrate (a "fertilizer" for algal blooms).
On May 26, 2011, the new buoy (designated "buoy 46044") was deployed by NDBC just east of the two existing buoys. Real-time data from the new buoy are available on the websites of CeNCOOS, the NDBC, and MBARI.
If it passes its six-month field test, the new buoy will join the NDBC network of over 90 data-collection yellow buoys, many of which are shown as yellow dots on this map.
After about six months, if the data from the new buoy look good, the two existing buoys may be removed, and buoy 46044 would officially take their place in NDBC's network of 90 data-collecting buoys. If there is support and interest from other ocean-observing organizations around the country, similar arrays of instruments could potentially be added to other NDBC monitoring sites. This would provide a wealth of new information on ocean conditions around the United States.
For more information on this article, please contact Kim Fulton-Bennett:
(831) 775-1835, firstname.lastname@example.org