Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sentinels of the Sea

Mid Santa Barbara channel buoy
Photo: Collin Bronson
Weather buoys are sentinels of the sea that record and transmit data like:
  • Wave height, direction and periodicity;
  • Temperature of air and water;
  • Wind speed and direction; and
  • Barometric pressure.
Oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth's surface. Data from a constellation of 1,215 buoys are open to the scientific and maritime communities for analysis, planning, prediction and research.

Weather Buoys

Water column height from buoy station 32412 shows the rise in the ocean surface as a tsunami wave created by the disturbance of an 8.8 magnitude earthquake centered off the Chilean coast passes its location.

Water column height, 27 February 2010

Much of the data from weather buoys are loaded into short- and long-term computer models to forecast weather, monitor long-term climate trends, document sea-level rises, predict potential emergencies like tsunamis, and monitor travel conditions in shipping channels.

“and I shall watch the ferry boats, and they'll get high,
on a bluer ocean against tomorrow's sky.
and i will never grow so old again,
and i will walk and talk,
in gardens all wet with rain...”

Van Morrison