NDBC's Observations in the Coastal Zone

by David B. Gilhousen, Natl Data Buoy Cent, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) has been collecting data from coastal buoys since 1979. Measurements, taken each hour, include wind direction, wind speed, significant wave height, dominant wave period, wave spectra, sea level pressure, air temperature, and sea surface temperature. Currently, about 17 of these buoys are moored within 25 miles of either the East Coast, the West Coast, or the Gulf of Mexico. Several buoys also measure directional wave data. Starting in 1982, Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations were installed on offshore platforms, lighthouses, piers, and beaches. In addition, several U.S. Coast Guard Large Navigational Buoys (LNB's) were equipped with NDBC sensors. Currently, 46 non-buoy and 7 LNB stations report winds, pressures, and air temperatures. All LNB's report wave data, and several other stations report wave and water level information. Buoy and C-MAN observations have been used to study a variety of coastal problems such as beach erosion, the movement of oil spills, and the propagation of red tide. Maps showing past, present, and planned buoy and C-MAN locations will be presented. Photographs of buoys and instrumentation will be displayed. Computer graphics showing storm data, directional wave data, and station climatoglogies will be presented. Pamphlets will be available that provide information on how to obtain archived and real-time data. Scientific articles will also be available that discuss the accuracy of measurements obtained through field evaluations.

Subject Headings: Wave measurement | Wind pressure | Air temperature | Temperature measurement | Coastal environment | Wind speed | Wind direction | Tides | Gulf of Mexico

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