Contact: Theresa Eisenman
NOAA News Releases 2005
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The NOAA National Data Buoy Center launched six new weather data buoy stations designed to enhance hurricane monitoring and forecasting. The buoys have been deployed in key locations in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The center also deployed a seventh buoy off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., re-establishing a former station.

Following last year’s active hurricane season, the National Data Buoy Center, part of the NOAA National Weather Service, received $1.8 million in supplemental funding from Congress for the new buoy stations.

“These new buoys are a critical element in enhancing our abilities and an important step in NOAA’s commitment with our international partners to improve our ability to observe the ocean and overlying atmosphere,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We need every tool possible to track these storms in order to protect lives and property.”

NOAA predicts 12-15 tropical storms for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, with seven to nine of those becoming hurricanes and three to five developing into major hurricanes.

Wind, wave, barometric pressure and temperature data from the new stations will help the NOAA Tropical Prediction Center more accurately determine formation or dissipation, extent of wind circulation, maximum intensity and center location of the tropical cyclones. In addition, direction, height and distribution of ocean waves generated by hurricane activity will be measured. Beyond their measurements of tropical cyclones, the buoys are also expected to provide year-round data for analysis and forecasts of other marine disturbances. Data from the buoys, some as large as 12-meters wide, will also be used to validate the quality of measurements and estimates obtained from remote-sensing reconnaissance aircraft and satellites, and National Weather Service forecasts.

“Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center, and the international meteorological community we serve, have for years dreamed of the day when in-situ observations would be available from these vast, data sparse waters,” said National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield. “These instruments will help make better analyses and forecasts of hurricanes and other tropical weather and ocean events — and indeed paid early dividends last week in Tropical Storm Arlene — by helping us identify the early stages of its formation, and characterizing the storm’s wind field, surface pressure and wave heights.”

The NOAA National Data Buoy Center is located at Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The NOAA National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NOAA National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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