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NOAA News Releases 2005
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Two weather data buoy stations slated for removal from service at the end of the year will remain operational for another one to two additional years. NOAA’s Ocean Service is providing $160,000 for the continued operation of the National Data Buoy Center stations located off the California coast, near Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands. The National Data Buoy Center is part of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Buoys 46023 (near Point Arguellos, Calif.) and 46054 (near Santa Barbara, Calif.) were established for and have been sponsored by the Minerals Management Service since 1982 and 1993, respectively. These buoys helped MMS understand ocean currents in the area. The MMS agreement expires in December 2005, and due to this funding shortfall, NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center had earlier announced its intention to remove the buoys from service.

“These observing locations are priorities for the emerging Integrated Ocean Observing System,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA is committed to this effort and has come up with an innovative arrangement to keep the stations operating as long as possible.”

“Funding from NOAA’s Ocean Service will allow us to maintain these stations for a couple of years, unless there is a catastrophic incident such as a major ship collision,” states Paul Moersdorf, Ph.D., director of the National Data Buoy Center. “However, the future operation is still an unknown. NOAA continues to seek a long-term solution for funding these buoys.”

The National Data Buoy Center designs, develops, operates and maintains a network of 90 data collecting buoys and 60 Coastal Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations. Although most stations are located at sites determined by National Weather Service forecast and warning requirements, the center actively supports a number of reimbursable projects. These projects involve deploying buoys in the coastal zone for other agencies, as was the case with MMS stations 46023 and 46054.

All stations within the National Data Buoy Center network measure wind speed, direction and gust; barometric pressure; and air temperature. In addition, the buoy stations and some C-MAN stations measure sea surface temperature and wave height and period. Conductivity and water current are measured at selected stations.
“The waters between the Channel Islands and the Santa Barbara coast south of Pt. Conception can be quite dangerous, so mariners from pleasure boaters to commercial fishermen rely on reports from these buoys to ensure their safety and livelihoods,” said Chris Mobley, manager of NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

About 40 percent of National Weather Service marine warnings and advisories are based, at least in part, on the National Data Buoy Center’s meteorological information. In addition, the observations are used by meteorologists who need to adjust flight level wind speeds reported by hurricane reconnaissance aircraft to surface winds; by geophysicists who use the sea surface temperature, wind and wave reports to help calibrate remotely sensed measurements from spacecraft; and by engineers who obtain directional wave measurements to study beach erosion and shore protection.

The funding from NOAA’s Ocean Service will also enable repairs for two additional buoys important to the south central California coast - buoy 46063, near Pt. Conception, Calif., and 46011, near Santa Maria, Calif.

The National Weather Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The 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. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through research to better understand atmospheric and climate variability and to manage wisely our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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