Buoy Systems for Acquiring Data in a Marine Environment
- J.M. Hall (NOAA Data Buoy Office) | E.G. Kerut (NOAA Data Buoy Office) | J. Irico (Sperry Support Services)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1976
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 468 - 474
- 1976. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 4.5.4 Mooring Systems
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Automatic, unmanned buoys are being used increasingly for acquiring meteorological, oceanographic, and water-quality data from the marine environment. This paper discusses large discus buoys moored in the deep ocean, small buoys used as drifters in open waters and polar ice regions, and moored buoys along the continental shelf.
The mission of the NOAA Data Buoy Office (NDBO) is to develop and apply buoy systems for gathering and processing meteorological, oceanographic, and waterquality data to meet current and near-term user needs. Among existing and potential users are national and international weather services, the scientific research community, offshore industries, fisheries, environmental protection groups, and recreational interests. The Office is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin. (NOAA) and is located in Bay St. Louis, Miss.
NDBO buoy systems involve a family of automatic and unmanned environmental buoys of differing capabilities, supported by communication/data processing facilities and servicing ships. Basically, processing facilities and servicing ships. Basically, this family can be divided into large moored buoys for use in the deep ocean, smaller moored buoys for application along the continental shelf, and small drifting buoys for use throughout the marine environment.
Our most developed area of technology applies to large discus buoys moored in the deep ocean for extended periods in frequently severe environments. Less developed periods in frequently severe environments. Less developed areas of technology, now receiving increasing emphasis, are associated with the more limited smaller buoys for mooring on the continental shelf and for drifting applications. Supporting these technology areas is our ongoing program for developing or improving sensors for meteorological, oceanographic, wave, and water-quality measurement, with oceanographic-sensor development posing the greatest challenge.
Deep-Ocean Moored-Buoy Systems
A large portion of the NDBO effort has been in the development of deep-ocean moored-buoy systems for acquiring meteorological and oceanographic data in a severe environment, primarily in support of the National Weather Service but designed also to support the scientific community and other interests. Starting with an experimental engineering program for testing and evaluating hardware, coupled wit operational reporting to the National Weather Service and augmented by a payload simplification program, development has payload simplification program, development has progressed to the next-generation prototype environmental progressed to the next-generation prototype environmental buoy recently procured.
Experimental Engineering Program
A significant achievement in buoy development was realized in mid-1974 with the completion of our largebuoy experimental engineering program. This program was intended to improve the state-of-the-art program was intended to improve the state-of-the-art hardware, to gain experience in its at-sea operation and maintenance, and to set the stage for prototype development.
A thick discus moored buoy, as shown in Fig. 1, was the result of this program. This buoy is 40 ft in diameter with a 100-ton displacement and a meteorological sensor suite located at 5 and 10 m above the water. It was designed to be moored to depths of 20,000 ft in a survival environment of a 6.2-knot current, a 155-knot wind, and a significant wave height of 45 ft. The mooring line was designed with an integral data line for accommodating inductively coupled oceanographic sensors at various levels in the upper 500 m.
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