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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wave buoy on Saipan provides data to keep ocean users safe

PacIOOS wave buoy at Tanapag, Saipan. The wave buoy is 3ft. in diameter and weighs 500 lbs. PacIOOS requests boaters steer clear of the buoy by 50ft. and not to tie off onto the buoy. (Contributed Photo) On Jan. 16, 2014, the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System, or PacIOOS, swapped their wave buoy off Tanapag for one with fresh batteries. The buoy measures wave height, wave direction, wave period, and sea surface temperature every 30 minutes.

PacIOOS wave buoys in the Mariana Islands stream data to inform safe transit and recreation and provide critical information for the National Weather Service to produce accurate high surf forecasts and advisories and surf zone forecasts out of the Guam Weather Forecasting Office.

“Since we first deployed the wave buoy at Tanapag in October 2012, it has provided valuable information that enabled the National Weather Service to warn ocean users and beach goers in the Mariana Islands of impending hazards,” explained Melissa Iwamoto, PacIOOS Outreach and Program Coordinator. “We are excited to offer data to help ensure the safety of stakeholders that work, recreate, and live in the coastal zone.”

PacIOOS requests boaters to steer clear of the buoy by 50 feet and not to tie off onto the buoy. Recovery and redeployment of these buoys is expensive and challenging, as the team relies on calm conditions to safely deploy these sensitive instruments that weigh 500 lbs.

The buoy is part of PacIOOS’ network of 12 near-real-time wave buoys in Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Marshall Islands. Data stream from the buoys to the PacIOOS Voyagers (http://pacioos.org/voyager), the PacIOOS website (http://pacioos.org), and to the Coastal Data Information Program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Data streaming is made possible through long-term partnerships between PacIOOS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and CDIP.

To view the data from the Tanapag wave buoy, go to http://pacioos.org/wavebuoy/tanapagbuoy.php.

On the go? Click on http://pacioos.org/voyager/mobile/index.html?region=cnmi&variable=waves to go to the PacIOOS Voyager Mobile tool and click on the wave buoy for near-real-time wave conditions.

Based within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, PacIOOS is the Pacific Islands regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System. PacIOOS is a partnership of data providers and users working together to enhance ocean observations and develop, disseminate, evaluate, and apply ocean data and information products designed to address the environmental, economic, and public safety needs of stakeholders who call the Pacific Islands home.

Signatory partners of PacIOOS in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands include the Office of the Governor, Department of Environmental Quality, and Pacific Marine Resources Institute. For more on this regional program, visit www.pacioos.org.

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