5A.2 Performance of the National Data Buoy Center's (NDBC) Stations during Hurricane/Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy and Resulting Technology Development

Tuesday, 1 April 2014: 8:15 AM
Garden Ballroom (Town and Country Resort )
Richard H. Bouchard, NOAA/NDBC, Stennis Space Center, MS; and H. H. Portmann, K. O'Neil, C. Kohler, R. Hervey, and L. LeBlanc

During Hurricane/Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy's passage from the Caribbean to the Great Lakes, NDBC buoys and automated land stations provided more than 1400 hourly meteorological observations within 300 nautical miles of its track in support of advisories and warnings of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) the Weather Prediction Center (WPC) and local Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) of the National Weather Service (NWS), initialization of numerical prediction models, as well as decision making for federal, state, and local emergency managers, and information for private weather services.

Despite extreme winds and seas, the stations provided real-time reports to aid in determining the intensity and extent of winds and seas. Extreme wave observations offshore presaged the contribution of wave setup, runup, and overtopping that would exacerbate the deadly storm surge to befall the Northeast. The NWS Sandy Assessment noted: “…many EMs expressed surprise at the large and damaging waves Sandy caused. Of coastal residents surveyed after Sandy, 77 percent described the impact of waves as more than they expected..”.

In the aftermath of Sandy, NDBC's observations will play an important role in corroborating information from remote sensing and numerical models, and be used to calibrate remote sensing techniques, validate numerical models, and verify forecasts.

Furthermore, NDBC is undertaking the development of new technology for its buoys (termed Self-Contained Ocean Observing Payload (SCOOP)) that will decrease costs, increase the reliability of the systems and provide new capabilities. The new capabilities include more frequent reporting – increasing the reporting frequency from one hour to 10 minutes -, and provide the capability to measure subsurface ocean temperatures to support the determination of Upper Ocean Heat Content and Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential. The system will first be deployed in time for the 2014 Hurricane Season.

The paper will review and assess the performance of the NDBC systems and provide further details on SCOOP.

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