In order to solve this problem, the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC )developed C language software that could be used to place reports in two WMO real-time codes and distributed them to many of these universities. NDBC is now serving as a collection point where universities send observations via FTP for quality control and distribution on the various meteorological circuits. Observations are posted on NDBC’s popular web site which receives over seven million hits a month and links to the proper university are installed for each station. Local NWS offices often have the observations read on NOAA Weather Radio and distribution is made to private meteorological firms, such as the Weather Channel. Among the critical users of the real-time coded data are the NWS Tropical Prediction Center (a.k.a. the National Hurricane Center) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
As of March 2003, observations from 15 buoys and 7 coastal stations operated by four different universities are sending observations to NDBC. These universities are gaining enhanced public visibility and the NWS is gaining valuable observations. Specific examples of how NDBC helped detect degraded observations from these stations will be shown and additional details will be provided to possible future collaborators.