87th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 15 January 2007
Performing quality control on wave measurements in extreme events
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Richard Bouchard, NOAA/NDBC, Stennis Space Center, MS
Since 1974, The National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) has provided wave measurements from moored buoys. Presently NDBC operates more than 90 moored buoys configured to measure waves. Wave-measuring buoys are deployed in a variety of environments from the Bering Sea to the tropical Atlantic and thus are exposed to extreme events such as severe winter storms and hurricanes. Over the years, NDBC has established quality control procedures that consist of both automated checks in real-time and manual inspection and model comparison for pre-archive records.

In extreme wave events, quality control takes on a crucial role in distinguishing between true extreme measurements and possible system degradation that compromises the accuracy of the data. Accurate wave measurements then become essential in the production of warnings and forecasts, validating or initiating numerical models and validating remote sensing techniques.

This paper describes the NDBC quality control procedures for waves, discusses the strengths and limitations of those procedures in extreme wave events, highlights some unique aspects and adaptations of the procedures for extreme waves, and examines some case studies from past hurricanes and severe extratropical storms.

Supplementary URL: