SCOOP - the National Data Buoy Center's “Game Changer” for Ocean Observations

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Thursday, 6 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Helmut H. Portmann, NOAA/NDBC, Stennis Space Center, MS

The cost of collecting ocean observations is becoming prohibitively expensive, and the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), charged with operating NOAA's array of weather buoys, the TAO climate array across the Pacific and the nation's DART Tsunami monitoring array, is continually seeking to reduce operational costs by improving observing systems reliability and finding efficiencies in maintaining these systems. NDBC is leveraging its opportunity to contribute to the Superstorm Sandy initiatives to develop a “game changer” for ocean observation platforms – the Self-Contained Ocean Observations Payload, or SCOOP. Today's typical weather buoys require hundreds of labor hours and months of construction, are complex systems with vulnerable electronics exposed to ocean environments during at-sea maintenance, and require large, expensive ships for delivery and maintenance. The SCOOP payloads will be self-contained units that include sensors, cameras, processing, satellite communications, and power in one sealed unit. The SCOOP units leave NDBC as tested, sealed units that are never opened in the field, and that can be emplaced on legacy buoys already deployed, or on new “empty” buoys that serve as simple, inexpensive support floats, or on coastal towers, or even on ships. The result will be dramatically lower construction and assembly costs, lower deployment costs, and a dramatic increase in reliability, which will dramatically reduce operations and maintenance costs.