7.7 Calibration and Field Evaluation of the National Data Buoy Center's New Wave Measurement System

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 3:00 PM
615 AB (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
Richard H. Bouchard, NDBC, Stennis Space Center, MS; and R. E. Jensen, R. E. Riley, and L. A. LeBlanc

Handout (2.1 MB)

Many remote sensing technologies and numerical wave prediction models use the wave reports from buoys operated by NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) for ground truth. This ground truth plays a significant role in the calibration and validation phases to take these systems from research to operations. NDBC buoys have acquired their reputation for ground truth by providing reliable and accurate wave measurements.

NDBC is developing a new technology for its weather and ocean wave measurements from its moored buoys that includes a new hull and new meteorological instrumentation while using the existing NDBC wave processing system. However, the new hull requires calibration to determine the hull’s response to waves. The calibration reduces generational changes to NDBC long-term wave measurements and is required before the new hull/wave measurement system can be used operationally.

The hull response is determined by comparison with the generally accepted standard for buoy wave measurements – the Datawell Waverider. With the assistance of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory of Vicksburg, MS, NDBC has deployed the new system near Datawell Waveriders offshore of Virginia Beach, VA and near the Columbia River Bar and has plans for a third deployment in the Great Lakes. In addition, NDBC has deployed standard NDBC buoys near these sites to provide overlap between the existing hull/wave measurement systems and the new hull/systems. Deployments are planned for a minimum of one year. These sites and time spans will provide a variety of wave regimes to test and calibrate the new hulls.

This paper will provide details of the NDBC’s new weather buoy system and the methodology of hull calibration and review preliminary results of the calibration and field evaluations.

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