Offshore Weather Buoys Confirm West Coast Wave Forecast


Results from Ireland’s network of offshore weather buoys confirm the computer-generated wave forecasts by the Marine Institute and Met Eireann earlier this week for waves of up to 14 metres (45 feet) along the west coast of Ireland.  

As of 12 noon today (Saturday 1st December) weather buoy M6—situated in deep water off the west of Ireland—was recording waves of 13.2 metres height. Weather buoy M3—off the south west coast recorded wave heights of 10.2 metres. It is likely that wave heights inshore will be reduced, but could still be in the eight to nine metre range, which offers dangerous conditions for those walking or fishing near the shoreline.  

Real time information from all six buoys in the Irish Marine Weather Buoy Network can be accessed online by following the "Publications and Data" tag above or by clicking on:   

The daily computer generated forecast can also be accessed online at:       

The waves are being caused by a very low pressure area of weather in the Atlantic to the north of Ireland.   Previously the biggest waves recorded by the Marine Institute’s data buoys were at the M1 Buoy to the west of Galway Bay on the 17th January 2005, when waves of 13.4 m were recorded. Similar conditions appear to be developing this weekend in line with predictions made earlier in the week.  

The Marine Institute stresses that, while it is unlikely that the waves will cause severe flooding or structural damage onshore, the main danger is to small boats, anglers and those venturing too close to the sea at this time.  


For further information, please contact:    

Dr. John Joyce – Communications Manager – 087 2250871      

Notes to Editor:  

Computer Wave Prediction Wave forecasts are run on the Marine Institute’s High Performance Computer Cluster. The simulations use global predictions of wind and waves, refining these using the detailed geometry of the seabed, to produce predictions on a 1 km grid of Ireland’s Atlantic margin.  

The Irish Marine Weather Buoy Network is a joint project designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The buoy network provides vital data for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research. The project is the result of successful collaboration between the Marine Institute, Met Eireann, The UK Met Office and the Irish Department of Transport.  

The Weather Buoy Network was initiated following a report in 1996 by the Fishing Vessels Safety Authority.  This report highlighted the need for real time data from the coastal region of Ireland to enable more accurate weather forecasts and therefore decrease the number of lives lost at sea.   

The project saw the first deployment of the weather buoy M1 in 2000 and is run as a collaboration between the then Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Marine Institute, The UK Met Office and Met Eireann.   

The core aim of the Irish Marine Weather Buoy Network is to feed real time observations to weather forecasters to improve accuracy and hence improve safety in the waters surrounding Ireland.  The network provides vital real time data for: Weather forecasts Shipping bulletins Gale and swell warnings 

Users of the service includes fishermen, air-sea rescue teams, ferries, ships exporting live export and people involved in water sports.  Data also contribute to the formation of a long term climate data base.  This helps to establish key baseline information such as temperature and salinity values which will, in time, allow researchers to monitor change and determine climatic patterns.

To date, 6 buoys have been deployed and are being maintained around the coast.      

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