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.
Since the network became operational in 2000, the ODAS system designed by the UK Met Office has been the platform of choice for the acquisition of real time Met-Ocean data. Now, from 2009 onwards, the next generation Fugro Oceanor wavescan platforms will be deployed at the existing stations as the ODAS system becomes obsolete. These new type data buoys will continue to record existing parameters, while also providing enhanced Met-Ocean data, e.g. maximum wave height, maximum wave period, mean wave steepness and also spectral wave data (downloadable from the buoy on service visits).
||53° 07' 36"N 11°12' 00"W
|| Nov 2000
||53° 28' 80"N 05°25' 50"W
|| April 2001
||51° 13' 00"N 10°33' 00"W
|| July 2002
||55° 00' 00"N 10° 00' 00"W
|| April 2003
||51° 41' 41"N 06°42' 24"W
|| Oct 2004|
||53° 03' 63"N 15°55' 80"W
|| Sept 2006
The data buoys are moored to a sinker and a combination of ground chain and Dynema rope. The M6 platform is moored in 3,000m of water using an inverse catenary mooring with a combination of chain, jacketed wire rope and nylon rope. This mooring incorporates a string of sensors over the top 1,000m.
The new Fugro Oceanor Wavescan buoy transmits hourly data on the standard suite of meteorological parameters that the ODAS currently reports:
- Wind speed and direction
- Atmospheric pressure and tendency
- Air temperature
- Relative humidity
- Sea surface temperature
- Significant wave height and period
In addition, the new system will also transmit the following:
- Wave direction
- Max wave height and period
- Configurable wave spectra
The information from the Fugro Oceanor is transmitted to shore via Iridium and Inmarsat and are uploaded to the GTS by Met Eireann. These data sets are used in European, marine and local forecasting.