The accuracy of weather forecasts for marine traffic in the South West will be further improved this week, when the third buoy in Ireland's Marine Data Buoy Network is deployed 31 nautical miles off Mizen Head (Lat: 51º13 N and Long: 10º33 W) on July 19 2002, by the national Research Vessel, Celtic Voyager.
"Some of the most severe conditions coming in from the Atlantic are experienced in this area", said Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive at the Marine Institute. "Safety at Sea is extremely important for all seafarers. We hope that fishermen, surfers and sailors, now at the height of the sailing season, will make good use of the information which the buoy will provide every hour of every day at the touch of a button", he said.
Two hours after the ‘M3’ buoy is deployed, the Marine Institute website will provide seafarers with real time data every hour, twenty-four/seven. Crucial observations of wind (direction, speed & gusts) air and sea-surface temperature, wave height and period, and atmospheric pressure will all be updated every hour. Data from the ‘M1’ and ‘M2’stations, positioned West of the Aran Islands and East of Lambay Island respectively, are already available on www.marine.ie/databuoy, www.met.ie or on Met Éireann’s weatherdial Fax.
According to Met Éireann, this buoy will give unprecedented and valuable information about the marine environment off the South Coast. They highlighted the long-term benefits of having ongoing observations, which can help understand trends for example, in relation to extreme weather conditions.
"Climate change questions like whether our waters are becoming rougher or stormier can only be answered using long periods of weather observations in specific locations. This is exactly what will be provided by the National Data Buoy Network", said Mr Declan Murphy, Director of Met Éireann.
The Southern buoy deployment means that three of the proposed five buoys are now in place. The other planned locations are South of Wexford and North of Belmullet. The buoy network is a joint venture between the Marine Institute, Met Éireann and the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and the UK Met Office.