Two meteorological buoys complete with oceanographic instrumentation were deployed off the R/V Neil Armstrong on April 19 and 20. This observing effort is being led by Dr. Harvey Seim and Sara Haines of UNC Chapel Hill. The buoys have a complete meteorological package, including sensors for humidity, temperature, rainfall, barometric pressure, temperature, GPS, wind speed and direction. In addition, the buoys have both short wave and long wave radiation sensors. These devices allow Dr. Seim and his team to estimate the flux of heat between the ocean and the atmosphere at that spot. Under the water, two conductivity, temperature and depth (CTD) sensors can be found suspended below the buoy, one near the surface and another 15 meters down. On the seafloor, near the buoy, the science team team also deployed a small tripod, with an acoustic doppler current profiler to measure currents above the seafloor, and an additional CTD.
The buoys were deployed at two strategic locations, one 20 miles east-southeast of Oregon inlet, and the second 20 miles east of Ocracoke Inlet. The area between the two buoys is typically where the Hatteras front can be found, the boundary that separates the Mid Atlantic Bight (MAB) shelf water and the South Atlantic Bight (SAB) shelf water. The front varies in location from north to south, and the buoys, coupled with Slocum gliders, deployed along the shelf, will help pinpoint the location of the Hatteras front and assist scientists in better understanding the exchange of shelf water along the shelf and out into the deep ocean. Slocum gliders are mobile autonomous oceanographic observing platforms that are capable of carrying a variety of sensors as payload. These gliders will be deployed and recovered out of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute and the Duke Marine Lab over the next 18 months.
The data from these buoys, with the exception of the ADCP, will be fed hourly back to land via satellite from an Iridium antennae located on the buoy. From there the data will be pushed to the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) and shared on the Global Telecommunications System, a world-wide global data sharing system.
Once fully operational, the data from the buoys can be found on the NDBC website at www.ndbc.noaa.gov.
Northern Buoy: #41062 – Located approximately 20 miles east-southeast of Oregon Inlet.
Southern Buoy: #41063 – Located approximately 20 miles east of Ocracoke Inlet.
For more information on the PEACH project, please click HERE.