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Ocean-based buoys detail conditions in the Virgin Islands

NSF Award:

VI-EPSCoR: RII: Building Research Strength in the US Virgin Islands  (University of The Virgin Islands)

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Over the past two years, the University of the Virgin Islands' (UVI) Center for Marine and Environmental Studies has launched two weather data buoys into the ocean south of St. Thomas. The devices have added to the growing system of marine and atmospheric data collection buoys in the region.

The devices are the first permanent, stationary data buoys in the region to provide water-based information such as ocean current direction, wave height and direction, air temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and salinity levels.

This information is helpful to scientists, the marine industry, which includes cruise ship, ferry and charter boat navigators, as well as beach-goers. The system also provides real-time information to the National Weather Service, allowing them to verify the estimations provided by Doppler radar. The seawater data greatly enhances predictions for hurricanes and events such as the arrival of algal plumes from as far away as South America's Orinoco River. The Caribbean Regional Association (CaRA) for Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing site maintains the data.

CaRA is a collaborative effort between UVI and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. The buoys are now part of a network of automated weather stations and buoys around the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico that transmits real-time information on regional climate conditions. The network of 15 weather stations and three buoys makes up the Caribbean Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing System, which provides accurate, real-time data above and below the water's surface.

 

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  • researchers deploy a marine data buoy
Researchers deploy a marine data buoy.
Nick Drayton, UVI

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