Hurricane Data Smashed Offline by Katrina
August 31, 2005 12:05 PM   Subscribe

National Data Buoy Center (Google cache), "the premiere source of meteorological and oceanographic measurements for the marine environment" in the U.S., is located at the NASA Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi gulf coast, is a primary source of hurricane observational data, and is currently offline. At present, the U.S. spends only $50 million annually on ocean observations of vital socio-economic impact. The latest national commission for ocean policy recommended $4 billion annually, including the construction of a distributed, disaster-proof, national ocean observing system, as a component of a global system. The previous ocean commission report in 1969 resulted in the formation of NOAA and the passage of the Coastal Zone Management Act. Will Congress act? The E.U. has.
posted by 3.2.3 (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
NDBC data, when available again, can be overlaid with data collected by an academic prototype of the IOOS. Select a storm, or select map layers and click on "redraw map."
posted by 3.2.3 at 12:12 PM on August 31, 2005

Not surprisingly a backup privately owned buoy network is nowhere to be found, expecially when it's evidently most need.

It's curious but it seems the insurace sector didn't give a damn and they had plenty of opportunity to invest into research for damage prediction and containment..but I didn't see any insurance owned network ? Buoy data analysis isn't 2000's old good stuff and $50 million is a drop in the bucket of insurers.

Could it be that it's a lot cheaper to hire lawyers and unleash them against insurance payers then doing something actually good and often promised know...scientific research ?
posted by elpapacito at 12:21 PM on August 31, 2005

Iraq's costing $5.6 billion per month, so for one months war you could have had a monitoring system in place and adequate flood defences.

There would also have been enough spare change to keep it staffed and maintained for years to come. Oh, and this post may never have existed..
posted by Nugget at 12:51 PM on August 31, 2005

Not surprisingly a backup privately owned buoy network is nowhere to be found

The buoys in the Gulf have all blown away. You can't make a mooring strong enough to survive a Cat 5. Reporting buoys cost in the neighborhood of $100K per year to deploy and then maintain. They don't last long. Shrimp trawlers are the biggest hazard to buoy moorings.

The last buoy reporting in the Gulf of Mexico recorded 45 feet waves off the coast of Mississippi before losing its moorings early Monday morning.

Getting a mooring location requires a minor act of God with the Coast Gaurd. The public nature of data buoys is essential to the scientific health of academic marine science, oceanography, and meteorology departments at universities worldwide. Universities are the major consumers of this data. Data from Katrina will be analyzed and modeled for years to come. The distributed nature of the GOOS depends heavily on academic involvement. Universities, in turn, inform and partner with actuarial industries.

The strange part is putting the NDBC data center in the path of frequent hurricanes, rather than public buoys having blown away. NDBC has put up a temporary page since the FPP. It links to a couple of secondary republishers of NDBC CMAN and buoy data. The IOOS would allow multiple institutions to repose buoy data and make the data available through discovery web services.
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:32 PM on August 31, 2005

Sure, just as soon as SDI is up and running.
posted by wrapper at 1:58 PM on August 31, 2005

BTW, as long as we are talking about the tin cup of ocean obs, may as well pass along that you can adopt a buoy.
posted by 3.2.3 at 2:17 PM on August 31, 2005

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