Marine Institute installs new weather buoy

Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 01:00

Marine Institute technicians installed a €190,000 weather buoy 25 miles off the south coast yesterday, replacing an older model that strayed from its mooring last December.

The ageing buoy broke loose in extreme weather off Mizen Head and was tracked off the coast of Devon last January.

The upgraded replacement model includes new functions with the capacity to measure wave direction and salinity levels in water, along with temperature, wind speeds and atmospheric pressure.

The new M3 buoy was deployed to its location in 180 metres of water 25 miles southwest of Bantry Bay by marine oceanographer Sheena Fennel on board the Castletownbere-based tug Ocean Bank yesterday.

The surfing community will benefit from new technology mapping wave direction, while a salinity monitor will allow for more accurate readings of ocean currents and outflow from rivers.

The buoy will feed hourly readings to the Marine Institute through a new satellite system through the Iridium Satellite constellation, which handles global phone network communications.

It will measure meteorological and oceanographic parameters to provide hourly updates for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings.