Anyone familiar with this coast will know that there are rigs in the Irish Sea that can be seen lit up at night – sometimes you can see the flare of them burning gas off.
But did you know that the rig we can see in the Irish Sea reports through a worldwide network of offshore weather monitoring stations?
The National Data Buoy Centre (NDBC) is based in Mississippi – it states ‘NDBC’s mission is to provide marine meteorological, oceanographic and geophysical observations accurately and in real-time to assist warning centres, marine forecasters, the military, ocean platform operators and the public’.
You can learn much more about the NDBC, why the information it collects is vital, and how it collects data at this link http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/tour/virtr1.shtml
Their website opens on this page http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/ with a world map showing where these weather stations are sited. You can zoom in on the map to look at individual monitoring stations around the UK, or anywhere else in the world that tickles your fancy.
There are 1313 stations (as of 6.2.16), and in the previous 8 hours to writing this article 886 of them had reported information. Fortunately, there aren’t any tsunami stations in UK waters!
The rig off Blackpool is home to station number 62125 which is owned and managed by the private oil company that owns the rig. At this link http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=62125
The nearest station is 62091, East of Lambay, which is owned by the Irish Department of Transport and maintained by the Marine Institute in cooperation with Met Eireann and the UK Met Office.
There’s also a monitoring buoy with continual forecasting off Aberystwyth on the coast of Wales – known as 62301 Aberporth Buoy, which is owned and maintained by the UK Met Office. Real-time data at this station from the last 24 hours can be seen at this link http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=62301
The observations include wind direction and speed, but interestingly to us on land with a birds eye view of the water, they also include wave height.
In April 2012 when this article was originally written, the wave height at 62301 peaked at 4.3’ with a lowest recording of 2.6’, as you can see from this graph above. It would be interesting to see what the measurements are during a strong wind and heavy storm!
Wave height measuring chart