The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) maintains approximately 60 moored buoys and 47 Coastal-Marine Automated Network Stations (C-MAN) to collect marine atmospheric and oceanographic data in support of the National Weather Service's (NWS) Warning and Forecast program. The buoys and C-MAN stations are located around the United States in the deep ocean and coastal zones. The data collected include wind speed and direction, peak wind gusts, air temperature, sea surface temperature, barometric pressure, and wave height. They are transmitted hourly via Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) to the National Center for Environmental Prediction in Suitland, MD, and are available to marine weather forecasters within 30 minutes. The data are now available on the Internet and can be easily accessed.
These data can be brought into the classroom. All you need are a computer, modem, and Internet access. NDBC's address is: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov. To view buoy and C-MAN station locations, select "Station Information" and then "Station Locations, Information, and Data." Click on your favorite region, then on your favorite buoy or C-MAN station, and view the most recent hourly observations. Students can "adopt" one or more stations and monitor the observations. The data can be used to track and understand local weather and to solve "real" meteorological and oceanographic problems.
A description of the NDBC mission, a tour of the facilities, new programs, station information, hourly observations, and historical data are on the home page. The station information will have the latitude and longitude and a picture of the platform.
A special section of the home page is called "NDBC Science Education Pages." These pages pose questions about data collection from NDBC stations. The answers demonstrate various physical principles such as friction and heat capacity. These are designed to be supplemental exercises for the eighth grade meteorology and oceanography units. The attached sheet shows some of the topics and gives an example. Please leave comments on how this section could be improved or extended on the guest book.