The weather buoy M5, which played such in important
role in predicting and recording the record wave heights
off the coast last December, is back in action again.
The buoy, located 50km off the Wexford coast, has been
successfully redeployed after being offline since early
It is now transmitting a wide range of information on wind
speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, wave height, sea
and air temperature - all of which can be accessed online
via the Marine Institute’s website.
“Keeping the weather buoy network fully functional in as
harsh an environment as the Celtic Sea, can be extremely challenging”
- said Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute. “After
the M5 weather buoy stopped transmitting on the 3rd February,
it was recovered a week later and replaced by a second buoy
- which, in turn, failed after only two weeks. Bad weather
and complex engineering issues has constantly hampered any
attempt to recover and replace the second buoy using our smaller
vessel RV Celtic Voyager - but, her larger sister
ship, RV Celtic Explorer, finally managed the job
on the 30th May.
"I would like to pay tribute to our partners in the
Department of Transport, Met Eireann and the UK Met Office
in creating the network, which continues to provide information
vital not only to maritime safety and survival, but also to
our understanding of the oceans and climate change.”
In addition to the floating weather buoy network, which is
exposed to waves and wind, the Marine Institute - together
with a range of other bodies - is planning the deployment
of an array of submerged sensors and instrumented buoys in
Galway Bay, as part of the SmartBay system.
Phase 1 of this network - which will consist of a number
of instrumented buoys located at sites critical for climate
change, aquaculture and wave energy research - will be deployed
shortly on the west coast of Ireland. These buoys will provide
a wide range of oceanographic and environmental information
- leading to an even greater understanding of our seas and
The Irish Weather Buoy Network is a collaborative project
between the Department of Transport, Marine Institute, Met
Eireann and UK Met Office. The weather buoy network consists
of a 5 buoy network around the coast of Ireland, with one
located well into the Atlantic.
These buoys are equipped with a sophisticated array of sensors
which report hourly data on -
- Wind speed and direction
- Atmospheric pressure and humidity
- Significant wave height and period - and
- Air and Sea temperature.
Since it provides near real-time data, the Network significantly
increases the accuracy of forecasts and consequently contributes
to improve safety at sea. Information from the buoy’s sensors
is uploaded onto the GTS (Global Telecommunications System)
and then used by European and Global Forecasters. It is also
used to inform a wide range of users including - fishermen,
sailors, ferries, coastal and offshore engineers, general
public and science researchers.
The Marine Institute is responsible for the operational management
of the network and services each buoy annually - or more frequently
should it be required. Servicing takes place both on the RV
Celtic Explorer and the RV Celtic Voyager.
Each buoy is fully serviced every year, while the moorings
are checked and replaced when necessary.
For more information and to access the databuoy section of
the Marine Institute's website - Click