12th Jun, 2013

E1 Buoy Deployment

Despite heavy seas, 2.5m swell height, we managed yesterday to get out to the E1 station and successfully deploy a new buoy system.  The deployment was carried out by the Trinity House Vessel Patricia with the whole exercise being extremely slick and professional.  The mooring design for this buoy consisted of an 8 ton weight connected to the buoy with approximately 230m of chain.  When constructing a mooring the weak points tend to be the shackles used for connecting the various components together.  On board the Patricia we witnessed the method used to seize the shackles closed; once the shackle was connected in position the pin was heated until it glowed red hot and then two, large men, beat the pin with sledge hammers to mushroom it and thus prevent it from ever being undone.

The E1 Buoy is a collaboration between the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the UK MET Office, replacing the existing PML buoy with a new purpose built platform incorporating the requirements of both organisations.  This deployment is the culmination of a project that has taken some 18 months from initial planning to final implementation and marks the commencement of a new collaboration with the UK MET office and particularly their marine division.  The project has highlighted a positive way forward in the sharing of expertise to deliver a state of the art multi user platform, thus saving on cost and maximising the potential of these systems.  It is hoped that the E1 buoy is the start of many more future collaborations between the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the UK MET office in marine and environmental monitoring.

The UK MET Office is responsible for the meteorological parameters air temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, wave height and wave direction on the buoy.  The Plymouth Marine Laboratory has brought expertise to this project in the measurement of oceanographic parameters and is reporting hourly the sea temperature, salinity, dissolved Oxygen, Chlorophyll fluorescence, turbidity, Coloured Dissolved Organic Material (CDOM), Nitrate and Photosynthetic Available Radiation (PAR).  The data is already being received by both organisations and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory is currently working to present this data hourly on the Western Channel Observatory website.

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