Western Channel Observatory

NERC National Capability of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Marine Biological Association


Autonomous Buoy project

As part of the NERC Oceans 2025 programme, PML were awarded a capital grant to invest in an array of autonomous buoys. Each buoy is equipped with an array of sensors to look at both atmospheric and marine parameters. These include sea surface temperature, salinity, oxygen, turbidity, fluorescence (WetLabs WQM); air temperature, humidity, windspeed and direction and atmospheric pressure (AirMar); CDOM fluorescence (WetLabs); nitrate (Satlantic ISUS) and a hyperspectral radiometer (Satlantic). All these are controlled using a Satlantic StorX logger. The SPN1 Sunshine Pyranometer measures Global (Total) and Diffuse solar radiation from 400-2700nm and is being evaluated for its suitability for use at sea. An onboard Linux PC104 system controls dataflow and transmission to shore using a radiomodem link back to Rame Head. The current data rate is once per hour and data is transmitted every three hours to save on power. The buoys automatically report their position using AIS. The latest in-field data, which is strongly limited by data transmission volumes, is shown below. To access the entire, quality controlled dataset click here.

Webcam L4

Webcam L4 image

Latest Buoy Position

Latest L4 data readings (50°15.0'N; 4°13.0'W)

Latitude: -10.000 °Longitude: -10.000 °
Wind direction: -10.0 °Sea temperature: -10.0 °C
Wind speed: -10.0 ms-1Salinity: -9.99
Pressure: -10 mb Oxygen: -10.0 μM
PAR: 0 W m-2Chlorophyll: -9.99 mg m-3
Air temperature: -10.0 °CTurbidity: -9.99 NTU

Last Reading taken at: 9.10 GMT on 16/01/2015

* Readings of -10 indicate missing data

Click here to download preliminary data and view latest systems log . The meteorological parameters for this buoy (6200030) are validated by Meteo France

Last 7 days met data

Windspeed and direction

Windspeed and direction chart


Pressure chart

Air temperature and PAR

Air temperature and PAR chart

Global and Diffuse radiation

Global and diffuse irradiance chart

Latest year in context

Temperature and Salinity

Temperature and Salinity chart

Fluorescence and Turbidity

Oxygen, Fluorescence and Turbidity chart

Oxygen and CDOM

Nitrate and CDOM chart

About Us

The WCO is a partnership between the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Marine Biological Association.

How are we funded?

The core work of the WCO is funded as part of the UK Natural Environmental Research Council's National Capability.

Contact Information

For more details about the WCO please contact:

Dr Tim Smyth
Western Channel Observatory
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Prospect Place
email: tjsm@pml.ac.uk