Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully, answers to your questions can be found here

Where does your data come from?

Our data comes directly from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), a part of the National Weather Service (NWS). NDBC provides hourly observations from a network of about 90 buoys and 60 Coastal Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations. C-MAN stations have been installed on lighthouses, at capes and beaches, on near shore islands, and on offshore platforms.

NDBC also serves as a data assembly center for receiving, quality controlling, and disseminating measurement data from other stations owned and maintained by non-federal regional ocean observing systems and members of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Most of the IOOS partners send their reports over the Internet to NDBC systems at the NWS Telecommunications Gateway (NWSTG) in Silver Spring, MD.

Currently there are over 1200+ stations deployed worldwide.

Can you explain what some of the data mean?

Of course! Here are some explanations of the measured data from NDBC’s website.

  • Air temperature – A measure of the internal energy that a substance contains.
  • Water temperature – Temperature measured at sea surface.
  • Real Feel (Wind Chill) – Increased wind speeds accelerate heat loss from exposed skin. Please note that NDBC uses unadjusted winds to calculate wind chill. The winds are calculated at anemometer height. For more information on wind chill, please see the NWS Wind Chill Temperature Index.
  • Dewpoint – A measure of atmospheric moisture. It is the temperature to which air must be cooled in order to reach saturation (assuming air pressure and moisture content are constant). A higher dew point indicates more moisture present in the air. It is sometimes referred to as Dew Point Temperature, and sometimes written as one word (Dewpoint). Dewpoint temperature is taken at the same height as the air temperature measurement.
  • Wind speed – The rate at which air is moving horizontally past a given point. It is averaged over an eight-minute period for buoys and a two-minute period for land stations. Reported Hourly.
  • Wind direction – The true direction from which the wind is blowing at a given location (i.e., wind blowing from the north to the south is a north wind). It is normally measured in tens of degrees from 10 degrees clockwise through 360 degrees. North is 360 degrees. A wind direction of 0 degrees is only used when wind is calm.
  • Gust – Rapid fluctuations in the wind speed between peaks and lulls. The speed of the gust will be the maximum instantaneous wind speed. Peak 5 or 8 second gust speed measured during the eight-minute or two-minute period.
  • Wave height – Distance from wave trough to wave crest. It is calculated as the average of the highest one-third of all of the wave heights during the 20-minute sampling period.
  • Dominant(Peak) wave period – The period with the maximum wave energy.
  • Average Wave Period – Average of all waves during the 20-minute period.
  • Wave Direction – Direction from which the waves at the dominant period are coming. The units are degrees from true North, increasing clockwise, with North as 0 (zero) degrees and East as 90 degrees.
  • Pressure – Sea level pressure. The exertion of force upon a surface by a fluid (e.g., the atmosphere) in contact with it.
  • Pressure Characteristic – The pattern of the pressure change during the specified period of time, usually the three hour period preceding an observation. This is recorded in three categories: falling, rising, or steady. Pressure Rising/Falling Rapidly is an increase/decrease in station pressure at a rate of 0.06 inch of mercury or more per hour which totals 0.02 inch or more.
  • Visibility (nautical miles) – The distance at which a given standard object can be seen and identified with the unaided eye. Note that buoy stations are limited to reports from 0 to 1.6 nmi.
  • Tide – Water level in feet above or below Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW).
What are the different kinds of buoys?

NDBC’s fleet of moored buoys includes 6 types: 3-m, 10-m, and 12-m discus hulls; 6-m boat-shaped (NOMAD) hulls; and the newest, the Coastal Buoy and the Coastal Oceanographic Line-of-Sight (COLOS) buoy.

Why are some observations not measured?

All NDBC stations measure wind speed, direction, and gust; barometric pressure; and air temperature. In addition, all buoy stations, and some C-MAN stations, measure sea surface temperature and wave height and period. Conductivity and water current are measured at selected stations.

Stations belonging to non-federal regional ocean observing systems and IOOS partners measurements vary.

Why can't I switch units?

Let us know in the feedback what functionalities you want in the next version and we will make sure to include it!

Can I save my favorite stations?

Not yet! Let us know in the feedback what functionalities you want in the next version and we will make sure to include it!

How do I find stations near me?

You can click on the Map button on the top or click on the magnifying glass button on the top right to search for a city or place.

Why are some of your measurements very different from other sources?

Data comes directly from NOAA’s NDBC servers. Our app does not guarantee accuracy or verify the data. For more information about the data, please visit NOAA’s NDBC website.

The buoy near me seems broken, what can I do?

Offshore servicing relies primarily on support from the USCG. Stations are serviced as required to repair damaged or degraded equipment. All buoys are serviced about every 2 years for routine maintenance and to install newly calibrated sensors. The Great Lakes buoys are retrieved every fall because of potential damage by ice. For more information about when the buoy close to you is being serviced, please visit here.

Are there more photos of the stations?

Yes! Hopefully, we can update the app to show all the photos available. In the meanwhile, you can search on the internet for the station and see more photos.

I have more questions, feedback and/or suggestions. How do I contact you?

We would love to hear your feedback! You can contact us here