Project FLOSSIE: Marine Data Stewardship at the Waterline

Richard H Bouchard, Unaffiliated, Retired, Gulfport, MS, United States, Robert E Jensen, US Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, Vicksburg, MS, United States and Rodney E Riley, National Data Buoy Center, Stennis Space Center, MS, United States
There are more than 10 million wave records from platforms of the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) that are archived by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A considerable number of these were measured from the 61 NOMAD (Navy Oceanographic Meteorological Automatic Device) hulls that NDBC has used to make wave measurements since October 1979. Many of these measurements were made before the era of modern marine data stewardship. These long records lend themselves to investigations of climate trends and variability either directly by the measurements themselves, or indirectly by validating long-term numerical wave models or remote sensing applications. However studies (e.g., Gemmrich et al. 2011) indicate that discontinuities and increased variability of the measurements can arise from changing wave systems and platforms. The value of these records is undermined by the lack of understanding or documentation of technology changes - a critical component of data stewardship.

To support its mission of long-term understanding of coastal waves and wave models, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) sponsored the FLOSSIE Project to gage the effects of technology changes on the long-term wave measurements from NOMAD hulls. On behalf of CHL, NDBC engineering and operations integrated old, new, and leading edge technologies on one NOMAD hull. The hull was successfully deployed in July 2015 at the Wave Evaluation and Testing area off of Monterey Bay, CA. The area hosts an NDBC 3-m hull with cross-generational-technologies and a reference standard in a Datawell Waverider buoy. Thus cross-generational and cross-platform inter-comparisons can be performed simultaneously to an accepted standard. The analysis goes beyond the bulk wave parameters. The analysis will examine the energy and directional distributions over the frequency range of wind-generated waves.

The project is named in honor of the pioneering World War II Naval meteorologist, Commander Florence (Flossie) Van Straten (1913 – 1992), USNR, who coined the acronym for NOMAD.

This paper will discuss the goals of the project, present preliminary data results and application to the long-term measurements, and outline the plans incorporating Best Practices of Marine Data Stewardship for the resulting datasets.