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U.S. Navy Tests of Sonobuoy-Size Oceanographic Buoys
NAVAL OCEANOGRAPHIC AND ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH LAB STENNIS SPACE CENTER MS
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The Navy is developing sonobuoy-sized, air-deployed, satellite-tracked, drifting data buoys. The buoys send 10-min averages of air pressure, air temperature, and water temperatures. Water temperatures are atO,5,10, 20, 30, 50, and 100 m below the surface. The buoys have two purposes. First, they collect and relay data from remote or violent-weather areas. Second, they help interpret near-surface current patterns by their drift tracks. Last year, the Navy tested 60 of these buoys. Tests were in the Gulf of Mexico, Mediterranean, Northwest Pacific, and Northeast Atlantic. Results showed buoy sensors are reasonable accurate. However, subsurface sensors do not survive for the three-month design lifetime. Although surface sensors rarely failed within three months, one-third of subsurface sensors typically failed within one month.
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