Since 2006 we’ve installed a network of 13 Directional WaveRider buoys and 4 tide gauges (2 WaveRadar gauges and 2 step gauges) around the South West coast. The wave buoys are situated in ~10-12m water depth (Chart Datum) where they record wave height, wave direction, wave period and sea temperature.
The wave and tide data we collect is broadcast back to the National Coastal Monitoring Network website where it can be viewed in real-time, along with the data from the wave buoys in other regions.
It’s important to note that the real-time data isn’t quality checked.
We do quality check all the data retrospectively before we add it to our archive where it can be downloaded in yearly or monthly increments.
Accurate estimates of the wave climate are an essential prerequisite for coastal engineering, yet there was previously a lack of longterm wave data from around the UK coastline. The UK Met Office buoys and, more recently, WaveNet buoys are a step in the right direction, but are too few in number and too far offshore to be of operational use to coastal engineers in the South West; our wave buoy network provides directional wave information in the nearshore region to address this requirement.
Tidal data is needed to provide estimates of extreme water level conditions, for guidance when determining flood defences. A prime objective of our Programme’s network of tide gauges is to provide water levels for coastal flood warnings. This need is fulfilled by the real-time measurements displayed on the website and a facility for sending alerts warning of high tide levels and/or high waves.
The Programme uses the long term data sets for:
Real-time Wave and Tide Data