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NDBC Virtual Tour

Our Mission and Staff

Welcome to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), a part of the National Weather Service (NWS). NDBC designs, develops, operates, and maintains a network of data collecting buoys and coastal stations. NDBC's virtual tour will give you an overview of what NDBC does, the facilities, the atmospheric and oceanographic variables measured, and the use of these data.

NDBC Station Collage

Typical Buoy and C-MAN Stations

NWS forecasters need frequent, high-quality marine observations to examine conditions for forecast preparation and to verify their forecasts after they are produced. Other users rely on the observations and forecasts for commercial and recreational activities. NDBC provides hourly observations from a network of about 90 buoys and 60 Coastal Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations to help meet these needs. All 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.

To support this network and other engineering/data collection projects, NDBC employs engineers, meteorologists, oceanographers, computer scientists, and other professionals. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) members serve on the government staff to provide unique skills and interface with USCG for transportation support. An NDBC Technical Services Contractor (NTSC) supports NDBC with a staff of approximately 110 employees.

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