The National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), a component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS), maintains a network of data buoys to monitor oceanographic and meteorological data off U.S. coasts including the Great Lakes. NDBC's nondirectional and directional wave measurements are of high interest to users because of the importance of waves for marine operations including boating and shipping. NDBC's wave data and climatological information derived from the data are also used for a variety of engineering and scientific applications. NDBC began its wave measurement activities in the mid-1970's. Since then, NDBC has developed, tested, and deployed a series of buoy wave measurement systems. Types of systems for which data analysis is described in this report have been deployed since 1979. These systems are generally recognized as representing the evolving state-ofthe-art in buoy wave measurement systems. As NDBC's newer systems have been developed, they have provided increasingly more comprehensive wave data. NDBC's data buoys relay wave information to shore by satellite in real time. Transmission of raw time-series data is not feasible with today's satellite message lengths. Thus, much of the data analysis is performed onboard using pre-programmed microprocessors. Key analysis results as well as Data Quality Assurance (DQA) information are relayed to shore. Additional data processing and quality control are performed onshore. Several aspects of NDBC's wave data analysis are unique to NDBC because of onboard analysis and NDBC's detailed consideration of buoy hull-mooring response functions.
This NDBC Technical Document is derived from contract deliverable CSC/ATD-91-C-002 which was completed in its original form in May 1994. While minor editorial changes have been made, the content has not been changed. Therefore, any improvements or changes in NDBC wave measurement systems and data analysis procedures since May 1994 are not included in this report. Appendix A contains definitions and acronyms used in this report.