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Sixty–Foot Record Wave Recorded During Hurricane Ophelia

18th October 2017
The Locations of the Irish Marine Weather Buoy Network. M5 buoy off the South East Coast recorded 18m high waves this week The Locations of the Irish Marine Weather Buoy Network. M5 buoy off the South East Coast recorded 18m high waves this week

Record wave heights were captured by the Irish Weather Buoy Network during Hurricane Ophelia on Monday 16th October, causing one of the five weather buoys to break it moorings.

The highest wave was recorded off the Irish coastline at 16.00 on Monday when the M5 weather buoy off the South East coast, measured a record individual wave (Hmax) of 17.81m* and a record significant wave height (Hs) of 12.97m **.

The M5 weather buoy subsequently broke away from its mooring and the Marine Institute coordinated the retrieval process as a matter of urgency. The M5 was recovered yesterday by the MV Puffin of Fastnet Shipping (Waterford) and brought ashore last night.

As Ophelia moved northwards, the M2 buoy to the east of Dublin also experienced a record significant wave height (HS )** of 6.64m measured at 18.00 on Monday 16th.

baltimore beaconWaves lash the Baltimore beacon in West Cork during Storm Ophelia. Photo: Youen Jacob
Earlier in the day, at 12.00, the M3 buoy, off the South West coast measured an individual wave height of 13.59m, although this was not a record wave for this buoy.

In addition to measuring the waves, the weather buoy network, which is managed by the Marine Institute provides further vital atmospheric (including wind speed) and oceanographic information to support both maritime safety and, importantly in storm events such as Ophelia, help to validate the weather forecast models run by Met Éireann providing guidance to the national emergency planning efforts.

The Irish Weather Buoy Network is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The buoy network also provides operational ocean models, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research. The network is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann, the UK Met Office and the Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS). Real time data from the network can be found here.

Published in Marine Science
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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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