Task 3A - P.I. Thomson

Air-deployed wave buoys for hurricane forecast improvements

Team Members


  • Jim Thomson
  • Jacob Davis

Sofar Ocean

  • Pieter Smit
  • Isabel Houghton
  • Tim Janssen


  • Elizabeth Thompson
  • Chris Fairall

U. Colorado / NOAA PSL

  • Gijs de Boer

Team Objectives

Provide real-time observations of hurricane waves and wave forcing that can be ingested by modeling groups through an API to improve forecasts and validate hindcasts. Specifically:

Deploy arrays of Spotter wave buoys from C-130 aircraft 12-48 hours ahead of hurricanes.

Deploy arrays of Air-Deployable Micro Buoys (ADMB) and micro-SWIFT buoys from aircraft during hurricanes, as part of existing operations.

Use Sofar’s API to immediately deliver wave buoy data to operational centers

Describe the wave field surrounding hurricanes.

Compare buoy observations to NOAA WP3D aircraft estimates (WSRA, SFMR)

Optimize buoy array design for assimilation.

Meet Other Teams

Newest Updates

September 7, 2023

Rapid response buoy array airdropped to sample Hurricane Idalia

On Monday, August 28th, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Scientific Development Squadron (VXS-1) airdropped 18 buoys associated with the Task 3A teams of the NOPP Hurricane Coastal Impacts project in the path of Hurricane Idalia.

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November 1, 2022

NHCI highlighted in White House press release

The National Oceanographic Partnership Program’s (NOPP) Predicting Hurricane Coastal Impacts Project (NHCI) was mentioned in a White House press release.

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October 17, 2022

Buoy observations obtained in Hurricane Ian

Following the rapid-response air deployment of an array of buoys in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Ian, team members closely monitored the data collected by the devices.

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