The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency dedicated to the science of the oceans and atmosphere, and has an active program to place oceanographic buoys in critical bodies of water around the world. To date over 1200 instrumented buoys have been deployed in support of weather forecasting and oceanographic research.

The Chesapeake Bay is one area of interest, due to its important role in marine commerce and as a source of seafood for the regional population.  NOAA endeavors to understand the ecology of the bay by measuring critical water parameters, and correlates these with annual weather patterns, storms, weather anomalies, and human activity. At this location, like many others, it is highly desirable to collect sensor data from the sea floor.  One method to accomplish this is to provide a battery powered wireless subsea node that transmits data periodically or on demand.  This eliminates the need for costly data cables and eliminates the frequent problem of cable breakage due to storms or damage by fishing vessels or vandalism. However in the Chesapeake Bay, as in many bodies of water, the acoustic conditions can be extremely challenging due to reflected acoustic energy and the effects of wave size, speed, and direction.  NOAA had tried wireless acoustic communication systems without success.  But the AquaSeNT OFDM acoustic telemetry system, which can handle such challenging conditions, was deployed in 2012 and has performed well for over two years.

Read the story at NOAA’s web site:  New modem provides more reliable data

And check out NOAA’s live data from the buoys here:  NOAA gooses reef 

We’ve been using AquaSeNT’s acoustic telemetry system in our Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System for more than a year and a half. We’re collecting nine critical measurements on water quality from the bottom of the bay using an integrated sensor, and wirelessly sending it to a surface buoy that makes the data available in real-time through our web site and mobile apps. This is a shallow water, relatively short-range application, and we’ve had difficulties with telemetry in the past due to multipath and noise, especially in challenging sea states and stratification. The AquaSeNT system has performed flawlessly so far on this project and we hope to implement it more broadly in the future.

Doug Wilson, Project Manager, NOAA Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System