New wave buoy deployed off Tasmania
East Coast surfers will be the beneficiaries of a recent expansion by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in Tasmania.
The expansion includes a new observations hub built in Hobart to monitor extreme weather across Tasmania and Antartica. Helping to deliver that data are a raft of new weather stations, and one conveniently positioned new wave buoy.
The wave buoy is situated twenty kilometres north-east of Maria Island off Tasmania's East Coast - specific location 42.52S, 148.35E.
Deployed last month, the wave buoy will provide real-time information about wave height and direction for all ocean users, but for East Coast surfers it'll become the first signal for deep south swells moving into the Tasman Sea.
On the East Coast, swells coming from the south-southwest can be tricky to forecast as they move perpendicular to the coastline, increasing the distance spent travelling over the continental shelf - and hence increasing the effect of bathymetry.
Also, swells from that source are usually long period, which again brings little-known bathymetric influences to the fore (longer period swells travels have energy travelling deeper in the water column, meaning they feeling the ocean floor earlier).
Added to the existing array of wave buoys, it's now possible to track these swells just a bit closer.
Tasmania's East Coast is also a junction for two significant swell sources: northeast swells from high pressure ridges, and the aforementioned deep south swells. Very often, the former is quickly followed by the latter, and having a directional spectra on the buoy means both swells can be plotted at once.