Wave-rider buoys are capable of being positioned anywhere within beaming distance of a recording station (with an effective operating range of 15 km), constantly recording wave activity in a given area. They measure and record a wide range of mathematical parameters relating to the description of ocean sea state. The aim of this project is to develop enough wave data history to generate a picture of the wave climate of two wave-rider buoys moored off Mackay (see Appendix 1) and to aid the prediction of future expected wave conditions for a malfunctioning outer buoy from the more complete inner buoy recordings, using both statistical analysis and coastal engineering theory.
Some broad inferences and key assumptions could be drawn from the basic relationships resulting from analysis of the data and ocean wave theory. Significant wave heights and periods were highly correlated between the two buoys. The interaction between the significant height and period values for each buoy individually, proved to be quite similar. Shoaling was shown to occur in higher proportion at the inner buoy, which is supported by the fact that it is situated in a shallower water depth. On average, the outer buoy had significant wave heights around 0.07m higher than the inner buoy.
The Wind Data provided was useless for the purposes of estimating the resulting sea conditions, because the nature of the data made it impossible to decipher the difference between local and prevailing conditions. The single biggest hindrance to the long-term predictions from the wave data between two buoys was the missing storm wave data at the outer buoy.
Evidence clearly existed for a few elementary relationships between the two buoys. Looking at the analysis of the data set, it quickly became obvious that we weren’t going to develop the required amount of evidence to conclusively quantify the relationship between the two buoys. Keeping this in mind, the question of whether or not the buoy is to taken out inevitably comes down to an evaluation of the economic costs of putting in the new buoy and the diminishing returns of the buoy’s value due to the missing data.