Croatian Adriatic Now Totally Covered by Meteorological-Oceanographic Buoys

Lauren Simmonds

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As Morski writes, the final (more precisely the fifth) meteorological-oceanographic buoy from the State Hydrometeorological Institute (DHMZ) was placed recently at a location near the Blitvenica lighthouse, not far from the island of Zirje in the Sibenik archipelago. This completes the construction of the state network of meteorological-oceanographic buoys in the Croatian Adriatic, which represents an important segment of the DHMZ’s strategic project called METMONIC, which works to modernise the meteorological observation network in the Republic of Croatia.

A total of five meteorological-oceanographic buoys are now anchored in various locations in the Croatian Adriatic, which will provide reliable data on the state of the atmosphere and the sea. This, they say from the aforementioned institute, will significantly contribute to the safety of life, maritime traffic and all sorts of activities at sea, and will be an important support for the timely warning system for potentially dangerous weather conditions.

”Our sea measurement network is currently the most modern system for measuring meteorological and oceanographic conditions in the entire Adriatic. The value of all five meteorological-oceanographic buoys with their integration IT platform, modular software packages for remote control and their anchor lines, stands at 12,345 million kuna, and is part of a strategic project whose total value exceeds the four-year budget of the DHMZ.

The METMONIC project will significantly modernise and improve our work through the introduction of state-of-the-art technologies and equipment. Meteorological and oceanographic data from these buoys placed in the Croatian Adriatic will enable the development of an operational prognostic oceanographic-meteorological system in the coming period. Its establishment and continuous maintenance will improve the safety of maritime navigation, support adaptation to climate change, offer protection against the pollution of the Croatian Adriatic, aid search and rescue operations at sea, and potentially help with other activities as well,” pointed out the head director of the DHMZ, Branka Ivancan-Picek, PhD.

After Vis, Palagruza, Molunat and Kvarner, the last buoy was placed at the aforementioned Blitvenica lighthouse location, which was also one of the most demanding locations to place a buoy due to having to anchor it on a steep area and at the greatest depth of 211 metres, which represents a record for anchoring in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. After the anchoring of these buoys, there will be a period of test work (which will last around twelve months), after which the established network of buoys will enable the DHMZ to collect all kinds of important meteorological and oceanographic data from out in the open sea.

Data from the buoys will be available to users through the Central Integration Platform, which is also being developed within the METMONIC project. The buoys, which represent an independent object at sea, carry systems for measuring meteorological parameters, surface and deep sea oceanographic parameters, as well as maritime navigation, electrical supply and telecommunications. The buoys are equipped with dual meteorological sensors, surface wave gauges and current metres that probe sea currents up to a depth of 150 metres.

All this will enable the continuous collection of data such as air and sea temperatures, relative humidity levels, air pressure, wind speed and direction, as well as solar radiation and surface waves at locations where only occasional measurements have been made so far.

”All of the measurement data from the buoys will be sent in hourly and three-hourly messages via GSM or satellite communication to the reception centre in the Service Regional Centre for the Croatian Adriatic, at the DHMZ’s Regional Meteorological Office in the City of Split. This will enable the provision of timely and detailed meteorological and oceanographic information to seafarers, boaters and all interested users, and for the first time in Croatian history, measurement data from the buoys will be transmitted in real time to all ships with AIS radio systems near the buoys. Light signaling and passive radar reflectors on the buoys will also contribute to safety at sea,” explained the head of the METMONIC project, Stjepan Ivatek-Sahdan.

The installation of meteorological-oceanographic buoys is part of the Project to Modernise the Meteorological Monitoring Network in Croatia – METMONIC, which the DHMZ has been implementing since back in October 2017, and whose completion is scheduled for the end of June 2023.

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