Operational Location

The buoy is currently being constructed in several parts by subcontractors in Maryland. All integration and testing will be completed by October and the buoy will be shipped by container ship to New Zealand. Following deployment by the ship RV Tangaroa, the buoy will remain at the HAARP magnetic conjugate point 56.19 deg. South, 173.80 deg. East. This spot is 280 nautical miles from the nearest land -- the uninhabited Campbell Island and about 600 nautical miles from New Zealand.

The chart below shows the deployment location and the planned voyage track of Tangaroa.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions in the 'screaming fifties' are well known to be among the worst on the world's oceans. We restricted our deployment window to the months of December and January in order to have the best chance of a successful deployment. After that, the buoy will be on its own. Below is a wave height forecast produced by the U.S. Navy / NOAA WW3 Model that shows a system moving directly through the deployment location in January 2003. Click here for up the current South Pacific wave conditions.

Icebergs are one unlikely possibility. BYU's Iceberg Tracking Database monitors major icebergs from the point they they break off of the Antarctic continent. Try this link if you would like to learn more or see the latest iceberg tracks in the Ross Sea.

Currents Fortunately expected to be less than one knot, however measurements have never been made in this area.
Wave Height Greater than 12 feet between 30% and 50% year round. Swells can average 12 feet on top of that.
Wind Speed Gale conditions 10% to 30% of the time year round (Beufort 8).
Icing Concerns Sea spray icing can occur on exposed surfaces during colder months. The fiberglass antenna housing will help with this potential problem.
Ice Bergs Yes, it’s a possibility. Buoy is below maximum drift of icebergs eleven months out of the year -- by as far as 20° latitude.
Wave >12ft. expectancy 20% 30% 36% 45%
Icebergs? Yes Yes No Yes
Beufort 8 Gales % 5% 8% 13% unreported
Air Temperature 6 C 8 C 7 C 3 C

Remote Images

We are planning to employ three cameras on the buoy and hope to offer probably some of the first images from this region taken during the winter months. They should be interesting.

HomeScience BackgroundProject ScheduleSystem DesignPeopleLocationImages