10 May 2010

Scientists in Marshalls monitor wave action to learn more about flooding

4:02 pm on 10 May 2010

Scientists in the Marshall Islands have installed a wave monitoring buoy for the first time, to improve the understanding of flooding in low-lying atolls, such as one that inundated the capital, Majuro in December 2008 and left hundreds homeless.

The buoy is part of the University of Hawaii's Sea Grant project, being funded by the United States National Science Foundation.

Scientist Dr Murray Ford, who's at the College of the Marshall Islands in Majuro, says the buoy gives better knowledge of ocean swell conditions and will improve the forecasting of large swell events.

"The buoy's basically a giant floating battery with a very small censor on it. And that censor measures the how much the buoy can move. The buoy can move in three postions east-west, north-south, and up and down. And from the movement of the buoy in these three locations, we can measure how high the waves are, the timing between the waves, and the buoy can also measure the temperature of the water."

Dr Murray Ford.