New weather buoys anchored in Port Valdez

Screen capture of the weather buoy data available online.

A new weather buoy has been anchored at Port Valdez to collect data to improve understanding of the meteorological and physical oceanographic environment at the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company Valdez Marine Terminal and Valdez Duck Flats.

The announcement from the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council on May 28 noted that the council has been working with regional partners toward deploying the buoys.

PWSRCAC is mandated by Congress to study wind and water currents and other environmental factors in the area of the Alyeska terminal which may affect the ability to prevent, respond to, contain and clean up an oil spill. The aim is to improve understanding of conditions in Port Valdez that could impact marine vessel safety and movement of spilled oil, as well as aid in decisions regarding timing of protected environmentally sensitive sites in the area.

The first buoy was recently anchored off Jackson Point at the terminal in partnership with the Prince William Sound Science Center, Alyeska Pipeline, the city of Valdez and Valdez Fisheries Development Association.  It collects weather data such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction and barometric pressure, plus oceanographic information like surface current direction and speed, wave heights and water temperature. The installation was permitted by several agencies and in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard.

A second buoy is to be deployed near the Valdez Duck Flats once permitted, through a partnership of PWSRCAC, PWSSC, the city of Valdez and VFDA.

The buoys were donated to the council for use in the project by Fairweather Science, a subsidiary of Edison Chouest Offshore.

“Partnerships like these result in collaborative science, which is the best base for providing answers to challenging questions related to planning an effective oil spill response,” said Donna Schantz, executive director of PWSRCAC.

Data from the buoy now in place near the Valdez Marine Terminal is available at pwswx.pwssc.org/MOB1.html.