The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates a network of automated moored buoys in the oceans whose installation began in the early 1970s. What began as a research and development program consolidating independent U.S. buoy projects, by the mid-1980s evolved into an operational activity when the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) was moved into NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS). Except for a few reimbursable projects requiring ocean data, little effort was placed on sustained ocean monitoring, as NDBC focused upon satisfying NWS' mission requirements. NOAA's recent direction to become a “matrix” organization is leading to greater utilization of assets across its line offices. NDBC and its Marine Observing Network (MON) of moored buoys and fixed stations have become recognized as NOAA assets that can help meet NOAA-wide strategic goals. This paper describes some of NDBC's history and the future role it can play as part of a federal “backbone” system to support scientific needs of the community that works in the oceans.
The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.