Maryland, USA, 30 June 2006: Iridium is providing satellite data links for a new system of 31 ocean buoys that the U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Data Center is deploying. The NOAA ocean buoy system detects and monitors tsunami waves in the open ocean.
This new, second-generation Deep Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART II) system consists of pressure-sensitive tsunameters on the seafloor, and buoys on the ocean surface. The buoys are equipped with an acoustic modem that receives data from the tsunameter sensors and a small data modem to transmit the pressure measurements. The Iridium constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites transmits the pressure measurements to NOAA warning centers. Using this data, scientists can issue appropriate warnings to areas that may be affected.
The Iridium data link supports two-way data communications, permitting technicians at the warning centers to request tsunameter data from any specific buoy. For instance, the warning center may ask one or more buoys to transmit updates at a faster rate to improve real-time monitoring of a special area of interest.