About

Department of Environment Land Water and Planning is working with expert oceanography partners and marine scientists from Deakin University, the University of Melbourne and advisors from CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology to determine the optimal location for a network of wave buoys off Victoria’s open coast. Now that the buoys have been acquired and moored in the ocean, the data will allow downscaled models of how climate change will affect Victoria’s future wave climate.

The wave buoy network is made up of two different types of buoys. At Cape Bridgewater1 (west coast), Wilson’s Promontory (central Bass Strait) and Lakes Entrance1 (east coast) we have large Triaxys buoys. These are 0.9m in diameter and measure the three components of acceleration of the buoys using accelerometers. These buoys also measure currents throughout the water column. Data is sent via mobile phone or satellite links from these buoys. It is planned that these buoys will be located at these sites for an initial period of two years.

At sites closer to shore, we have small SOFAR Spotter buoys. These buoys measure the wave motions using GPS positioning and transmit their data via satellite. These nearshore buoys are being used to understand how the deepwater waves are transformed as they approach the shore. As such, these buoys will likely be moved approximately every 6 months. At Cape Bridgewater we have a Triaxys and a Spotter buoy side-by-side as an intercomparison test as part of a new technology proving program funded by the Integrated Marine Observing System.

Our research team are developing high resolution computer models to forecast wave conditions along the Victorian coast and are using the network to validate this computer modelling.

The full network is part of a major study being funded by the Victorian Government to predict the impacts of climate change on Victoria’s coasts as part of the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program. This project involves the modelling of waves, currents, tides and storm surges along the coast. This data is then used to drive models of coastal flooding and beach erosion. This complex set of computer models is validated against recorded data and then used to project changes to 2100.