Wellington Harbour Buoy
Photo: Stu Mackay NIWA
WRIBO is a high-tech surface buoy and string of instruments deployed to help us to understand the effects of the biggest freshwater inflow into Wellington Harbour – the Hutt River. WRIBO will help us to make links between freshwater and marine environments, and to assess the impacts of land-based activities on water quality.
WRIBO – Wellington Regional Integrated Buoy Observations - is a joint programme with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
Deployed in July 2017 south east of Matiu/Somes Island, WRIBO carries a number of instruments which will feed back real-time, publically-available data. Its instruments measure currents, waves, salinity, temperature, sediment, oxygen, chlorophyll, ocean acidification and wind.
A high-visibility yellow buoy, WRIBO is three metres high and powered by solar panels.
The buoy is fitted with a variety of instruments to analyse harbour conditions at different depths. After periods of heavy rain, plumes from Hutt River carry sediments and nutrients from the Hutt catchment to Wellington Harbour. These river plumes are generally only one to two metres thick, so one instrument is positioned just below the surface of the water, with additional instruments throughout the water column and close to the seabed to measure changes in water quality and the speed and direction of water movement.
A key focus for Greater Wellington is making the data accessible to the public, and that information will start being streamed in real-time in the weeks following the buoy’s deployment. In the longer term, Greater Wellington hopes to see the data sit alongside information from other buoys across New Zealand, forming a national network.
GWRC and NIWA have worked together to set up an initial data delivery link from WRIBO to the public, which can be accessed through the Environmental Monitoring webpage.
To view WRIBO’s data, go to Environmental Monitoring webpage, tick the ‘WQ/Marine’ box in the map section, select the icon in the middle of Wellington Harbour (or just type in WRIBO in the site selector box), and then select your measurement of interest from the drop down list. Please note that this data is in raw form and has not undergone quality control processing.
This displays data from the surface weather and wave station, as well as the water quality data from instruments sitting at 1m below the surface. Data from other depths will come online soon, so watch this space!
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