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NOAA Marine Environmental Buoy Database

As part of a data modernization effort, the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) has updated the archival data file format of their Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations and moored (weather) buoys to netCDF. This update facilitates inclusion of additional parameters, as well as improvements to the metadata. On 26 May 2011, NCEI's NOAA Marine Environmental Buoy Database began disseminating NDBC's archival data in these netCDF files, retroactively to the monthly January 2011 data. On 16 March 2017, NCEI converted all available C-MAN/moored buoy data from F291 data file format to netCDF. This enables access to all C-MAN/moored buoy data in a consistent way, including all available data back to February 1970.

Please address any questions or comments to NCEI.info@noaa.gov.
For more information about NDBC's netCDF server and files, see https://dods.ndbc.noaa.gov/.
For more information about netCDF, see https://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/netcdf/*.

This database holds wind, wave, and other marine data collected by the NOAA National Data Buoy Center (NDBC). The data are collected from NDBC moored buoys and from C-MAN (Coastal-Marine Automated Network) stations located on piers, offshore towers, lighthouses, and beaches. Parameters reported by both buoys and C-MAN stations include air temperature and pressure, wind speed and direction, wind gust, and sea surface temperature. The buoys (and a few C-MAN stations located on offshore towers) also report wave data, usually including wave height, wave period, and wave spectra. Since the late 1980s some buoys have reported directional wave spectra. NCEI receives the data from NDBC on a monthly basis, generally 2-3 weeks after the last observation from the given month, and makes them available online.

The above interactive map and related files provide users with detailed information about the positions, period of record and other characteristics of the data in this NCEI database. All buoy data in the NCEI archive may be downloaded through this system. Note: file sizes range from 50 Kbytes to 1.4 Mbytes compressed (300 Kbytes to 5.5 Mbytes uncompressed).

Latest data in the Buoy Data Archive is December, 2023.
Number of "Buoy Months" in the Archive is 61,826.
(Updated February 29, 2024)

Note - two buoys 46023 and 46062 have associated IDs 46b23 and 46b62. The "b" data files contain observations taken by acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs). Data records A (Descriptive Header Record) and E (Subsurface Current Data Record) are used in the files. The "new" buoy id's are treated like all other buoys in that they have their own inventory pages.

Buoy Data General Information Page - provides links to:
  • F291 data format description (format last changed September 1, 2006; document last edited May 30, 2008)
  • Links to documentation and information at National Data Buoy Center
  • Links to real time buoy observations
  • Information about errors, and announcements that are of interest to F291 Buoy data users.

If you are interested in being notified whenever this page is updated, send a brief note to NCEI.info@noaa.gov and ask to be added to the mailing list for the NOAA Marine Environmental Buoy Database.