NSW Government improves destructive storm response with Internet of Things

Sydney buoy measures largest individual wave ever recorded along the NSW coast at 14.9 metres

The NSW Government is using the Internet of Things to help improve the state's response to destructive coastal storms.

Motion sensor buoys deployed along the NSW coastline are recording long-term wave data in a bid to determine onshore wave conditions and identify associated coastal hazards.

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, said a network of seven motion sensor buoys, located several kilometres off the coast had been deployed.

Dominello recently visited Manly Hydraulics Laboratory, where engineers and scientists from NSW Public Works, are analysing historical data captured along NSW’s 1200-kilometre coastline to determine the relationship between inshore and offshore wave conditions.

“The NSW Public Works monitoring program was originally developed in response to destructive storms during the 1970s and was designed to provide reliable, long-term wave data statistics for coastal design and management,” he said.

“Offering up to 40 years of continuous wave history, the NSW Coastal Data and Flood Program has developed one of the world’s most comprehensive ocean wave datasets.

“The Waverider project is enabling surfers, divers, lifesavers, fishermen and boat operators to access real-time offshore wave data via the Manly Hydraulics Laboratory website.”

On April 21 the Sydney buoy measured the largest individual wave ever recorded along the NSW coast at 14.9 metres and the longest duration (30 hours) where storm waves exceeded six metres.

Continuous monitoring of data from the Sydney buoy began in 1987.

Data from the Waverider buoys is regularly used by the Bureau of Meteorology to issue marine warnings and by State Emergency Services to inform its response to coastal storms.

Buoys are currently located at Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Crowdy Head, Sydney, Port Kembla, Batemans Bay and Eden.

They send data about the height, direction and sequence of offshore waves to onshore recording stations by radio.

Environment Minister, Mark Speakman, said the Office of Environment and Heritage had started a new project to provide data on the wave climate at individual beaches.

Speakman said the State Wide Inshore Wave Transformation Project would allow nearshore wave conditions and associated coastal hazards to be more precisely characterised along the entire NSW coast.

“This is a long-term project which will help us to more accurately predict wave conditions at local beaches and prioritise coastal management responses,” he said.