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TAO Performance Improves

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has successfully completed the second of six cruises scheduled for this calendar year to service the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) array in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) field service team aboard M/V Bluefin, which is under contract with NOAA, replaced eight TAO buoys in the eastern part of the array on longitudes 95W and 110W, from the equator to latitude 8N. The first cruise that NDBC conducted was in April on NOAA research vessel Ron Brown that restored five TAO buoys on the southern section of the 95W and 110W lines.

Availability of the TAO array has suffered since 2012 after NOAA was forced due to funding challenges to lay up its research vessel Ka'imimoana, which had been dedicated for servicing TAO.

Performance of the TAO array has improved dramatically from the 28% low in March to above 40% at the end of June.

NOAA has four more TAO service cruises planned through December 2014, with the NDBC field service team on M/V Bluefin in August and NOAA research vessel Ron Brown in September, October and November. NOAA expects the data availability of the TAO array to be at the target 80% after the final cruise is complete.

Photo of TAO buoy beign retrieved to ship