6 Spotter buoys deployed in the Black Sea

Sofar Ocean

At the Varna branch of the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, research experts are deploying a six-sensor Spotter array to optimize Bulgarian weather, sea, and climate modeling. Buoys stationed along the coast will inform spatial-temporal parameters of hydrometeorological forecasts used by tourism, fishery and aquaculture, port and shipping, natural resource, and coastal hazard sectors around the Black Sea. These industries alone employed 102,962 people and generated €955 million in 2018.

The outbreak of coronavirus hit Bulgaria’s most lucrative maritime industry the hardest; coastal tourism, which contributes 80% of all blue economy jobs, declined by 66% in July 2020. Scientists nationwide are finding metrics to gauge and foster the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and the lasting health of Black Sea ecosystems.

NIMH is one of eight partners of MASRI, an initiative committed to strategy elaboration for sustainable development and management of the Bulgarian coast. MASRI affiliates are collaborating across disciplines on a range of projects to establish a repository of actionable information to be shared regionally and internationally. 

According to Branch Director Ivan Ivanov, “We decided to use the Spotter wave buoys as part of the MASRI project for multiple reasons. The buoys are very affordable, small, lightweight and easy to maintain. The mooring is also convenient to deploy and affordable. The Spotter buoy measures the most important parameters such as spectra wave conditions, sea surface temperature and local wind, which no other buoys can. The real-time access and included dashboard and API are very useful to keep an eye on the data. These advantages allowed us to deploy multiple buoys instead of one more expensive traditional buoy."

The investigations, applied science, and expert activities aim to establish maritime research infrastructure, amplify blue growth, and implement marine policy and spatial planning in Bulgaria. MASRI has pioneered explorations in vessel hydrodynamics, geophysical risk assessments, and marine renewable energy. Fortified by investments in ecological restoration, decarbonization, green coastal mitigation strategies, job diversification, and ocean tech, the research published by NIMH and other MASRI partners is setting Bulgaria towards a blue economy fit for the future.

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