The New Zealand navy has launched a research buoy in the sub-Antarctic Southern Ocean to help a study on how ships can navigate mammoth waves known as the “liquid Himalayas”, the media reported.
The moored wave buoy was launched about 10 km south of the remote Campbell Island, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) said on Thursday.
Offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Otago launched the buoy while on a resupply mission to the island, home of six species of albatross and the world’s rarest duck.
The buoy was part of a collaborative project between the Defence Technology Agency, which is a business unit of the NZDF, and a private meteorology and oceanography consultancy.
DTA researcher Sally Garrett said the it would be used to gather data like wave height and wave direction over the next six months.
“Southern Ocean waves are described by sailors as ‘liquid Himalayas’ and remain largely unstudied, including our ability to forecast them,” Garrett said in a statement.
“The wave buoy will characterize what waves are present, and this information will help us assess how well our forecasting models are predicting these waves.”
Commodore Jim Gilmour, the Maritime Component Commander, said the data gathered by the buoy would be transmitted back to New Zealand and studied, and would be used to help design the navy’s third offshore patrol vessel.
“The data will be useful because waves affect all facets of operation in the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea, from the design of ships to day-to-day planning,” Gilmour added.