NOAA Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis
Transition from PMEL to NDBC

The transition of operational responsibility for the DART tsunameter network from PMEL to NDBC began in the late summer of 2001. During the fall of 2001, a team of NDBC personnel visited PMEL in Seattle, Washington to exchange information and establish a time line and milestones to complete the transition. During subsequent visits in the Spring of 2002, NDBC personnel increased familiarity with the system, developed operational documents, and worked with PMEL technicians to assemble and test surface buoys and prepare bottom pressure recorders (BPR's) for the June 2002 cruise to service the network.

During this first transition phase, PMEL conducted 2002 field season operations with the assistance of, and observation by NDBC personnel. On June 14, 2002 a team of NDBC and PMEL personnel departed from Kodiak, Alaska aboard the R/V Maurice Ewing to service the five North Pacific Systems; three in the Gulf of Alaska, and two off of the U.S. Oregon Coast. Pre-cruise preparations included the assembly and testing of two complete systems to replace existing systems in the field. Typical field servicing operations included the release and recovery of the BPR followed by deployment of a replacement BPR. In addition, the surface buoy at each site was recovered and replaced with a refurbished surface buoy. Upon completion of on-site diagnostic testing, the vessel transited to each station in succession until all had been serviced. During the transit period between stations, the teams performed a complete field refurbishment of the buoy and BPR including replacing external sensors and cables, replacing batteries, and performing any necessary engineering upgrades.


Figure 1. - Deployment

During the course of the cruise, NDBC and PMEL personnel worked together to meet operational needs. By the end of the cruise, the NDBC team was confident in their ability to perform all operations related to recovery, deployment, and refurbishment of a DART System. Under the supervision of PMEL personnel, NDBC personnel conducted all operations at the final station, 46404. The cruise concluded successfully in Astoria, Oregon on July 2, 2002. Figure 1 shows a tsunameter surface buoy being deployed by NDBC and PMEL personnel.

The second phase of the transition was begun in early 2003. In this phase, logistical responsibility for the network, including the purchasing of capital and expendable equipment necessary to maintain the network was transferred to NDBC. In January 2003, NDBC personnel successfully serviced Equatorial Station D125 (46406). The June 2003 servicing cruise was completed by NDBC with assistance from PMEL personnel and full network servicing operation responsibility was assumed by NDBC at the end of fiscal year 2003.

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