New buoys will monitor water quality off Honolulu

Eric De Carlo
Eric De Carlo

By Howard Dashefsky - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Surfers and swimmers have some company in the water off Oahu's South shore. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched two new buoys.

They will monitor dioxide and oxygen in the ocean and in the atmosphere helping scientists to better understand the exchange of carbon dioxide between the ocean and the atmosphere.

Although NOAA has launched several open ocean buoys,  the two newest devices are part of the Hawaii ocean coastal observing system.

Specifically designed to monitor water quality issues such as mud, salt and land pollution.

For that reason UH Oceanography professor Eric De Carlo says the buoys will be strategically positioned.

"We are placing one right at the end of the Ala Wai". The second buoy will be positioned just off Point Panic near Kewalo Basin.

"So it will be interesting to see if the material that comes out from the Ala Wai as it comes past our buoy does it makes it way all the way do to Kewalo and does it have an impact that far".

De Carlo is hoping to keep these buoys in the water for at least the next three years.

He says the longer scientists get to monitor our coastal waters, the better they'll be able to manage the resource.

"For us this is very exciting" says De Carlo.  "Because were not only rendering a public service, but we're doing both locally relevant science as well as globally relevant science."

By having the buoys in the water continuously, scientists will gain more accurate readings of water quality. And if there is a change in the water, De Carlo says they'll know it immediately.

"in the past we would run down and grab a water sample after a sewage spill or other event. Now we'll have immediate readings before, during and after and pollution related event".