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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

May 15, 2013
Jay Austin | Associate Professor of Physics | Large Lakes Observatory | 218 726-8773 |
Cheryl Reitan | Associate Director of External Affairs | 218 726-8996 |
Lori Melton | Communication Associate | External Affairs | 218 726-8830 |

LLO Buoy Data Pours In

UMD's Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) deployed its meteorological buoys last week in Lake Superior and the data is already pouring in. The crew of scientists and students spent a day on Lake Superior on the research vessel The Blue Heron dropping three buoys at different points around the lake. "We are providing real time data on a website from one of the near shore Lake Superior meteorological buoys," said UMD physics professor Jay Austin. Crucial measurements such as air temperature, water temperature, shortwave radiation, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and current conditions are updated hourly for the world to view. The National Weather Service is using the data to improve their coastal forecasting ability in western Superior.

The LLO buoys that bob about on Lake Superior are part of a larger array of instrumentation that LLO will be deploying around Lake Superior this summer. The focus of the research is developing a better understanding of the thermal structure of Lake Superior, how it varies across the lake, and how it varies from year to year. LLO is especially interested in the role that ice plays in the year-to-year development of the lake.

See the data at

The Blue Heron has helped the scientists at LLO and institutions around the world conduct research in Lake Superior for over 16 years. The boat has a variety of sophisticated instruments used by on board scientists to study everything from climate change, glacial outflow, water currents, and turbulence. LLO is mapping the shore of Lake Superior and other Great Lakes. Some of LLO's most prominent contributions to scientific inquiry have come from data collected from core samples of sediment drilled from the lake's bottom.

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