Comparing IFR Probability with NDBC BuoyCam imagery

June 2nd, 2022 |
GOES-17 IFR Probability fields, 1710 UTC on 2 June 2022 (click to enlarge)

Some National Data Buoy Center buoys do include webcams that provide sky information (link). How well do those observations compare to IFR Probability fields, as shown above in an image from RealEarth? There are three BuoyCams along the Oregon coastline, as shown in the image below, and 3 more offshore that can be compared to the IFR Probability fields above. Consider Buoy 46029, 20 nm offshore of the mouth of the Columbia River, shown below. It shows what appear to be low overcast skies in a region where IFR Probabilities are large. Proceed counterclockwise around the 6 buoys near/offshore Oregon (the one just south of the Oregon/California border is not included here), and you’ll note low clouds are present in most of the BuoyCam observations: Buoy 46089; Buoy 46005; Buoy 46002; Buoy 46015. Only Buoy 46050, along the central Oregon coast, shows multiple breaks in the clouds. This is in a region where IFR Probabilities are smaller!

Webcam observations from Buoy 46029, 1710 UTC on 2 June 2022. Note that the left-most webcam view points towards 90o. (Click to enlarge)

The animation below shows the 6 WebCam observations in sequence. Use these webcams to become more confident in using IFR Probability fields in the open ocean.

Webcam views at 1710 UTC near and offshore from the Oregon Coast (Click to enlarge)