Lab 6.1 – How do atmospheric conditions at the ocean surface change?

Fundamental concept: Identify relationship between barometric pressure and wind speed
Estimated time to complete: 15 minutes
Data skills preparation: Lab 2.1 – Time series
Materials needed: None

Your objective for this activity is to use OOI data to examine how the atmospheric conditions above the ocean change. Specifically we will look at barometric pressure and wind speed at the ocean surface for a one-week period (January 1 – January 7, 2018).

In the interactive graphs below, use the sliders below the graph to zoom or pan to different portions of the time series. Hover over data points to view their numeric value in the legend in the upper right of the graph.

Barometric Pressure


Orientation Questions:

  1. What is the maximum and minimum barometric pressure during this week?
  2. What is the day and time when the maximum and minimum occur?
  3. What is the barometric pressure on January 3, 2018 at 1800?
  4. Describe the changes, if any, to barometric pressure between January 1 and the end of January 4.


Barometric Pressure and Wind Speed


  1. What is the maximum and minimum wind speed during this time period?

Interpretation Questions:

  1. When the storm passed over the instruments from January 4 to January 6, was the relationship between barometric pressure and wind speed positive (e.g., both increasing or decreasing) or negative (one increasing and one decreasing)?
  2. Recall that winds are generated by air moving from high pressure to low pressure. If the barometric pressure had dropped more on January 4th (e.g., to 945 mbar), do you think the winds would be weaker or stronger?
  3. As wind speed increased on January 4th, what do you think happened to the height of the waves at the location of the buoy?