Waves and other Moored Marine Buoy Observations

The Government of Canada has been collecting, processing, archiving and disseminating surface gravity wave data on behalf of Canadians since 1970. The Oceanography and Scientific Data (OSD) branch databases contain over 6 million observed wave spectra from over 500 locations in the Canadian area of interest (35 to 90 degrees North and 40 to 180 degrees West), as well as meteorological and marine surface parameters, all of which are available for direct download from this web site.

Please see the overview for more programme detail.


The Canadian Wave Climate Study was established in 1968 by the Department of Public Works and the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (now Public Works and Government Services Canada and National Resources Canada, respectively). The Study was transferred to the Marine Environmental Data Service (MEDS) in 1971 (under Environment Canada, then Fisheries and Oceans Canada from 1979 onward) which operated the field program of wave acquisition until 1986. The unit corresponding to MEDS was eventually transferred to the OSD branch of DFO in 2013.

Data from the Environment Canada network of moored marine buoy observations, which includes measurement of wave parameters, were incorporated from 1987 onwards. The current data source for the Environment Canada moored buoys is the US National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Geostationary Satellite Server (GOES). Buoy Status Reports are also used to determine whether buoys are on or off location.

In addition to providing access to historical MEDS wave data and data measured by Environment Canada buoys, OSD acquires wave measurements made near petroleum drilling or production installations as required per the guidelines pursuant to the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act in delayed-mode. Prior to the establishment of these guidelines, the original wave climate study had entered into joint programs with drilling operators in the 1970s which lead to data acquisition at drilling sites.

OSD also acquires data from wave buoys deployed during certain co-location experiments.

OSD performs a quality inspection of each observed wave spectra prior to add it in the database. Flags are assigned to records depending on the quality of derived parameters and/or buoy position problems. Quality control is performed by examining the energy distribution of the power spectrum and comparing relative values of significant wave height and peak period between neighboring buoys.

Data and Products

MSC Buoy Status Reports

Publications and Documentation

Important Messages

  • No Current Notices