The two buoys, which are part-funded by the Scottish government, are part of the WaveNet network around the UK.

They will monitor wave activity around the coastline and the data collected will be used by the Met Office’s Storm Tide Forecasting Service and by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

It is hoped that the extension of WaveNet – which is set to include another two buoys off the west coast of Scotland – will improve coastal flood forecasting and warning systems.

Claire Harley, a SEPA hydrologist, said “This new data will build our knowledge in SEPA and help flood managers develop and improve our coastal flood warning services which will benefit coastal communities affected by flooding.

“There are estimated to be around 27,000 properties at risk from coastal flooding in Scotland, and accurate and timely flood warnings can help to reduce the impact of flooding.”

Storms in Scotland are expected to get more severe and more frequent as a result of climate change, which could increase coastal flooding and storm damage along the coastline.

“Climate change has seen flooding become an increasingly regular threat to communities around Scotland,” Environment Minister Michael Russell said.

“The Scottish government is committed to making our flood risk systems fit for the 21st century so that we can better protect our vulnerable communities.”

The wave buoys being used in the project are known as directional wave riders, which measure wave height, period and direction, along with sea temperature.

This data is transmitted via satellites to the Centre of Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and will be available in near real time on the WaveNet website.

A spokeswoman for CEFAS said the data will also be helpful for fishermen and yachters, and could contribute to data for renewable energy studies.

Kate Martin

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