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Wired Pier - About | Exploratorium Environmental Field Station

Wired Pier - About | Exploratorium Environmental Field Station

The Exploratorium campus at Piers 15 and 17 is home to dozens of environmental sensors, which constantly measure the state of the air, the Bay water, the atmosphere, and other environmental conditions. These sensors are connected to scientific observing programs across the Bay Area and the Pacific coast, making the museum a node in a network of observing systems.

The Wired Pier Environmental Field Station is a project of the Exploratorium’s Environmental Initiative and is based in the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery.

Sensors on top of the Bay Observatory
Several of the Wired Pier sensors are mounted on the roof of the Exploratorium's Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery.

Our research partnerships and observing networks include:

CeNCOOS (Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System)

Focus: Water conditions and Bay surface currents
Organizations: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and UC Davis

Funded by NOAA and based in Moss Landing, California, CeNCOOS brings together a variety of ocean-related data from the central and northern California coasts.

CeNCOOS Data Portal

The CeNCOOS data portal.

BEACON (BErkeley Atmospheric C02 Observation Network)

Focus: Bay Area air quality, including carbon dioxide
Organization: University of California, Berkeley

Rather than use a few very sensitive instruments, UC Berkeley’s BEACON project is building a network of many medium-quality air sensors. Together, they are creating a high-resolution picture of real-time air pollution.

BEACON Network

The BEACON project's home page.

CO2 Coastal & Open Ocean Mooring Network 

Focus: Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and ocean water
Organization: NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

A network of dozens of buoys just like ours are located around the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Each buoy measures carbon dioxide in the ocean water and in the air. Scientists use this data to better understand how the ocean is involved in the carbon cycle on Earth.

PMEL Buoy Moorings Map

NOAA's CO2 Buoy Network data portal

Water Quality and Suspended-Sediment Transport Network

Focus: Bay and Delta water conditions and turbidity
Organization: U.S. Geological Survey

Dozens of sensors across the Bay and Delta measure water quality and turbidity, helping create a picture of the Bay’s tidal cycles and the movement of sediment.

Boundary Layer Network

Focus: Atmospheric profiling (temperature, pressure, humidity)
Organizations: Earth Networks and Scripps Institution of Oceanography

This network of radiometers, which profiles the temperature, pressure, and humidity from ground level up through the atmosphere, helps meteorologists improve local weather forecasts.

Boundary Layer Networks

Physical Oceanography Real-Time System (PORTS)

Focus: Tides, water currents, and weather
Organization: NOAA National Ocean Service

PORTS provides real-time data to cargo ship pilots and other mariners to help them safely navigate through San Francisco Bay and other harbors around the country. This data includes measurements and predictions of water levels, currents, salinity, and weather.



Funder and staff acknowledgments

The Wired Pier Environmental Field Station project is funded in part by the Oak Meadow Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

It was developed by The Exploratorium under award NA14SEC0080002 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The project resulted from the work of many on the Exploratorium staff, including the following:

Adam Prost, Amy Snyder, Barbara del Rio, Donna Linden, Doug Thistlewolf, Eyal Shahar, Gayle Laird, Kate O’Donnell, Kevin Boyd, Lisa Sindorf, Lori Lambertson, Mark Nicola, Mary Miller, Maz Kattuah, Owen Lawrence, Rob Rothfarb, Ron Hipschman, Shafer Mazow, Steve Tung, Susan Schwartzenberg, and Wayne Fidler.

We also appreciated the work of our external partners, including Lynn DeWitt, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Chris Raleigh.