The NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch/PolarWatch program

The NOAA CoastWatch program was established in 1987 to provide easy access for everyone to global and regional ocean satellite data products for use in understanding, managing and protecting ocean and coastal resources and for assessing impacts of environmental change in ecosystems, weather, and climate.

CoastWatch was first started to better understand harmful algal blooms off the East Coast of the US, and explore the use of satellite data to better map and predict those blooms.

Today, the CoastWatch East Coast node routinely produces and distributes daily prediction maps of harmful algal blooms, using satellite data.

The program includes a central office in College Park, MD, and several regional nodes across the US.

CoastWatch central operations helpdesk:

Why CoastWatch today ?

  • Environmental satellite data is underutilized within the‘wet’part of NOAA (NMFS, NOS).

  • Fisheries scientists and managers are often not familiar with the available datasets or how to access and manipulate them.

  • Satellite data can be difficult to access, manipulate and process, particularly for people who have never used it before.

  • Data is available from many sources, often poorly documented, each data access is different.

  • Rigorous ‘data mining’ is needed to match up satellite data with survey or telemetry records.

  • Time-series of satellite data are relatively short compared to many fisheries datasets.

CoastWatch offers several levels of service to help you use datellite data

  • Provide access to datasets through data services (THREDDS, ERDDAP, websites)

  • Develop tools and tutorials to help you interact with the server and use the data

  • Provide training and hands-on assistance

  • Find or create products and tools to address your needs

  • Work directly with you on projects

NOAA Satellite Data Training Course

A 3-day (free!) course was developed. It is aimed at NOAA/university participants who want to learn how to access & use satellite data. The course was developed by Cara Wilson and the late Dave Foley, both at NMFS/SWFSC/ERD, in conjunction with Ted Strub at the Cooperative Institute for Oceanographic Satellite Studies (CIOSS) at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. It was initiated by funding from NOAA’s R&O project at CoastWatch’s West Coast Node in 2006.

The course is now conducted yearly by all CoastWatch regional nodes.

The learning experience goes two ways. From conducting these courses, the CW/OW/PW program gets a better idea of users’ needs and wants, and are better able to address those needs.

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