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Observing System Resources

Federal Observations Providers

National Data Buoy Center :: National Water Level Observation Network :: USGS Stream Gauge Network :: USACOE Wave Data Sites :: USACOE Field Research Facility Data Program

Subregional and Local Observations Providers

Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System :: Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program :: FerryMon :: Neuse River Remote Monitoring and Data Acquisition Project :: Carolinas Coastal Ocean Observing and Prediction System :: South Atlantic Bight Synoptic Offshore Observational Network :: West Florida Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System :: Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System :: East Florida Shelf Information System :: Explorer of the Seas :: SEAKEYS/C–MAN Project :: South Florida Ocean Measurement Center :: Florida Inshore Marine Monitoring and Assessment Program :: National Estuarine Research Reserves




  Met Wind Water Quality Currents Waves Water Level Salinity Water Temp Water Chemistry Bottom Character Habitat Chlorophyll
NDBC X X X X X X   X        
NWLON X X       X X X        
USGS       X X X X X X      
USACOE X X X X X X X X        
CORMP X   X X   X X X   X X  
FerryMon     X       X X X     X
Neuse River X X       X X X X      
Caro-COOPS X X   X X X X X X     X
PORTS X X   X   X X X        
Explorer X X         X X        
SEAKEYS X X       X X X       X
SFOMC       X   X X X        
IMAP     X     X X X X X X X
NERR X X X     X X X X      


Federal Observations Providers


National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) Moored Buoys and C-MAN Stations

NDBC is a NOAA program with moored buoys and onshore/nearshore platforms (C-MAN stations) for oceanographic and meteorological observations. NDBC also deploys drifting buoys. The program is international in scope, but most of the stations are located in the coastal and offshore waters of the U.S. The real-time data is often incorporated into other observing system networks on a regional or local basis.


National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON)

NWLON is a network of tide gauge and water level stations managed by the NOAA NOS Centers for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS). Both U.S. coastal (including the Great Lakes) and international real-time data is available. While the focus is on water level data, ancillary data is collected at many of the stations. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida have approximately twenty-nine data collection stations.


U.S. Geological Survey Stream Gauge Network

The United States Geological Survey has collected water resources data across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Data are collected at major rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, and at wells and springs, depending on the type of data. Surface water data includes more than 850,000 station years of data pertaining to stream levels, reservoir and lake levels, surface water quality, rainfall, and discharge. These data are typically collected by field personnel or relayed by telephone or satellite to offices where it can be processed and stored. The data relayed through the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) are processed in real time and are subsequently often available online to the public within minutes. The NWISWeb provides historical data and real time data are available for selected locations.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) Wave Data Sites

The Prototype Measurement and Analysis Branch (PMAB), part of the USACOE Coastal Hydraulics Laboratory, collects, processes, analyzes, and reports on wave data at a number of sites around the U.S. Currently, data are collected at approximately 25 sites for this program, with 22 stations providing near real-time data online. Historical data are available online for all of the data collection sites.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) Field Research Facility Data Program

The Field Research Facility at Duck, North Carolina, part of the USACOE Coastal Hydraulics Laboratory, collects data on a daily basis. The facility is designed for coastal studies and makes use of a 560-meter long pier extending into the surf zone of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to the routine monitoring and data collection conducted by the staff, research projects by non-military agencies and institutions can be accommodated. Real-time data are available online, as are historical data back to 1980.


Subregional and Local Observations Providers


Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (SEACOOS)

SEACOOS was an information system that collects, manages, and disseminates observations and information products of the coastal ocean off of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

SEACOOS was an effort to develop an umbrella organization to coordinate observing system related activities in the four states. A consortium of 11 institutions from the four states are initiating the program with funding from the Office of Naval Research that began in September 2002 in collaboration with a number of governmental agencies.

Many of the region's existing systems were currently members or affiliates of this regional coordination effort. The assets of the SEACOOS project were turned over to SECOORA as of September 30, 2008.


Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program (CORMP)

CORMP is a research program and observing system in the coastal ocean off the Carolinas. The program is funded by NOAA to provide an inter-disciplinary science-based framework that supports sound public policy, wise coastal use, sustainable fisheries and improved coastal ocean ecosystem health. CORMP is managed by the Center for Marine Science at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. There are currently two moored sites, with plans for adding six moorings in 2001. Additionally, sampling sites exist in the nearshore environment near the mouth of the Cape Fear River and throughout Onslow Bay and Long Bay. CORMP is funded by NOAA through the Coastal Observation Technology System (COTS).



FerryMon was created for daily water quality monitoring of Pamlico Sound through use of the existing ferry lines in the area. A baseline by which to gauge future activity is currently being developed through the monitoring activities. FerryMon is a joint venture between the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, Duke University Marine Laboratory, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division. This partnership has equipped three ferry vessels to monitor Pamlico Sound and its tributaries on three different ferry routes. The ferries are equipped with YSI sensors that sample the water along the ferry routes every three minutes while underway.


Neuse River Remote Monitoring and Data Acquisition Project

The North Carolina State University Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology has set up the first of several weather and water data collection platforms on the Neuse River and estuaries, between New Bern and Pamlico Sound in eastern North Carolina. This project was initiated to collect data relevant to water quality and the toxic dinoflagellate Pfiesteria. Currently there are seven platforms; four collecting both hydrological and meteorological data and three collecting only hydrological data. Nine other platforms are slated for operational status.


Carolinas Coastal Ocean Observing and Prediction System (Caro-COOPS)

The Caro-COOPS project will establish the capacity to monitor and model estuarine and coastal ocean conditions in the Carolinas. Caro-COOPS is designed to integrate real-time monitoring of hydrologic and meteorological conditions with state-of-the-art computer models to characterize and predict complex coupled air-land-sea processes. The Virtual Network Information System (VNIS), a Web-based data and information dissemination hub, will be developed to manage and disseminate data and products resulting from this project.


South Atlantic Bight Synoptic Offshore Observational Network (SABSOON)

SABSOON is a real-time observational network that has been developed on the U.S. Southeastern continental shelf. Eight large offshore platforms, currently operated by the U.S. Navy for flight training, are being instrumented to provide a range of oceanographic and meteorological observations on a continuous real-time basis. This unique system represents a significant resource for the oceanographic community, providing synoptic observations of large scale oceanographic processes in a continental shelf setting in real-time, and allowing the development of an inter-annual to decadal database on ocean atmosphere interactions.


West Florida Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPS)

This observing system is coordinated by the University of South Florida (USF) and consists of numerous observation stations along the western Florida coast. COMPS consists of an array of instrumentation both along the coast and offshore, combined with numerical circulation models, and builds upon existing in-situ measurements and modeling programs funded by various state and federal agencies. In addition, COMPS links to the USF Remote Sensing Laboratory, which collects real-time satellite imagery via its HRPT and X-Band receivers. COMPS is designed to support a variety of operational and research efforts, including storm surge prediction, environmental protection, coastal erosion and sediment transport, red tide research, and hyperspectral satellite remote sensing of coastal ocean dynamics.


Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS)

PORTS is a NOAA NOS program designed to promote safe and efficient maritime navigation. PORTS programs exist for San Francisco Bay, Houston/Galveston, New York/New Jersey Harbor, Chesapeake Bay, Tampa Bay, Narragansett Bay, Anchorage, Soo Locks (Great Lakes), and the Delaware River and Bay (in progress). Some of the PORTS are included as parts of other observing system networks.


East Florida Shelf Information System (EFSIS)

The EFSIS program includes near real time observational data and forecasting products related to wind, sea level, and currents in the EFSIS region.


Explorer of the Seas

The Explorer of the Seas is the first-ever cruise ship outfitted with state-of-the-art ocean and atmospheric science labs. Each week, as the ship cruises, sophisticated instruments placed strategically throughout the ship collect data and send the information to the labs. Some of the data is then sent via satellite to scientists on shore, while other information is processed aboard the ship. The Explorer's repetitive cruise track allows scientists to obtain a continuing series of ocean and atmosphere measurements in the region.



This Florida Institute of Oceanography project, supported by NOAA's South Florida Ecosystem Restoration, Prediction and Modeling Program (SFERPM), makes use of six C-MAN stations in the Florida Keys area and a station in northwest Florida Bay. These stations take additional oceanographic measurements beyond the normal data collected by C-MAN stations. The project has been ongoing since 1989 with a goal of providing long term monitoring along the Florida coral reef tract and in Florida Bay. Near real-time data is available online through the SEAKEYS Web site, and also through the COMPS Web site detailed above. Not all data mentioned below is collected at all stations in the SEAKEYS network.


South Florida Ocean Measurement Center

SFOMC was founded through a partnership involving government and academia. A Congressional grant, along with a combination of other federal and state money is being used to construct this facility, which includes a natural in-water laboratory being built with the guidance of the Office of Naval Research (ONR). This in-water installation is located off shore in Dania, just south of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in an area with a wide variety of environmental conditions. It also includes living reefs and is located where the continental shelf break is only 3 miles from shore.

The laboratory is being built around the existing in-water assets of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, South Florida Testing Facility (SFTF). Hundreds of miles of cables, sensors and high-speed multiplexers are being supplemented with a large number of additional environmental sensors, including several in-water University of South Florida (USF) multi-sensor arrays. When completed, real time environmental data covering the atmosphere through the air/ocean interface and down to the sub-bottom will be available.


Florida Inshore Marine Monitoring and Assessment Program (IMAP)

IMAP, in existence since 1998, conducts ecological monitoring of Florida's inshore marine waters. IMAP is designed as a statewide program, and exists as a collaboration between the Florida Marine Research Institute and the U.S. EPA. The plan calls for sampling of approximately 180 stations once a year, with sample sites rotated each year.


National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR)

The 25 NERR sites, administered by NOAA NOS Office of Coastal and Resource Management (OCRM), Estuarine Reserves Division along with partner states, collect water quality and meteorological data on a sustained basis. The System Wide Monitoring Program began its data collection program in 1995 and added meteorological data collection in 1998. It currently consists of at least four water quality sites in each reserve where data are collected at a minimum of every 30 minutes (nutrients collected monthly). Each Reserve has at least one weather station. Quality assured/quality controlled data are made available on the Web no sooner than one year after collection. Real-time and near real-time data may be available through the research coordinator at a particular reserve, and the system is currently testing a nation-wide quality controlled near real-time system.


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