Introduction
Ocean Observing for Marine Operations
GCOOS Product Examples
Other Product Examples
Feedback
References


Introduction

The overall goal of the GCOOS is to empower people, communities, and businesses to improve decision-making about our lives, work, and play along the Nation’s Gulf Coast. The aim of the Marine Operations focus area is to facilitate safe and efficient marine transportation. Human activities under this focus include: recreational boating, fishing and diving; search and rescue; commercial fishing; marine transportation and shipping; dredging activities; extraction of offshore mineral and energy resources, including oil and gas operations, wind farms and other emerging energy extraction processes; and associated infrastructure impacted by water level trends. With respect to shipping alone, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2010):

  • Twelve of the top 20 U.S. ports by 2010 tonnage are in the Gulf (see Figure 1);
  • 68% of the total 2010 tonnage from the top 20 ports came through Gulf ports; and
  • Texas and Louisiana ranked #1 and #2, respectively, in U.S. waterborne traffic in 2010.

Figure 1. The Gulf has 12 of the U.S.’s 20 Largest Ports by Tonnage, 2010. The Port of Mobile Bay, one of the Gulf’s 12, is shown here. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2010)

Needs related to safe and efficient marine transportation include, for example:

  • Efficient search and rescue to find lost boaters in rough seas;
  • Monitoring tide, water level, wind in ports to ensure commercial vessels enter and exit safely and efficiently; and
  • Improving hurricane intensity estimates and tracking for improved evacuation warnings.

GCOOS plays an important role in collecting relevant data and developing specialized data products for marine operations.


Ocean Observing for Marine Observations

To help meet these needs, ocean observations are needed on:

  • Water depths in harbors, ports and transit areas;
  • Accurate locations of shorelines;
  • Water level elevation;
  • Surface waves, currents, and winds;
  • Visibility; and
  • Forecasts of weather (with particular emphasis on storms), water level, waves, currents, and visibility.

GCOOS is helping to provide these observations and data products.

Figure 2. Recreational boaters enjoying the Gulf. Recreational fishers provided over 44% of the recreational catch in the U.S. in 2009 (NOAA, 2011. The Gulf of Mexico at a Glance: A Second Glance)

Figure 2. Recreational boaters enjoying the Gulf. Recreational fishers provided over 44% of the recreational catch in the U.S. in 2009 (NOAA, 2011. The Gulf of Mexico at a Glance: A Second Glance)


Figure 3. Sperm whale near an offshore oil platform. Photo credit: Gulf of Mexico Sperm Whale Seismic Study (SWSS) (U.S. Minerals Management Service, 2002).

Figure 3. Sperm whale near an offshore oil platform.
Photo credit: Gulf of Mexico Sperm Whale Seismic Study (SWSS) (U.S. Minerals Management Service, 2002).


 


GCOOS Products Examples

The following listing includes examples of GCOOS products related to Marine Operations. Most GCOOS products include mobile map versions.

  Boater Interactive Map – an interactive map with information relevant to boaters, including nautical charts, currents, tides, winds, and more
  Certified Clean Marina Interactive Map – an interactive map of Clean Marinas in the Gulf of Mexico, certified by NOAA for using good environmental practices.
  GCOOS Data Portal – for current conditions on in situ (air temperature, air pressure, relative humidity, water temperature, salinity, winds, dissolved oxygen, solar radiation, water level) and remotely sensed (currents) data.
  Hurricane Tracker Map – interactive map on hurricanes and other storm events.
  Recent Observations – for recent observations at stations; images on surface conditions for sea surface pressure, sea surface temperature, air temperature, and winds at 10 m depth and above; and images of sub-surface currents for 2-600 m depth.
  Model Forecasts – for forecast images and animations on weather, waves-currents-surge, sea surface temperature and more.
  Shoreline Data – shoreline data from three different programs: Global Self-consistent Hierarchical High-Resolution Shoreline, NOAA, and USGS
  Satellite Data Images – for images of sea surface temperature, chlorophyll, water vapor, visible, low cloud (lower atmospheric) conditions, and more.
  Real-Time High Frequency Radar Data in the Northeastern Gulf – for real-time data on surface currents in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico
  Real-Time High Frequency Radar Data in the Eastern Gulf – for real-time data on surface currents in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
  Oil Spill Resources – page summarizing oil spill resources at GCOOS and externally, with current conditions, forecasts, and observations
  Modeling Information Sheet – information on GCOOS modeling efforts.
  GCOOS Information Sheet: A Tale of Two Industries…and Hurricanes


Other Product Examples

NOAA CSC Data Sets – including bathymetric, LIDAR, benthic habitats, and more
NOAA Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Data System (PORTS)
Colorado Center for Atmospheric Research (CCAR) Near-Real Time Sea Surface Height Images for the Gulf of Mexico


Your Feedback

What products would help you? Please send us your feedback.


References

NOAA. 2011. The Gulf of Mexico at a Glance: A Second Glance, http://stateofthecoast.noaa.gov/gulfreport.html.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Navigation Data Center. 2010. Waterborne Commerce of the United States, Part 5, National Summaries. http://www.ndc.iwr.usace.army.mil/wcsc/wcsc.htm.