NOAA UNVEILS NEW WEB SITE FOR MONITORING AND TRACKING SEA LEVEL CHANGES
February 10, 2003 — Coastal zone managers, climate researchers and the general public now have an easier and faster way to find the latest information on nation-wide sea level variations and trends. Developed by the NOAA Ocean Service’s Center for Operational Products and Services, Sea Levels Online is a user friendly Internet-based application that allows for the search and display of long-term trends, averages and anomalies (irregularities in a trend). Sea Levels Online became operational February 3. (Click NOAA image to get the latest sea level information around the USA.)
Unlike other sea level information, Sea Levels Online is updated monthly, contains more locations of water level information than any other site, and provides unique calculations of the relationship between sea level rise and land movement.
Users can enter the name of one of NOAA’s 117 coastal water level stations and receive the calculated mean (average) sea level (MSL) trend, anomalies, the period of data on which the trend was based, and a graph showing the MSL time series. The Web site includes links to additional plots where users can view seasonal cycles, the inter-annual variations, and decade variations of 50-year trends of various stations. CO-OPS has collected water level data since the mid-19th century. These data are the foundation of Sea Levels Online.
Due to the onset of El Niño, Sea Levels Online will be extremely important and timely this year to climate researchers and coastal zone managers on the Pacific Coast. El Niño is creating unusual trends in water levels, which in turn is increasing the highest water levels reached by coastal storms. Managers and researchers can use this new tool for many types of coastal planning, including the placement of sea walls, restoring natural resources such as marshes, and locating land to begin construction.
Mike Szabados, director of CO-OPs wants to be clear that Sea Levels Online can benefit everyone. “Sea Levels Online allows anyone who lives or works along the coast to see how trends may be affecting their area. ”This product can help identify areas that are more vulnerable to coastal flooding due to sea level rise, or assist emergency managers with long-term planning in finding flood evacuation routes.”
The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services collects, analyzes and distributes historical and real-time observations and predictions of water levels, coastal currents and other meteorological and oceanographic data. The center manages the National Water Level Observation Program, the national network of Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Systems ® in major U.S. harbors, and the National Current Observation Program.
NOAA is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. The NOAA Ocean Service, which includes the Center for Operational Products and Services, balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.