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NOAA image of nowCoast sample showing available water quality information, as indicated by the green stars, for the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays.Jan 21, 2005 ó In a continuing effort to improve maritime safety and commerce and to monitor physical changes in weather, oceanographic and river conditions, NOAA introduces nowCOAST. nowCOAST is a Web mapping portal providing the coastal community with real-time coastal observations and NOAA forecasts for major U.S. estuaries and seaports, coastal regions and the Great Lakes. With a few simple clicks of their mouse, users will be able to access thousands of real-time observing stations and forecast locations. (Click NOAA image for larger view of nowCoast sample showing available water quality information, as indicated by the green stars, for the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Developed by the NOAA Ocean Service's Coast Survey Development Laboratory, nowCOAST's real-time observations include meteorological, oceanographic, hydrological and water quality data from federal, state and educational observing networks on land and water. The NOAA forecasts include NOAA National Weather Service marine and weather forecasts, atmospheric, oceanographic, and river forecast guidance from NWS computer models, as well as oceanographic forecast guidance from National Ocean Service estuarine forecast models.

"nowCOAST is a valuable tool for safety and commerce, providing easily accessible and up-to-date information for everyone," said NOAA Ocean Service Assistant Administrator Richard W. Spinrad. "Mariners, students and those living in coastal communities will appreciate the convenience of finding all of this information at one Web site."

nowCOAST includes four pull down menus, allowing the user to specify location, type of observation or forecast, variables (e.g. water level, air temperature, wave height); and time. Users control geographic location through standard Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools, including zooming in and out to change map scale; using the pan tool to move to specific locations; and overlaying different datasets for comparison purposes, such as marine forecasts and coastal observations. By combining these capabilities, nowCOAST provides a rapid way to discover and view a wide range of real-time observational and NOAA forecast information.

Without nowCOAST, Internet users must locate and bookmark numerous Web pages to access NOAA's online forecast products as well as real-time observations from different NOAA branches, other federal agencies, and stations operated by state agencies and universities. The nowCOAST Web portal eliminates these time-consuming steps through its interactive map interface, allowing users to specify particular areas of interest and providing direct access to Web pages displaying observational and forecast information. The portal provides one-stop shopping to current conditions and forecasts in the coastal states.

The nowCOAST Web portal will be monitored in the future by the Continuous Operational Real-Time Monitoring System of the NOAA Ocean Service's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services to ensure reliable operation and that Web links are kept current.

The development of nowCOAST was funded by a two-year grant from NOAA and its Satellites and Information Service's Environmental Services Data and Information Management Program. The portal seeks to support one of the key ESDIM program objectives to improve access to NOAA environmental data and information for scientists and decision makers.

The NOAA Ocean Service explores, understands, conserves and restores the nation's coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity to fulfill its mission to promote safe navigation, support coastal communities, sustain coastal habitats and mitigate coastal hazards.

The NOAA Satellites and Information Service operates three data centers, which house global databases in climatology, paleoclimatology, oceanography, solid Earth geophysics, marine geology and geophysics and solar-terrestrial physics. The agency also is the nation's primary source of space-based meteorological and climate data. It operates the nation's environmental satellites, which are used for weather and ocean observation and forecasting, climate monitoring and other environmental applications, including sea-surface temperature, fire detection and ozone monitoring.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nationís coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Relevant Web Sites

NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products

NOAA Environmental Services Data and Information Management Program

NOAA Ocean Service

Media Contact:
Glenda Powell, NOAA Ocean Service, (301) 713-3066 ext. 191