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NOAA image of nowCoast screen capture showing sea surface temperatures, significant wave heights and NOAA National Weather Service radar imagery taken at 10:45 a.m. EST on March 14, 2006.March 14, 2006 In a continuing effort to improve maritime safety and commerce through the monitoring of physical changes in weather, oceanographic and river conditions, NOAA launched an updated version of the popular nowCOAST Web portal. NowCOAST is a Web mapping portal providing coastal communities with real-time observations and NOAA forecasts. The new version now allows users to view real-time surface observations 'on-the-map' along with the latest GOES satellite cloud imagery and NOAA National Weather Service weather radar images. The GOES imagery is updated every half hour and the weather radar mosaic is updated every 15 minutes. (Click NOAA image for larger view of nowCoast screen capture showing sea surface temperatures, significant wave heights and NOAA National Weather Service radar imagery taken at 10:45 a.m. EST on March 14, 2006. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

NowCOAST uses Geographic Information System, or GIS, technology allowing users to overlay other datasets and NOAA forecast products with these on-map displays to get a detailed picture of present conditions from the top of the watershed to the ocean.

Developed by the NOAA Ocean Service's Coast Survey Development Laboratory, nowCOAST's on-map display of real-time surface meteorological and oceanographic observations includes hourly updated data from federal and regional observing networks on land and water. The on-map display of real-time data and imagery available through nowCOAST is made possible with real-time data provided by the NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, National Weather Service, and Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

In addition to these new data, nowCOAST includes geo-referenced hyperlinks to observations from river and water quality observing networks, coastal Web cams, as well as NOAA marine and weather forecasts and forecast guidance from NOAA weather, ocean, estuarine and river computer prediction models.

NowCOAST includes an interface to accommodate both novice and experienced GIS users to allow both to quickly view real-time environmental conditions for any U.S. coastal area. Users can access information via four pull down menus or use standard GIS tools such as zooming in and out to change map scale; and overlaying different types of observations or forecasts for comparison purposes. By combining these capabilities, nowCOAST provides a rapid way to discover and view a wide range of real-time coastal 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 both on-map display of environmental conditions and direct access to Web pages displaying observational and forecast information. The portal provides one-stop shopping to current environmental conditions and forecasts in the coastal states of the U.S.

NowCOAST is designed to be a planning aid for commercial and recreational mariners, coastal managers, emergency responders, marine educators, and researchers to discover and display real-time coastal information. By aggregating a wide variety of this information in one location and providing access and visualization in an easy-to-use manner, nowCOAST serves as a unique and powerful tool for the marine community to visualize environmental conditions via the Internet.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 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 nation's coastal and marine resources.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

Relevant Web Sites

NOAA Ocean Service

NOAA Office of Coast Survey

NOAA Satellite and information Service

NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

NOAA National Weather Service

Media Contact:
Ben Sherman, NOAA Ocean Service, (301) 713-3066