Dec 31, 2009

Nation’s Ocean Observing System Completes Year-Long Data Standardization

Water and weather data consistent across all U.S. regions

The Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) is a federal, regional and private-sector partnership working to enhance the ability to collect, deliver and use ocean information.

Mariners, coastal managers and other users seeking timely and tailored ocean and Great Lakes conditions are now able to access standardized data sets across all U.S. regions. This marks the completion of a milestone in a national effort to link federal and non-federal sources of ocean and coastal observations and forecasts, to include water level, salinity, temperature and wind and wave data, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“For years, users have compiled data from different sources and manually converted them into formats that work together--from Celsius to Fahrenheit, for example,” said Josie Quintrell, executive director of the National Federation of Regional Associations. “This effort will save time and money and ensure the protection of people and property on or near the water.”

Conducted by NOAA, other federal agencies and 11 independent regional associations of ocean observing partners, this year-long project to ensure consistent standards and Web services for various data sets are available via the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)--a system designed to enhance America’s ability to collect, deliver and use ocean information.

“Data from IOOS can be used for a variety of purposes, from providing information for safe and effective maritime commerce to enhancing water quality, as well as models for searches and rescues,” said Zdenka Willis, NOAA IOOS director. “Conditions observed by IOOS are also studied by experts to prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change.”

The data provide a larger picture of the interaction between the ocean and global climate systems and aim to advance the understanding of potential climate change impacts on marine ecosystems and coastal communities.