83rd Annual

Monday, 10 February 2003
National Data Buoy Center: A Portal for Marine Mesonet Data
David B. Gilhousen, NOAA/NDBC, Stennis Space Center, MS
Many valuable oceanic observations collected in real-time by universities and laboratories are not used by the National Weather Service (NWS) and other meteorologists. In 2001, about a dozen universities were collecting environmental data from buoys and fixed stations near the U.S. coast and posting them on various web sites. However, in order to appear on meteorological workstations and be assimilated into numerical prediction models, the measurements must be coded into a World Meteorological Organization code form and transmitted to or collected by the NWS. This encoding and transmission has not occurred because many research agencies lack this knowledge and the NWS does not have a single focal point for these issues. This paper describes how the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) has taken steps to help solve this problem.

In early 2002, NDBC developed C language software that could be used to place reports in two WMO real-time codes and distributed them to many of these universities. Then, later in 2002, NDBC began to serve as a collection point where universities sent observations via FTP for quality control and distribution on the various meteorological circuits. Observations were posted on NDBC's popular web site which receives over five million hits a month and links to the proper university were installed for each station. Local NWS offices often have the observations read on NOAA Weather Radio and distribution occurs to the same users of NDBC observations . Among the critical users of the real-time coded data are the NWS Tropical Prediction Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In summary, the universities are gaining enhanced public visibility and the NWS is gaining valuable observations. Specific examples of collected observations will be demonstrated and additional details will be provided to possible future collaborators.

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