An Internet based data collection and distribution system has been developed and incorporated within the COASTMAP framework. This system allows global and basin scale model nowcasts and forecasts and real time observations to be accessed via the Internet. COASTMAP also has the capability to collect data from local monitoring systems (i.e., monitoring equipment operated through direct connection such as serial, radio, cellular or modem communications). Data collected from the various online sources is subjected to quality control processes, archived alongside traditional data sets, and automatically distributed to support high-resolution coastal modeling efforts.
COASTMAP and its associated Internet server applications are presently operational for Narragansett Bay and adjacent Rhode Island coastal waters (Southern New England Bight). In the present application the system provides access to real time data collected by the NOAA PORTS system, the RI Road Weather Information System (RI RWIS), and a network of water quality monitoring buoys distributed throughout Narragansett Bay. In addition the system allows access to nowcasts and forecasts from the NOAA East Coast, Coastal Ocean Forecasting System (COFS) and the National Weather Service's Extra-tropical Storm Surge (ETSS) model.
COASTMAP incorporates a state of the art, three-dimensional, boundary fitted hydrodynamic model that has been applied to Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Rhode Island Sound, Buzzards Bay, and Narragansett Bay study area. The model has initially been applied in a two- dimensional vertically averaged mode and has shown an excellent ability to predict tidal circulation and elevations in the study area. Model predictions can be visualized through the model's user interface or via COASTMAP. Efforts are currently in progress to implement forecasting of tidal and wind driven circulation in the study area using the high-resolution meteorological model predictions and the ETSS waters levels as forcing and boundary conditions, respectively.