Harmful Algal Blooms Observing System Harmful Algal Blooms Observing System
Map Guide Map Layer Definitions

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Cell Count Reports

Government Activity

In General, cell count reports contain information on the presence and abundance of harmful algal bloom species (currently just Karenia brevis). The reports are collected by NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS). Cell counts are updated on a daily basis with the most recent samples.

Florida

Florida's cell counts are reported by a network of monitoring entities. These entities include Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), Mote Marine Laboratory (MML), Sarasota County Health Department (SCHD), and Collier County Pollution Control and Prevention Department (CCPCPD).

Texas

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is the lead agency involved in Texas marine harmful algal blooms. Other agencies and institutions involved in sampling are the City of South Padre Island, Padre Island National Seashore, University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Agricultural Extension Service, and University of Texas-Pan American. All of the cell counts within Texas boundaries are collected and reported by TPWD.

Government Archive

The National Centers for Environmental Information Maryland (formerly NODC) manages the world's largest collection of publicly available oceanographic data. In the Gulf of Mexico, decades of cell count data are preserved here.

Meteorology

in-situ measurements
Weather Radar

The National Weather Service (NWS) creates a base reflectivity image from a network of Doppler radars. This network is used to produce a primary image to be used to see what's out there. It is updated hourly.

Buoy Measurements

The National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) maintains a database of near real-time observational recordings for buoys. This database contains NDBC buoys and non-NDBC buoys. These buoys record information such as wind speed and direction, wave heights, surface atmospheric pressure, visibility, air temperature, water temperature, and visibility. The National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) accesses this database hourly to get the latest information from observational buoys in the Gulf of Mexico.

models
NWS Air Temperature

The National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) contains a seamless mosaic of the National Weather Service's (NWS) digital forecasts of air temperature. In collaboration with NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO), the central NDFD server ingests 5-km, 2-dimensional grids of air temperature, and creates experimental forecast data mosaics for the coterminous United States (CONUS), Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. The National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) accesses this database once daily to get the 24, 48, and 72hr forecasts for air temperatures.

NWS Percent Precipitation

The National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) contains a seamless mosaic of the National Weather Service's (NWS) digital forecasts of precipitation probabilities. In collaboration with NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO), the central NDFD server ingests 5-km, 2-dimensional grids of precipitation probabilities, and creates experimental forecast data mosaics for the coterminous United States (CONUS), Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. The National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) accesses this database once daily to get the 24, 48, and 72hr forecasts for precipitation probabilities.

NWS Percent Precipitation Amounts

The National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) contains a seamless mosaic of the National Weather Service's (NWS) digital forecasts of precipitation amounts. In collaboration with NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO), the central NDFD server ingests 5-km, 2-dimensional grids of precipitation amounts, and creates experimental forecast data mosaics for the coterminous United States (CONUS), Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. The National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) accesses this database once daily to get the 24, 48, and 72hr forecasts for precipitation amounts.

NCEP Winds

The NOAA National Weather Service's (NWS) Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) generates meteorological forecasts from the NAM-12 computer model on a 6-hour cycle, daily. Each cycle provides forecasts from zero hours out to 84 hours and provides predictions for a number of different variables including wind speed and direction. This data set was created by extracting surface wind speed and direction values for a defined geographic region from the NAM-12 data made available by the EMC on an FTP server. The National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) accesses this database once daily to retrieve the 0, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 hour forecasts.

Oceanography

in-situ measurements
Port Traffic Buoys

The Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) is set-up in United States ports to help with the safe navigation of ships. PORTS measures water level, currents, salinity, and meteorological conditions in near real-time. All information is updated on a daily basis.

Buoy Measurements

The Texas Automated Buoy System (TABS) measures oceanographic parameters in near real-time from nine buoys off the Texas coast from Brownsville to Sabine. The Texas General Land Office supports this system as part of its mission to mitigate the effect of catastrophic oil spills on the Texas Coast. Buoys measure current speed/direction, water temperature, wind speed/direction, air temperature, air pressure, and humidity. HABSOS accesses the buoy information and updates the mapping service on daily basis.

climatology
NODC Historical Water Temperatures

The NODC's (now NCEI at Silver Spring) World Ocean Atlas 2005 provides objectively analyzed (1° grid) monthly climatological fields of historical in situ water temperature. Surface water temperatures are made available through a feed at the National Coastal Data Development Center.

models
Sea Surface Currents

Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) American Seas (AmSeas) was developed by the Naval Research Laboratory with further refinements to the model for the model for the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean creating the AmSeas. Forecasts of sea surface currents are updated by the National Coastal Data Development Center once daily to provide 0, 24, and 48 hour models. Hindcasts for the past 30 days of model runs are also available.

Sea Surface Heights

Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) American Seas (AmSeas) was developed by the Naval Research Laboratory with further refinements to the model for the model for the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean creating the AmSeas. Forecasts of sea surface heights are updated by the National Coastal Data Development Center once daily to provide 0, 24, and 48 hour models. Hindcasts for the past 30 days of model runs are also available.

Sea Surface Salinities

Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) American Seas (AmSeas) was developed by the Naval Research Laboratory with further refinements to the model for the model for the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean creating the AmSeas. Forecasts of sea surface salinities are updated by the National Coastal Data Development Center once daily to provide 0, 24, and 48 hour models. Hindcasts for the past 30 days of model runs are also available.

Sea Surface Water Temperatures

Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) American Seas (AmSeas) was developed by the Naval Research Laboratory with further refinements to the model for the model for the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean creating the AmSeas. Forecasts of sea surface water temperatures are updated by the National Coastal Data Development Center once daily to provide 0, 24, and 48 hour models. Hindcasts for the past 30 days of model runs are also available.

Foundation Layers

Buoys

The National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) maintains a database of near real-time observational recordings for buoys. This database contains NDBC buoys and non-NDBC buoys. These buoys record information such as wind speed and direction, wave heights, surface atmospheric pressure, visibility, air temperature, water temperature, and salinity. The National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) accesses this database daily to get the most current list of operational buoys and provides links to these buoys via the map.

Weather Stations

U.S. METAR is a national network of weather stations using the internationally accepted METAR standard for weather information. The network is mainly intended for use by aviation but it has applications in science as well. The core measurements taken at every site are; wind speed and direction, visibility, weather (cloud cover), sky conditions (visibility), air temperature, dew point, relative humidity, and barometric pressure. Measurements are taken on an hourly basis with special measurements taken if weather conditions change significantly. The National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC) accesses this database daily to get the most current list of weather stations and provides links to these stations via the map.

U.S. River Streamflow

The USGS maintains a network of streamflow stations throughout the nation and its territories. Streamflow (also known as discharge) is the volume of water flowing past a given point in the stream in a given period of time. Streamflow is reported as cubic feet per second. Streamflow values are better indicators than gage height of conditions along the whole river. All streamflow measurements are updated on a hourly basis.

Bathymetry

This layer provides bathymetric contours with increasing resolution in coastal areas. Sets of contours were generated from 0 to 100 meters depth at 20 meter intervals, from 100 to 1000 meters depth at 100 meter intervals, and from 1000 to 6000 meters depth at 500 meter intervals.

Estuarine Reserves

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) seeks to preserve unique coastal habitats for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education and coastal stewardship. The sites are managed through a partnership between NOAA and the state of the estuary. The five Gulf Coast reserve sites are all excellent sources for up-to-date and long-term monitoring data.

Marine Sanctuaries

The National Marine Sanctuary System (NMSS) seeks to protect critical habitats, unique environments, and sites of historical significance. The Gulf Coast hosts two marine sanctuaries, the Florida Keys and the Flower Garden Banks.

Eastern Oyster Beds

The Eastern Oyster feeds on single celled marine phytoplankton. During a harmful algal bloom, oysters can become toxic with the accumulated toxins of the harmful algae. Using information from NCDDC's (now NCEI at Stennis) Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas , HABSOS maps out where the oyster harvesting areas are in the Gulf of Mexico.