An estuary, as well as the people who live within its boundaries, is affected daily by changes in weather, oceanographic, and river conditions. The physical changes within many estuaries are monitored in real-time by NOAA and other federal, state, and educational observing networks. Future short-term changes in weather and river conditions are forecasted by NOAA numerical prediction models. In addition, NOAA is developing the capability to forecast oceanographic conditions in estuaries and the coastal ocean.|
To provide National Ocean Service (NOS) forecast model developers and the coastal community easy and centralized access to online, real-time physical meteorological, oceanographic, river, and air/water quality information, Coast Survey Development Laboratory (CSDL) has developed a spatially-referenced Web portal. In addition to this observation data, the Web portal also provides NOAA forecasts for major estuaries, seaports, and adjacent coastal regions as well as the Great Lakes. The portal, nowCOAST, was constructed using ESRI's off-the-shelf GIS software, ArcIMS.
NowCoast contains links to a variety of outside sources. The ownership of the web sites to which the portal is linked will be clearly visible and retained by them, while the integrity of the nowCoast Web portal connection will be maintained by CSDL. Presently, the portal provides links to oceanographic and/or weather observations: NOS PORTS and National Water Level Observation Network stations, National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) fixed buoys and C-MAN stations, National Weather Service's (NWS's) Interactive Weather Information Network, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) Automated Surface Observing System sites, the EPA's Environmental Monitoring for Public Access Community Tracking (EMPACT) stations, as well as non-federal government run stations, NWS NEXRAD reflectivities; river observations: United States Geological Survey (USGS) river gages, INFLOWS stations; river forecast guidance: NWS River Forecast Centers (RFC); and weather and oceanographic forecasts: individual products of National Centers for Environmental Prediction's (NCEP's) Marine Prediction Center, NWS coastal Weather Forecast Offices, NOS estuarine forecast models, and NWS Extra-Tropical Storm-Surge Model.