What is Oceanography?

Courtesy of NOAA


On almost any site, anyone from precocious high school students to leading scientists can download entire files available online and manipulate the data anyway they wish. Some sites require registration.

Here is a sample of the many online databanks (check the reference link to find addresses for the listed sites):

1. The National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) works in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to provide on-line databanks with worldwide geographic coverage ranging from November 26, 1886 through November 15, 1996. The Interactive Data Access and Retrieval System (IDARS) provides browsing through a series of data graphically presented.

One can look at climatological averages; time series plots showing velocity, pressure, temperature, and salinity of different locations; view real-time satellite images of global sea surface temperatures and salinity; satellite data and imagery of U.S. coastal and offshore regions (for environmental policy-makers); oxygen/chlorophyll plots for plankton data. Other archives are available with more colorful graphics.

Exampleof IDARS monthly averaged sea surface temperature for Feb of 1982.


2. Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory (PMEL) provides data that assists the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's (NOAA's) goals of forecasting climates by studying seasonal/annual climate dynamics, advancing weather warning and forecast services, and building lasting fisheries. Also, PMEL displays theme pages, web pages focused on a topic (data rescue, El Nino, fisheries) and includes links to relevant information provided on the Web by different scientific, government, academic or commercial institutions. It links to in-depth information and analyses, including relevant, often in real-time, data and forecasts, as well as to historical data (dating back to 1986) and perspectives. People interested in this information are administrators, legislators, scientists, researchers, students, educators and the general public.

Software can also be downloaded so that the user can manipulate data to create web pages and generate time series graphs and listings. With a Java-enabled browser one can create interactive Java data interfaces and plots. For anyone who understands the concept of a four-dimensional array organized by latitude, longitude, depth, and time, can use these capabilities. Plus, software can be purchased to create multi-dimensional data grids used mainly for mathematical expressions of meteorological oceanography.


Mean Air Temp for Europe/Asia (GLOBE)3. Global Learning & Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) was created by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to give international students, from over 6000 schools in 70 countries, a chance to report environmental data. Their observation contributions include atmospheric, biological, hydrologic, and soil measurements. This data is then compiled throughout GLOBE and utilized by the students and scientists alike. Penguin studies in Antarctica, global warming in Benin, and timing of plant bloom methods are some of the research topics studied by these children.

From this site schools can input their own data and visualize the results. Selecting a data point (such as snowfall or soil temperature) and a data source (such as satellite images or student measurements) can create maps. Data dates to October of 1997.


Scripps Institute Woods Hole GLOBE
Created by Robin L. Wood
Last updated: 13 April 1999