Description of NOAAPort Data Acquisition and Processing

Raw marine observations for the Great Lakes region are obtained via satellite transmission from the NOAAPort broadcast system. The NOAAPort broadcast system provides a one-way broadcast communication of NOAA environmental data and information in near-real time to NOAA and external users. This broadcast service is implemented by a commercial provider of satellite communications utilizing C-band.

These raw NOAAPort observations, acquired hourly by the Great Lakes CoastWatch node, are decoded and processed to produce various data files, timeseries plots, and interactive imagemaps.

The Great Lakes surface observation network is comprised of over 250 fixed stations including 25 moored buoys, 86 Coastal Marine Automated Network (CMAN) stations, 2 US Coast Guard stations, 5 Other Marine Reports (OMR) stations, and 134 surface airways stations. In addition, many commercial cargo ships and Coast Guard vessels provide regular meteorological reports. Frequency of observational reporting ranges from about once every 3 hours to 3-5 times per hour depending on the type of station.

The Great Lakes CoastWatch data base includes the following information extracted from NOAAPort observations: air temperature, dew point, wind direction, wind speed, maximum wind gust, cloud cover, air pressure, water temperature, wave height, wave period, and live tracking of Great Lakes ship locations. During a typical summer day, the marine observation data includes about 500 buoy observations, 5000 observations from land stations, and about 75 reports from vessels.