Marine Data Literacy 2.0

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Home > 9. Operational/Synoptic > 9.33 NMOC Gallery

9.33 Image Gallery for Operational Meteorological and Oceanographic Products: NMOC

  • Exercise Title:  Image Gallery for Operational Meteorological and Oceanographic Products: United States Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC)

  • Abstract: In this exercise you'll be introduced to a major outlet for finished marine data products from a premier ocean resource, the US Navy's oceanography command.  This is one of the few places where MDL will present resources that are not completely data-based, because at this site you cannot access the underlying data, you can only obtain georeferenced final graphical products (with their color legends for scaling).  [This is similar to the WMS products in 8.9 Viewing Web Mapping Service (WMS) Operational Product Images in IDV & Google Earth].  The broad scope of the products, meteorological as well as oceanographic, and their well-known high quality justify this exception to MDLs usual practices.  THIS LESSON IS PROVIDED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  NO ONE SHOULD ATTEMPT TO RELY ON THESE ANALYSIS PRODUCTS FOR NAVIGATION OR FOR ANY OPERATIONAL PURPOSES AT SEA.

  • Required Software:

  • Other Resources: 

    • Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC) - provides critical information from the ocean depths to the most distant reaches of space, meeting needs in the military, scientific, and civilian communities.  Arguably the biggest producer/user of ocean and atmosphere data in the world

    • Weather Centre - Essentially a catalog of all the major weather and climate models for the earth (oceans and atmosphere); provided here because it was useful to make the list in Panel 12

  • Author:  Murray Brown

  • Version:  10-22-13

1.  Open the main webpage for NMOC and take some time to read through the wide range of products from the 4 constituent centers.  MDL already includes a JTWC exercise
2.  Stemming from the historical importance of extremely accurate time-keeping (to calculate longitudes) the US Navy is the main time-keeping agency of the US government.
3.  This section refers to NMOC role in relating celestial location information and navigational systems, also a central issue in at-sea operations.
4.  This section of NMOC's website concerns the Navy's traditional role as a world leader in celestial object location information.
5.  Here is the section of main interest to marine scientists. Notice the 2 links on the left, leading to specific metocean products.


6.  First, we'll take a quick look at the meteorological products.  We don't have time to investigate thoroughly, so come back later on your own.



HINT:  You must navigate to this page through the Oceanography page, or from the link above.

7.  Obviously, the product catalog is going to be as complex as the science behind them.  You can see here that there are 4 types of products, and each covers different geographic areas.

Looking more closely, you'll see that each map has acronyms below it for the different models that produced the products.  [More info on the models below]

8.  Just go slowly and try all these product types, areas and models, so you have a general idea of the availabilities.  Also keep your eyes open to some "meteorological" products that you may find quite valuable for your own marine work.  There is a huge overlap between ocean and atmosphere products on this website, purposely provided so that you can find many products in multiple locations.
9.  Now we try the oceanographic products.


As above, you'll find major categories, products, areas and models.  This results in a very complex catalog.  Basically there are 25 products lists, from Surface Wind Barbs to White Cap Probability.

Take some time to browse through the catalog and see what the products look like.  For example, here is the Probability of Significant Wave Heightt > 4 ft for Oct 21 2013.  You can see some major storm systems.

10.  Now, let's take a more organized look.
  • The GLOBAL & REGIONAL CHARTS contains many ocean products, and not just waves
  • The GLOBAL SST and SST ANOMALY are very nice images, but not georeferenced, so we'll ignore them now


11.  Very similar to the meteorological products, above, the catalog includes product types, areas and models.

12.  This explanation is not yet complete, but it should help you understand the above:
  • Each of the four product type tabs (along the top) leads to a different suite of areas
  • Each area in any product type leads to a different list of products
  • The abbreviations below each small map indicate which models have been used to make products for this area; this accounts for the very different lists of products for the areas
    • NVG
    • GFS - Global Forecast System from National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).
    • FLEWT
    • WW3 - Wave Watch III - NOAA/NCEP 3rd Generation Wave Model
    • COAMPS - Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System. Regional meteorological (met) model.
    • NUE
    • CMC - Canadian Met Center's Global Environmental Multiscale (GEM) Model
    • NAVGEM - Navy Global Environmental Model
    • FAROP
  • All product lists have significant overlap with the Meteorology Products
13.  The author discovered that all the products from areas other than GLOBAL have KML files that can be exported to Google Earth or IDV.  But the GLOBAL products may have been left out because of the well-known difficulty in forcing KML global scenes to close exactly at the +180/-180 seam in the mid-Pacific.  So we will focus on all product groups except GLOBAL.
14. Here is the menu of products for AFRICA.  The default presentation is always the most recent catalog (2013102106) which you can see in the list of catalogs just below the chart.  Several previous catalogs are also listed.  If you read them as YYYYMMDDHH, then you can see they are mainly provided at 6-hour intervals.

But there is a separate time designation along the top row of the product chart, which is hours after the present time.  They go up to 180, which would be 7.5 days.

15.  There are many "NO IMAGE IN LAST 2 RUNS" items on the chart, so we need to move back in time to find more products.

This is the list of charts available.  Find the chart just before the above chart, which would be 2013102100, then click on it.

16.  Here is the product chart for 2013102000, which is almost completely filled with links (i.e. green circles).

17.  In the above chart:
  • LOOP - Green Dots (moving down) - Animation of the variable for all listed times
  • TAU - All (moving down) - Sequential images for all listed times
  • TAU - All (moving right) - Images for all variables at that time
  • Green Circles (main chart array) - Links to images or animations for specific variable at specific time
  • KML - Links to KML versions of the images; sequential, but not aggregated

Just take a few minutes to do some clicking and see what you get.

18.  For example, here are two variables for the current hour, 06:
  • Surface Temperature (C), left
  • Sea Surface Temperature (F), right. 

One of the few times most students will ever see Fahrenheit degrees in a scientific product.

19.  To see a typical animation, find Significant Wave Height and Direction (first option under OTHER PRODUCTS) and click the LOOP button.  It looks great, but unfortunately you can't save it to file.  [It consists of separate GIF images, and not an animated GIF.]

NOTE:  The animation only goes to 48 hours and not the full 180 hours.

20.  Now we need to see what we can do with the KML files, which can be saved to file.
21.  At the right end of the row for Significant Wave Height, you can either open the KML file directly in Google Earth (GE), or save it and open it from your Windows Explorer.

Here's what it looks like. 

22.  You can run the animation with the slider in the upper left corner.  Just click on the PLAY control (fourth icon from the left).  The first play might be slow, as GE downloads the various images.
23.  As usual GE display of an image suffers from pixilation when enlarged too much, as you see here, so make sure any presentation you make are not overly magnified.

This image is unacceptable for public or academic presentations.

24.  Also, miraculously, the color palette for the parameter values is transferred to GE, but it is not easily visible.  This needs some work.
25.  If you haven't already saved the KML file, then do so now.  Navigate to DATA > OCEAN > CMOC and use the filename sgwvht_anim_africa_20131020_fnmoc.kml
26.  Run Integrated Data Viewer (IDV)

Then click on ADD SOURCE.

28.  The data product opens in IDV, and you can navigate into it to discover how the images are listed.

To see what you have, select the first one and for IMAGERY, select 3 COLOR IMAGE.


29.  This takes you to an image that should be essentially identical to the first image in the NMOC animation.
30.  If you want to animate the products, repeat the CREATE DISPLAY process for each of them.

These images are all separate files, not data objects aggregated into a single file.  This will make a big difference below.

31.  Here is what you see in IDV, on the right side.  This is just a check to make sure you are on the right track.
32.  To animate the products, select VIEW > DISPLAYS > VISIBILITY ANIMATION > ON.

You'll see an animation very similar to the above.  But unfortunately this animation cannot be saved as a movie file.  You can only save individual images for each product.