Image Gallery for Operational Meteorological and Oceanographic
Products: United States Naval Meteorology and Oceanography
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.
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
|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
|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
|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.
Click on METEOROLOGY.
|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.
Click on the GLOBAL, REGIONAL
AND ENSEMBLE link.
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
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
Click on OCEANOGRAPHY.
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
- The GLOBAL & REGIONAL CHARTS contains many ocean products, and not
- The GLOBAL SST and SST ANOMALY are very nice images, but not
georeferenced, so we'll ignore them now
Click on GLOBAL & REGIONAL CHARTS
|11. Very similar
to the meteorological products, above, the catalog includes product types,
areas and models.
explanation is not yet complete, but it should help you understand the
- 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
GFS - Global Forecast System from National Centers for
Environmental Prediction (NCEP).
WW3 - Wave Watch III - NOAA/NCEP 3rd Generation Wave Model
COAMPS - Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction
System. Regional meteorological (met) model.
- CMC - Canadian Met Center's
Global Environmental Multiscale (GEM) Model
NAVGEM - Navy
Global Environmental Model
- All product lists have significant overlap with the Meteorology
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
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
This is the list of charts available. Find the chart
just before the above chart, which would be 2013102100, then click on
|16. Here is the
product chart for 2013102000, which is almost completely filled with links
(i.e. green circles).
|17. In the above
- LOOP - Green Dots (moving down) - Animation of the variable
for all listed times
- TAU - All (moving down) - Sequential images for all listed
- TAU - All (moving right) - Images for all variables at that
- 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
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 (ºC),
- Sea Surface Temperature (ºF), 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
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
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.
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
|27. Select DATA CHOOSERS >
GENERAL > FILES > DATA SOURCE TYPE > GE KML/KMZ > KML file
Then click on
|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
Then click CREATE DISPLAY.
|29. This takes you to an
image that should be essentially identical to the first image in the NMOC
|30. If you want to animate
the products, repeat the CREATE DISPLAY process for each of them.
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.