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Marine Data Literacy 2.0

Providing instruction for managing, converting, analyzing and displaying oceanographic station data, marine meteorological data, GIS-compatible marine and coastal data or model simulations, and mapped remote sensing imagery





Home > 9. Operational/Synoptic > 9.16 AVISO Waves

9.16 Visualizing Satellite-Measured Wind Speed & Waves in IDV: AVISO GDET

  • Exercise Title:  Visualizing Satellite-Measured Wind Speed & Waves in IDV: AVISO Gridded Data Extraction Tool (GDET)

  • Abstract:  In this exercise you'll return to the AVISO GDET tool to obtain satellite analyses of winds and waves.  Using methods used for sea surface height in 9.8 you'll learn how to make maps of these parameters.  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.

  • Preliminary Reading (in OceanTeacher, unless otherwise indicated):

  • Required Software:

  • Other Resources: 

  • Author:  Murray Brown

  • Version:  11-12-2014

1.  Open the main AVISO website.  [There are English, French and Spanish versions; see the bottom left corner for the links]

Take some time to read though this very powerful site, and find out what sorts of data and data products it offers.  Results range from highly detailed, single transect satellite passes, to very generalized geographic grids of high-level products.

2.  Select DATA > ACCESS to see these 7 items.  They offer an extremely broad set of access methods, which you should explore later on your own.  They differ in the timeliness of the of the data, and other technical details.

NOTE:  You can alternately choose the DATA > PRODUCTS tabs to go through a more generalized introduction to the whole product suite at AVISO.


3.   You'll see a very large page with this text at the top:

This is the point where you could SUBSCRIBE to get these data.  This is the same registration process that you may have used previously to use Marine Data Literacy exercises for AVISO data; if you're not sure, then try to pass this step and see what happens below.  You'll have opportunities there to register, if necessary.

4.  Lower down on this same large page, you'll see these available data types:
5.  This is what you'll see in the WIND/WAVE products section.  We'll begin by clicking the DATA REQUEST FORM beside GRIDDED SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT.

6.  At this point, you must have already registered with AVISO for FTP and/or gridded data extraction services at the address listed above.  Either way, this is what you need:

  • User Name

  • Password

When you click on either DATA REQUEST FORM controls, you'll need to enter these items to continue, or take the time to register now.

7.  Enter your information in this form, then click LOGIN.
8.  This is the opening screen.  Enter these options:
  • Select Output - NetCDF
  • Selection Region - Don't touch
  • Select Time Range - Set a reasonable recent span of a few days, for example the most recent week.
    • Available data appear to range from 2014-04 to about 3 or 4 days prior to the present
  • NSEW - Enter appropriate values for your area of interest; in the case of Liberia, they are:
    • Top = 9
    • Bottom = -6
    • Left = -23
    • Right = -3
  • Variable Download - Check the data you want; for this exercise you can check only SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT

On your own time later, you can explore these fields.  Now click DOWNLOAD (lower left corner).

9.  Your download should begin shortly. If it does not, try
10.  Save the data to the folder DATA > OCEAN > AVISO with the filename
11.  As usual, we can check the validity of the data in ncBrowse.  Here are the first 2 windows in ncBrowse.  When properly set, you can click on GRAPH VARIABLE to see a map.

NOTE:  The units are meters.

12.  And here is the data map, with a scale. 
13.  You can use exactly the same steps as above to obtain and save the windspeed product (Panel 5, above).  Then save the resulting file to the folder DATA > OCEAN > AVISO with the filename
14.  Here is the wind file in ncBrowse.  Note that the AVISO products are extremely honest, and they blank out areas which don't meet their quality or operational criteria.  Hence there may be diamond-shaped areas of no data.
15.  OPTION:  For correctness, you can change the filenames as you see here, to help you recognize the files later on.
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16.  Run IDV.
17.  In IDV, use the standard DATA > DATA CHOOSERS.  Make sure the DATA SOURCE TYPE is set to GRID FILES (NETCDF, ETC.).  Then navigate to and load the wave height and windspeed files you have created and saved on your PC.
18.  WAVE HEIGHT DISPLAY:  Select the wave height object.  Then make these FIELDS and DISPLAY choices.  Then click CREATE DISPLAY.
19.  And here is your wave height map. As with other data sequences in IDV, you can show or save an animation, using VIEW > CAPTURE.

20.  Using the same steps, you can map the windspeed raster in IDV also.

21.  And if you want to use an evenly spaced color palette, here both maps have been set with DASHBOARD > COLOR TABLE > RADAR > DBZ to a familiar rainbow.
22.  Now you have the basic datasets, you can make all sort of related analysis, such as value histograms, time-series probes and animations.  See 9.3 Visualizing Modeled Wave Analysis Grids in IDV: Wave Watch III for some help on how to make these.