ICOADS: The International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set Project

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Is the Earth's ocean surface getting warmer? Are wind and pressure patterns changing over the global oceans and do these changes relate to recent extreme weather events?

To answer questions such as these, data collected today must be compared to data taken over a sufficiently long time span in the past. The historical surface marine record, presently covering more than 300 years, is maintained through the ICOADS project. The original COADS project, and the continuing US contribution toward the new international database, ICOADS, is the result of a cooperative effort between NOAA -- its NESDIS/National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and its OAR/Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) -- and the National Science Foundation's National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). ICOADS provides a standard of comparison and gives meaning and context to the environmental measurements being collected daily around the globe.

Global marine data observed between 1662 and 2007 (the currently available period-of-record), primarily from ships of opportunity, have been collected, edited, and summarized statistically for each month of each year of the period. These measurements of temperatures, humidity, winds, pressures, waves, and clouds have been applied to global and regional studies of heat balance and heat exchange at the air-sea interface, ENSO, North Atlantic Oscillation, satellite data calibration, sustainable fisheries, 4-dimensional ocean circulation, shelf dynamics, coastal morphology, sea level, and more.

More information at the ICOADS website

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