NOAA KLM User's Guide

Section 9.5

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9.5 CoastWatch Products

The CoastWatch Program mission is to provide and ensure timely access to near real-time satellite data to protect, restore, and manage U.S. coastal ocean resources, and understand climate variability and change to further enhance society's quality of life. Primary users include Federal, State, and local marine scientists, coastal resource managers, and the general public. CoastWatch is comprised of two components: Central Operations and Regional Nodes. Central Operations, managed by NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) coordinates the processing, delivery, quality control and storage of data products. The six regional nodes are made up of other NOAA line offices that participate in the CoastWatch Program. They are located around the country, hosting equipment and personnel to provide near real-time data distribution and regional scientific expertise to the local user community. Together, central operations and the regional nodes provide for the distribution pathway for CoastWatch data products (see Section 9.5.1 for further information on central operations and the regional nodes).

CoastWatch started with only POES/AVHRR SST data for the East Coast in 1987, but now provides a variety of imagery and data from several different platforms covering all U.S. coastal waters. All products are available through the CoastWatch website product search: Note: since this User's Guide deals exclusively with POES data, emphasis will be placed on the POES CoastWatch products. Use this link for additional information on CoastWatch POES/AVHRR data

The images displayed on the NOAA CoastWatch website are created from satellite datasets. For many uses, these images provide enough information and are easily viewed over the Internet. However, the datasets are not viewable by Internet browsers and may require specialized software to view, manipulate, and extract the information as needed. CoastWatch provides software utilities and data primers to assist in using these data products:

Retrospective availability of CoastWatch POES data products are provided through a remotely accessible system at the Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS) website: CLASS replaces the Satellite Active Archive and their website provides users with data formats and details pertinent to the type of CoastWatch data the user chooses to download.

CoastWatch data products utilize five receiving stations around the country that collect data from the AVHRR sensor on the NOAA KLM polar orbiting spacecrafts. They include Gilmore Creek, AK for the four Alaska regions; Monterey, CA for the West Coast; Miami, FL for the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico waters; Ewa Beach, HI for Central Pacific; and Wallops Island, VA for the East Coast and Great Lakes. Data are processed on NOAA computers in Suitland, MD using a set of NOAA developed multi-channel atmospherically corrected algorithms for determination of sea surface temperature. Data are then mapped to predefined coordinates specified for each of the CoastWatch regions.

Table 9.5-1. CoastWatch Region Specifications.
Region Code Region Name Latitude Longitude Res.
Size Map Projection
Rows Cols
aa Alaska Sitka 45.949 -179.07 5.0 512 512 Polar Stereographic
ax Alaska South 55.0 -132.5 1.47 1200 1400 Polar Stereographic
ay Alaska West 58.0 -159.0 1.47 1200 1400 Polar Stereographic
az Alaska North 69.5 -159.0 1.47 1024 1024 Polar Stereographic
ce Caribbean East 15.5 -68.0 1.47 1180 1400 Mercator
cw Caribbean West 15.5 -85.0 1.47 1180 1400 Mercator
er East Coast North 39.0 -70.5 1.47 1401 1302 Mercator
gr Great Lakes 45.04 -84.14 1.8 1024 1024 Mercator
hr Hawaii 19.808 -157.05 1.47 1394 1394 Mercator
mr Gulf of Mexico 24.6 -89.0 1.47 1101 1401 Mercator
sb East Coast Bermuda 27.0 -68.0 1.47 1200 1200 Mercator
sl Great Salt Lake 41.54 -112.83 1.47 512 512 Mercator
sr East Coast South 30.0 -80.32 1.47 1248 1140 Mercator
wa West Coast Acapulco 17.0 -102.0 1.47 1180 1400 Mercator
wj West Coast Baja 27.25 -113.60 1.47 1024 1024 Mercator
wn West Coast North 45.0 -128.25 1.47 1024 1024 Mercator
ws West Coast South 36.5 -121.50 1.47 1024 1024 Mercator
Note:The latitude/longitude coordinates are for the center point of the region.

Variable Naming Conventions

Each HDF data file contains multiple data variables stored using the HDF Scientific Data Sets (SDS) model. Each variable is named according to the data that it represents as follows:

AVHRR channel 1 albedo (%)
AVHRR channel 2 albedo (%)
AVHRR channel 3a albedo (%)
AVHRR channel 3 brightness temperature (deg C)
AVHRR channel 4 brightness temperature (deg C)
AVHRR channel 5 brightness temperature (deg C)
Moisture corrected sea-surface-temperature (deg C)
8-bit CLAVR ocean cloud mask:
Bit 1: Reflective Gross Cloud Test
Bit 2: Reflectance Uniformity Test
Bit 3: Reflectance Ratio Cloud Test
Bit 4: Channel 3 Albedo Test
Bit 5: Thermal Uniformity Test
Bit 6: Four Minus Five Test
Bit 7: Thermal Gross Cloud Test
Bit 1: Thermal Gross Cloud Test
Bit 2: Thermal Uniformity Test
Bit 3: Uniform Low Stratus Test
Bit 4: Four Minus Five Test
Bit 5: Cirrus Test
Bit 6: Channel 3B Albedo Test
Bit 7: Channel 3B Albedo Uniformity Test
Satellite zenith angle (degrees)
Solar zenith angle (degrees)
Relative azimuth angle (degrees)
8-bit graphics layers:
Bit 1: Fill flag
Bit 2: Latitude/longitude grid
Bit 3: Coastline and political geography lines
Bit 4: Land/water flag
Bits 5-8: Unused

Note: AVHRR channels 1 and 2, solar zenith, and relative azimuth angles are only useful for daytime data; therefore these variables are omitted from the nighttime data files.

9.5.1 How To Obtain CoastWatch Data CoastWatch Regional Nodes

Alaska - Gary Hufford
NOAA/NWS - Alaska Region
222 W. 7th Avenue #23, Room 517
Anchorage, AK 99513-7575
Phone: (907) 271-3886
Fax: (907) 271-3711

Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico - Thomas Leming
NOAA/NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Bldg. 1103, Room 218
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
Phone: (228) 688-1214
Fax: (228) 688-1151

Central Pacific (Hawaii) - Dr. Jeffrey J. Polovina
NOAA/NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Honolulu Laboratory
2570 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822-2396
Phone: (808) 983-5390
Fax: (808) 983-2902

NorthEast - Grayson Wood
NOAA/NMFS Narragansett Laboratory
28 Tarzwell Drive
Narragansett, RI 02882-1199
Phone: (401) 782-3200 x3286
Fax: (401) 782-3201

Great Lakes - George A. Leshkevich
NOAA/OAR/Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory
2205 Commonwealth Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48105-1593
Phone: (734) 741-2265
Fax: (734) 741-2055

West Coast - Dr. Cara Wilson
NOAA/NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center
8604 La Jolla Shores Drive (P.O. Box 271)
La Jolla, Ca 92038-0271
Phone: (831) 648-5337
Fax: (831) 648-8440
URL: CoastWatch Central Operations

Program Manager - Kent H. Hughes
NOAA/NESDIS/ Office of Research and Applications
Phone: (301) 763-8102 X171
Fax: (301) 763-8572

CoastWatch Help Desk - Shawna Karlson
SP Systems, Inc. for NOAA/NESDIS/ Office of Research and Applications
Phone: (301) 763-8102 X349
Fax: (301) 763-8572

Central Support:
Central Processing- John Sapper
NOAA/NESDIS/ Office of Satellite Data Processing and Distribution
Phone: (301) 457-0914 X148
Fax: (301) 457-0918

POES SST Validation - William Pichel
NOAA/NESDIS/ Office of Research and Applications
Phone: (301) 763-8231 X166
Fax: (301) 763-8020

Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS) - Alex Kidd
Phone: (301) 763-8598 X349
Fax: (301) 763-8838

Amended November 21,2000

Amended September 22,2005

Amended November 7, 2005

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