The Alaska Ocean Observing System has a watchful eye on Alaska’s coasts and oceans. AOOS is a network that fills in the gaps between researchers and stakeholders when it comes to marine monitoring and provides the tools mariners need to stay safe on the water.
“Our state is huge. We have forty-four thousand miles of coastline depending on how you add it up. And there is a lot of monitoring going on between government agencies and research institutions. For instance, the university, and in some cases local communities.”
Darcy Dugan is one of the directors at AOOS. She says a lot of that data gets lost. It is their mission to compile the data and make it available online.
“The Goal of AOOS is to centralize the data and create a one-stop shop for anyone to use. You can go to our website and the wind from the webcams and the real-time forecasts.”
The real-time sensor map taps into 2,000 stations around the state, from weather stations to buoys.
“There are over 400 wind stations providing real-time wind information. There are 30 stations providing wave height and direction, and there are 280-webcams statewide. They provide up to the minute information that is collected from a variety of sources.”
Sources include the FAA, NOAA, and the National Weather Service.
“It is tapping into the best information we have and puts it where the user can visualize it in a map-based form; along with other types of information. One of the unique elements that AOOS data portal is the ability to put different types of data on top of each other and also provide a base map underlying that data that is relevant to the user.”
Dugan says familiar charts can be used with the data portal. Other useful tools for fishermen are the real-time shoreline features, the sea surface temperature reading, and the 2 day extended forecasts.
“We would like fishermen to know that this resource exists. If they are looking for information on conditions or weather that, you don’t have to go multiple websites to find out what you want. Being able to have the real-time information can help with safety and discussion making.”
Go to www.aoos.org for tutorials on how to plan and navigate your next trip.