The AOOS tracks sea ice in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea     Credit: Karen Ducey

The Alaska Ocean Observing System is the real time “eye on Alaska’s coasts and oceans” and it wants feedback from mariners and communities.

The AOOS is one of 11 national federally funded systems designed to fill data gaps on ocean observations to enhance decision-making. Molly McCammon is senior adviser:

“AOOS runs the largest collection of ocean and coastal data in the state. Largely, a lot of it is real time data. And then a lot of historical data, a lot of that is biological data, because it’s not collected in real time. So project data, biological data, bathymetry, and then we also run a lot of models that are used for forecasting primarily. So kind of a ‘now cast’ and what is forecasted for things like wind, waves, ocean circulation, precipitation, sea ice conditions, things of that nature.”

© Cameron Karsten for                          Grundens

McCammon calls the real time maritime conditions portal a ‘one stop shop.’

“So you might be a recreational boater or a commercial fisherman who wants to go out that day, and you want to know what the sea state conditions are right now what they might be. So you might download some wind and wave conditions from weather stations or wave buoys. You might also want to know what the local bathymetry is or the charting from nav charts. And what you can do in our data portal is stack those layers together. So you can combine them and you can see them all together rather than having to look at one layer and then look at another layer on another site and then another site. We try to collect all of these different data points and put them together into something that’s easy to use. That’s kind of intuitive for people and then have it in kind of a one stop shop.”

Another portal provides Alaska updates on ocean acidification, algal blooms, warming blobs, water levels and much more.

A short survey is underway to get feedback on the value of the information AOOS provides –

How often do you use these things? And how much value do you put on them? We’re trying to quantify that. We really try to focus on stakeholder needs. We’re not a research program, per se. So although we do fund a lot of research, it’s more on how do stakeholders use the marine environment. What information do they need? How do they want to see it? And so we try to have those priorities direct how we focus our funding efforts. So if people want to get tell us what they’d like to see and if they would like an asset in their region and can tell us why, please let us know.

Find links to the AOOS survey at and on Facebook and Twitter.

Questions? Contact Dr. Charles Colgan at