The NOAA Ocean Products Center (OPC) was formed in 1985 through the
cooperative efforts of the National Ocean Service (NOS), the National
Weather Service (NWS), and the National Environmental Satellite, Data
and Information Service (NESDIS). The OPC cooperates with other NOAA
and US NAVY operational centers and well as with the research and
academic communities. The primary responsibilities of ... the OPC are to
(1) collect and quality control (QC) marine data sets in real time,
(2) develop analyses and forecast guidance, and (3) prepare and
disseminate operational marine guidance products.
Collection and QC of Marine Data Sets: Twenty four hours a day, seven
days a week, OPC analysts QC global marine surface (sea level
pressure, wind speed and direction, air and sea surface temperature,
wave height, etc.) and subsurface (temperature and salinity)
observations from platforms (ships, buoys, aircraft, and satellites)
and coastal sites. The QC process uses an interactive system that
involves a network of computers and workstations.
The rule-based, expert, interactive system compares observations to
output from environmental models and subsurface climatologies. The
system computes a confidence factor that is based on the accuracy of
Analyses and Forecast Guidance - Meteorology: The global and regional
numerical forecast models run at NMC provide large-scale forecasts of
atmospheric variables, including ocean surface winds, coastal and
Great Lakes Icing, ship superstructure icing, and open ocean sea fog.
Analyses and Forecast Guidance - Waves: OPC develops and runs models
including a deep water global spectral model and shallow water models,
such as a Gulf of Mexico model. These models predict such variables as
wave period and direction.
Analyses and Forecast Guidance - Ocean Thermal Structure: Global and
regional Sea Surface Temperature (SST) analyses are generated from
'blended' satellite, ship, and buoy data. In addition, global,
regional and coastal SST analyses are produced from satellite
data. The OPC also produces analyses at a depth of 100 meters for a
portion of the northeast Pacific.
Operational/Marine Guidance Products - Significant Marine Weather
Charts: An interactive, computer-based chart of weather hazards at sea
depicts areas of high winds and waves, ship superstructure ice
accretion, fog and restricted visibility, and ice edge. The chart is
used as guidance in NOAA field operations.
Operational/Marine Guidance Products - Oceanographic Feature Analysis:
Satellite images of the Western Atlantic Ocean are processed by an
interactive computer system to generate an SST plot of the Gulf Stream
and other ocean features (such as Rings). These analyses are used in
support of search and rescue operations, fishing, shipping, and
oceanographic research. Composites of these analyses are published in
OPC's 'Oceanographic Monthly Summary.'
In addition, computer software tracks and extracts information about
significant over-water weather systems from forecasts. Specific words
and phrases are selected from this information and are assembled to
describe the position, intensity, and track of weather systems and
associated areas of high winds and waves, fog and visibility, and ship
superstructure ice accretion.
The data products of the OPC, as can be seen, are primarily aimed at
operational situations. Though data and products may be made
available, this is not a data archiving facility.