The Great Lakes are a vital shipping channel for the U.S., annually carrying billions of dollars of cargo to and from the Atlantic. They also contain 20 percent of the world's freshwater, have 10,000 miles of coast, and—much like the ocean—the waters of the Great Lakes heavily influence the climate in the region. Knowing what's happening and forecasting what's to come in Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario keep us safer, healthier, and economically sound.
In June 2016, NOAA certified the Great Lakes Observing System as a Regional Information Coordinating Entity—only the second organization to achieve this. The certification signifies a high quality of observing data and operational practices. In simple terms, it means that NOAA and IOOS stand behind GLOS's observing data, and that all users can rely on GLOS for data that meet the reliable, compatible standards being implemented across the IOOS network.