PORTS® provides accurate real-time oceanographic information in a graphical format, tailored to the specific needs of the local community, such as Gulfport, Mississippi.
Determining where oil will move following a spill requires knowing how the water and wind are moving as well. The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) operates and maintains an extensive network of approximately 60 coastal measurement systems throughout the Gulf of Mexico that collect and provide this verified information.
The collected data are important to helping mariners safely navigate in and out of ports and harbors, so CO-OPS operates these systems year round, not just following an oil spill. However, in support of the Deepwater BP oil spill response effort, CO-OPS has modified existing products to better meet the needs of responders and communities in the Gulf.
The Storm QuickLook product provides a synopsis of near real-time ocean and weather observations at locations when a hurricane is threatening an area. CO-OPS has reengineered NOAA Storm QuickLook to include not only water level and weather data in potentially affected areas, but also a NOAA graphic showing the location of the oil spill.
CO-OPS has also developed a specialized display of Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) data from the Gulfport, Pascagoula, and Mobile Bay PORTS. Using MyPORTS, a customizable PORTS® application, CO-OPS has created a display of current speeds and directions, as well as weather observations in the spill region. Operated year round in 21 locations around the U.S., PORTS® measures and disseminates observations and predictions of water levels, currents, salinity, and weather information such as winds, atmospheric pressure, and air and water temperatures needed to support the safety and efficiency of maritime commerce and coastal resource management.