Commercial shippers and recreational boaters alike will want to check out NOAA's web page on High Frequency (HF) Radar Surface Currents, which provides surface current observations and tidal current predictions for coastal areas in near real time. The result of a partnership between NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services and the NOAA-led U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®), the new web product offers broad spatial coverage of surface currents in areas that are vital to both commercial and recreational navigation.
Now operational in New York Habor (in addition to Chesapeake and San Francisco Bays), the web tool offers interactive maps and time series plots of surface currents, and complements NOAA's Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS®), which provides water-level, current, and meteorological observations important for safe navigation at many high-traffic coastal locations nationwide.
The web product will also benefit search-and-rescue operations, oil spill response, harmful algal bloom monitoring, water quality and ecosystem assessments, and fisheries management.
Devices used to measure currents traditionally have been placed directly in the water to observe the current speed and direction at a single location. HF radar sensors, placed near the water's edge, have the advantage of being able to measure surface currents over large coastal areas.