Frequently Asked Questions
How do I read
a wind barb?
wind barbs indicate both the wind speed in knots (nautical mile per
hour) and the wind direction (from which the wind is coming from). Each
flag on a wind barb indicates 50 knots, each long segment is 10 knots,
and each short segment is 5 knots. To get the wind speed, just add up
the flags and segments.
Where are the ship
Please note that we
have removed all ship callsign references on the various images and no
longer produce text tables of marine observations. Additionally, all ship
traffic from specific regions has also been removed. This change is in
response to requests made by the Voluntary Observing Ship program. These
changes were implemented to preserve the transmission of ship data between
national weather centers as they are an invaluable source of marine data
which we apply in our global and regional forecast and hindcast modeling.
do not routinely archive the images that are produced on this site.
The source data (observational and model data) is archived, but will
there will be cost involved in accessing any part of Oceanweather's
database. Normally this is reserved for commercial applications.
is the wave analysis produced?
live X miles from Y beach, should I go surfing tomorrow?
short-answer is: sure why not? :) We can't respond to the numerous individual
requests we receive for such advice, past or present. However, we encourage
you to use the model and observational data presented here as a guide
to your local conditions. Remember: conditions at the beach vary widely
depending on lots of local factors that can't be shown here. The data
presented here is primarily for conditions offshore, you will have to
use your own local knowledge to relate the conditions to your favorite
spot. It takes a little practice, but you'll soon know when it is time
to hit the beach.
do the ship observations come from?
Ships that are
part of the VOS (Voluntary Observing Ship) program report weather
in realtime and this information is forwarded to weather centers around
the globe. The NOAA VOS page http://www.vos.noaa.gov/
gives more information.
can't I see all the navigation links on the left?
need to be at a minimum resolution of 768x1024 and have your web browser
full screen in order to see the full list (you'll also be able to see
more of the images). You can also click on the map image on this page
to view any region. Below is the list of available regions in case you
can't run at this resolution:
What are the
different color wind barbs on the marine observations page?
color coded by type. Buoys are shown in red, ships are shown in blue
and CMAN (Coastal Manned Stations around the U.S.) are shown in magenta.
What are the
gray contours on the marine observation images?
They are sea level
pressure in millibars (mb). The labels are "short hand" that
show just the last two digits: 998mb becomes "98", 999 mb
is "99" 1000mb is "00" and 1001 mb is "01"
and so on.