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New Daily International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set

Foundational data product available in daily and monthly versions

Technician wearing safety gear deploys yellow buoy into blue-green ocean.
Courtesy of NOAA

NCEI receives oceanographic data from all types of observing systems, and the data we house form one of the most significant archives on Earth. NCEI also utilizes the vast amounts of data we steward to create integrated products that support the broader scientific and societal application communities.

One of our most extensive collections of ocean and weather data is the International Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS), the world’s largest collection of surface marine observations spanning from 1662 to the present. The dataset provides an integrated source of environmental observations such as sea surface temperature, air temperature, sea level pressure, and wind speed and direction. These observations are gathered from a variety of observing platforms including ships, moored and drifting buoys, and fixed platforms like oil rigs and coastal offshore structures. The dataset also includes more recent observations collected through autonomous vehicles such as sail drones. ICOADS freely provides access to a range of observation types, globally, and through the entire marine instrumental record. 

Integrated Observations Provided Daily 

ICOADS has undergone some major upgrades. In March 2022, we released an updated version, ICOADS R3.0.2-Monthly. ICOADS R3.0.2-Monthly includes near-real-time data transmitted in the Binary Universal Form for the Representation of Meteorological Data (BUFR) format, in combination with the Traditional Alphanumeric Codes (TAC) data. Inclusion of BUFR data increased the number of data reports by millions. In August 2022, the ICOADS R3.0.2-Monthly enhancements were enumerated in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology

Now, ICOADS has released ICOADS R3.0.2-Daily. Originally developed as an input into NCEI’s Daily Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature (DOISST), ICOADS R3.0.2-Daily follows the same processing and output format as the ICOADS R3.0.2 monthly product. With its public release, ICOADS R3.0.2-Daily allows its worldwide users—such as dataset developers, reanalysis centers, and the satellite community—to access this important data each day while still providing the monthly file, which is inclusive of all the data for that time period. 

The new daily version of ICOADS provides added value to one of the most complete and heterogeneous collections of surface marine data in existence.

Support from Interconnected Community

While NCEI has the responsibility for the operation and maintenance of ICOADS, the “I” stands for international. ICOADS is informed by the international marine community and long-standing partnerships, such as the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Florida State University, National Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom, the German Meteorological Service Deutscher Wetterdienst, and recently, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada.