Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

NRL Adaptive Ecosystem Climatology

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Adaptive Ecosystem Climatology (AEC) integrates in situ earth observations, satellite data, and ocean model output to generate daily summaries of ocean climate conditions for the U.S. East and West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. This dataset also combines physical oceanographic data (e.g.current and temperature) with biological data (chlorophyll concentrations and plankton population estimates). It is a flexible eco-forecasting tool designed to inform decision-making for conservation and natural resource management. The AEC can be used to examine mean conditions, analyze available observations, and provide input data/boundary conditions for many types of models.


See the About tab for product details and specifications.

NRL Data Products
Product Grid/Scale POR Model Cycle Output Time Step Access
Gulf of Mexico Model-based climatology 1/25° 1 year climatology 1 day 1 day
Gulf of Mexico Satellite-based climatology 1/100° 1 year climatology 1 day 1 day
US East Coast Satellite-based climatology 1/77° 1 year climatology 1 day 1 day
US West Coast Satellite-based climatology 1/78° 1 year climatology 1 day 1 day

Product Details

The AEC incorporates three-dimensional, dynamically balanced, gridded, static climatologies for each calendar day. Using the static climatology as a background “first guess,” recent observations (satellite or in situ) are assimilated to adjust the climatology toward current conditions to provide updated, representative fields (adaptive climatology).

Each calendar day in the climatology represents a 5-day rolling average centered on that day, with data from all 11 years included. Thus, the value at each pixel represents the average of up to 55 different data values. 

Satellite Climatology


  • Time Frame: 2003–2013
  • Processing Resolution: 1-km
  • File Format: NetCDF


  • Chlorophyll Concentration
  • Sea Surface Temperature

Input Data

Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) level-1 data

Model Based Climatology


  • Description: Coupled biophysical ocean model
  • Time-Frame: 33-year simulation (1980–2012)
  • Resolution: 4-km
  • File Format: NetCDF


  • Sea Surface Elevation
  • Ocean Temperature
  • Salinity
  • Eastward and Northward Currents
  • Phytoplankton
  • Diatoms
  • Micro-zooplankton
  • Meso-zooplankton

Input Data

  • Hydrodynamics: Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) hydrodynamics
  • Marine Biochemistry: Carbon Silicate Nitrogen Ecosystem (COSINE)
  • Satellite Sea Surface Temperature (SST): Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)

Boundary Conditions

  • 1/8° Global NCOM
  • Atmospheric fluxes prescribed by NASA’s Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA)