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Coastal Ocean Observing Benefits to Georgia

Accessing Coastal and Ocean Data

If you are a commercial shipping vessel, a recreational fisherman, a kayaker, or a beachcomber, you need information on tides, winds, and other ocean conditions.  The map below is an example of how users can  access coastal and ocean observations along the Georgia coast. Each station provides information such as the latest observed values including air temperature, wind speed, sea temperature, and water level.

Mapping the Direction of the Currents

SECOORA  is a critical player in the development of a national system of high frequency radars (HF radar).  This technology has been nationally recognized as a solution to provide the level of detail required by scientists and forecasters to measure surface current speed and direction.  Applications of HF Radar that require access to densely distributed, near-real-time, current measurements are:

  • search and rescue operations
  • tracking and predicting oil spills and harmful algal blooms
  • assessing shoreline erosion
  • predicting rip currents
  • providing maritime forecasts of currents and waves to recreational and commercial marine communities

An HF Radar installation placed this year along the GA/SC coast on Jekyll Island, GA is the third HF Radar that SECOORA is partially supporting in Georgia.  The three systems work together to create a detailed map of surface ocean currents across an area stretching more than 125 miles off shore from SC to North Florida.   They facilitate collaborative work across the southern border into Florida.

Understanding Impacts to Marine Ecosystems

Understanding the connectivity between the ocean environment and upland ecosystems is critical for monitoring water quality and understanding impacts to marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. Remotely sensed ocean color products provide a mechanism to understand this connection and are proving to be a critical management tool for NOAA’s Coral Health and Monitoring Program. University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Laboratory at the College of Marine Science is working with these regional ocean managers to generate a glint-free color index (CI) product for the SECOORA region and provide it via a Web interface.  The Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON) Coral Health and Monitoring program uses the small-scale eddies observed from these new products to help monitor the hydrodynamics in the delicate coral ecosystem, such as those found in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

Educating Tomorrows Ocean Leaders

Fostering ocean literacy is a primary goal of SECOORA’s education and outreach efforts, with a focus specifically on observing technologies and tools.  One example is the Basic Observation Buoy (BOB) project.  BOB is a student-built floating platform with capacity to carry a suite of environmental sensors. Three interactive workshops have introduced this concept of a scaled-down, functional platform for collecting information on water conditions and chemistry to university scientists and informal and formal educators. BOB can be moored to the bottom or to a dock in quiet waters. Sensors on the buoy typically include salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature.

Supporting Georgia’s Environmental Efforts

SECOORA is a member of the Southeast (SE) Atlantic‐Marine Debris Initiative (SEA-MDI) Consortium, housed at University of Georgia.  This regional partnership with NOAA’s Marine Debris Division aims to create collaborative regional strategies addressing Marine Debris prevention, reduction and mitigation.  This program will enhance existing programs and partnerships by increasing involvement of organizations, industry, and/or communities in preventing marine debris, and combining resources with national and regional partners to increase the geographic scope and pace of marine debris prevention activities through the use of culturally relevant outreach methods, information on alternative disposal methods, and the development and dissemination of tools and innovative products to address marine debris.

Georgia Members


Georgia Resources

Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative is housed at University of Georgia and SECOORA is a member of the Consortium.

View NOAA’s Coastal County Snapshots to:

  • Assess a county’s exposure and resilience to flooding
  • Analyze a county’s dependence on the ocean or Great Lakes for a healthy economy
  • Compare counties to each other or for regional analysis
  • Download a PDF report for the snapshot of your choice

More About How Coastal and Ocean Observing Supports Georgia

Users can explore and query buoy and other data through the SECOORA Interactive Map

Photo of the Jekyll Island, GA HF Radar site. Seven antennas are mounted on a public boardwalk and five are in the dune woods/scrub. Photo: Trent Moore, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography


The Gray’s Reef National Marine Santuary is engaged in SECOORA as a key stakeholder and user of the data and information that comes from the observing systems and the models based on these observations. This photo shows an orange ridged sea star (Echinaster spinulosus) and large white sponge dominate scene composed of numerous invertebrates. Image Credit: Greg McFall, Gray’s Reef NMS, NOS, NOAA, NOAA Photo Library.


Angela Bliss from University of Georgia and Jim Nelson from Skidaway Institute of Oceanography assemble a BOB, a Basic Observation Buoy designed to teach students from kindergarten through graduate school about observing technologies. This image is from the first BOB Workshop held at SkIO. Image Credit: Lundie Spence, COSEE-SE.