Visitors to the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) can now receive hourly updates on the direction and speed of ocean surface currents in Hilo Bay.
As noted by administrators of the interactive mapping platform, the new, real-time data set can be useful in narrowing parameters for search and rescue operations, forecasting the distribution of hazardous material spills, and monitoring water quality as well as for forecast modeling and navigation.
Jason Adolf, associate professor and chair of the Marine Science Department at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, said he was excited by the availability of the new data.
“It complements the PacIOOS wave buoy and water quality buoy off Hilo Harbor,” Adolf said in a statement Friday. “Providing data on ocean and water conditions, including waves and surface currents, in near real-time improves decision-making for ocean users, managers and responders. With the new data set we can also develop educational activities for the marine science curriculum at UH-Hilo and raise public awareness in partnership with Mokupapapa Discovery Center.”
Generated by land-based sensors, the surface current monitoring system used for Hilo Bay is part of a larger network supported by the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.