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NOAA CoastWatch Great Lakes Program
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
George A. Leshkevich, Manager

CoastWatch is a nationwide National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) program within which the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) functions as the Great Lakes regional node. In this capacity, GLERL obtains, produces, and delivers environmental data and products for near real-time observation of the Great Lakes to support environmental science, decision making, and supporting research. This is achieved by providing access to near real-time and retrospective satellite observations and in-situ Great Lakes data. The goals and objectives of the CoastWatch Great Lakes Program directly support NOAA’s statutory responsibilities in estuarine and marine science living marine resource protection, and ecosystem monitoring and management.

The CoastWatch node at GLERL provides clients including Federal, state, and local agencies, academic institutions, commercial/industries and the public, both within and outside of the Great Lakes region, with access to near real-time satellite observations and in-situ data for the Great Lakes. CoastWatch data are used in a variety of ways, including near real-time observation and tracking of algal blooms, plumes, ice cover, wind, water intake temperatures at fish hatcheries, two and three dimensional modeling of Great Lakes physical parameters such as wave height and currents damage assessment modeling, research, and educational and recreational activities. In addition, through a cooperative project with Michigan Sea Grant, Great Lakes CoastWatch satellite-derived surface temperature imagery is contoured and made available via Michigan State Sea Grant’s web site. Great Lakes CoastWatch data and products benefit riparians as well as commercial and recreational users.

GLERL is currently receiving a product suite of 33 enhanced digital images including satellite-derived surface temperature (Fig. 1.1), visible and near-infrared reflectance, brightness temperatures, cloud masks, and satellite/solar zenith angle data from the NOAA/AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) series of satellites as well as GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites) visible, near infrared, and water vapor data. These products are acquired by GLERL from NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) on a daily schedule via Internet. In addition, MODIS true color 250m resolution imagery (Fig. 1.2) of each Great Lake (received near real-time from the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin), in-situ and modeled data, including marine and meteorological observations, buoy observations, water level gauge measurements from NOAA's National Ocean Service, and Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis (GLSEA) composite charts (Fig. 1.3), are routinely acquired or produced, stored, and made available to Great Lakes CoastWatch data users. Great Lakes Forecasting system (nowcast and forecast) products are also available to CoastWatch data users. Near real-time AVHRR satellite data for the past 2 weeks are available at GLERL, and access to a retrospective archive that begins in 1990 is available via an Internet link to the NOAA CoastWatch Active Access System at the NESDIS Satellite Active Archive.

Fig. 1
Fig 1.1 Lake Michigan-Huron Water Surface Temperature 03-29-1999 20:00 GMT [NOAA-14]. Notice the high land temperatures in this daytime image.

Fig 1.2 MODIS True Color 250 m resolution image from 4/24/2000

Fig 1.3 The Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis is a daily, cloud-free composite water surface temperature chart produced from near real-time NOAA/AVHRR satellite temperature imagery. As new imagery is acquired, cloud cover is masked and the valid overwater temperatures are composited with the previous four daily composite charts to create a 5-day composite. The composited temperatures have been validated using in situ water temperatures from buoy measurements. Starting in February 1999, the most recent ice cover concentration obtained from the Great Lakes Ice Analysis produced by the National Ice Center has been overlaid on the GLSEA during the winter.

Future Products

Image products derived from new satellite sensors such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR), scatterometer, and ocean color sensors are being developed including ice-type classification and mapping (Fig. 1.4) (Fig. 1.5), high resolution winds (Fig. 1.6), and chlorophyll/HAB mapping. Some prototype examples are shown below.

Fig 1.4 Prototype of classified RADARSAT Scene (22 March 1997): The identified ice classes are rough consolidated ice floes (yellow), brash ice (red), patchy snow cover on snow-ice covered lake ice (green), calm water (blue).

Fig 1.5 Prototype of QuikSCAT ice-cover product for the Great Lakes: Green-red represents radar signal intensity (red suggests thick brash ice) over ice cover, blue is for open water, and violet marks unclassified areas. This result shows ice covered most of Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Georgian Bay for the first time in almost a decade.

Fig 1.6 Prototype of high resolution Great Lakes wind fields from QuikSCAT/SeaWinds Data: The above image of wind vector field is already thinned by a factor of 2 for a clear display purpose. This result captures the storm on 22 October 1999 over the Great Lakes with wind speeds in the range of gale and storm warnings according the criteria by NOAA National Weather Service.

JAVA GIS

A new utility, based on a JAVA applet, allows interactive retrieval of physical parameters such as surface temperature, ice cover, winds, and bottom depth at a given location in an image, which enhances the accessibility and utility of Great Lakes CoastWatch data. The applet is initiated using the JAVA GIS button on the Great Lakes CoastWatch home page. A window will appear in which you can select an image type and date, overlay (shapefile) data, or the URL of a custom shapefile to be viewed. Current image data includes near real-time NOAA AVHRR surface temperature data, Channel 1 visible reflectance data, GLSEA cloud-free composited surface temperature data, and Great Lakes bathymetry. Ice cover concentration data is available during the winter season. Shapefiles includes shoreline, bathymetry, and land mask overlays. Once the image type and date are chosen, select and load desired shapefiles, then press the start button. Two new windows (Panner window and image window) and a control panel window will appear on your screen (Fig 2.1) . Scroll and zoom options are available using the Panner and image window. Overlays (shapefiles) are turned on and off using the control panel (Fig 2.2). Overlay colors can be changed to enhance visibility. In addition, near real-time NOAAPort marine observation data at buoy, CMAN, and Coast Guard shore station locations and/or nowcast gridded winds (at the hour of the displayed satellite image) can be displayed and observed values obtained by moving the cursor over the station or wind vector of interest (Fig 2.3).

Fig2.1.gif
Fig 2.1 The JAVA applet will start two image windows (panner window and image window) and a control panel. The file name, which appears in the upper left corner of the image, contains the year, Julian day, and hour (GMT) of the image.

Fig2.2.gif
Fig 2.2 Water surface temperature image of southern Lake Michigan (May 15, 2000) with bathymetry shapefile overlay (contour intervals in red).

Fig2.3.gif
Fig 2.3 Example of NOAA AVHRR surface temperature image of May 15, 2000 zoomed to show Lake Superior. In addition to the shoreline, overlays shown include nowcast gridded winds (black), buoy (red), and CMAN (yellow) marine observation data for the hour of the image.

CoastWatch Related Publications/Presentations

Leshkevich, G. A., and S. V. Nghiem, Satellite SAR remote sensing of freshwater ice cover, 48th Annual Conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 23-27 May 2005.

Nghiem, S. V., G. A. Leshkevich, and B. W. Stiles. Wind fields over the Great Lakes measured by the SeaWinds scatterometer on the QuikSCAT satellite. Journal of Great Lakes Research 30(1):148-165 (2004).

Leshkevich, G. A., and S. V. Nghiem. Recent anomalies in Great Lakes ice cover based on statistical analysis and observation. 2004 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Anchorage, AK, September 20-24, 2004. IEEE, 1 pp. (2004). PDF

Leshkevich, G. A., and S. V. Nghiem, Radar remote sensing of freshwater ice cover, ENVISAT Symposium, Salzburg, Austria, 6-10 September 2004.

Nghiem, S. V., and G. A. Leshkevich, Great Lakes Ice mapping with satellite scatterometer data, 47th Annual Conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, Univ. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 24-28 May 2004.

Nghiem, S. V., D. G. Barber, G. R. Brakenridge, G. A. Leshkevich, T. Markus, G. Neumann, E. G. Njoku, D. K. Perovich, K. Steffen, M. Sturm, and M. L. Van Woert, Surface water applications of satellite scatterometry, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California, 8-12 December 2003.

Nghiem, S. V. and G. A. Leshkevich. Great Lakes Winter Experiment 2002 (GLAWEX 2002). Synthetic aperture radar applications to ice-covered lakes and rivers. JPL D-26226. NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 10 pp. (2003). PDF

Nghiem, S. V. and G. A. Leshkevich. Great Lakes ice mapping with satellite scatterometer data. Final Technical Report, JPL Task Plan 70-6362, JPL Task Order 15407. NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 26 pp. (2003).

Leshkevich, G. A. and S. Liu. Environmental monitoring of the Great Lakes using CoastWatch data and JAVA GIS. Backscatter Magazine, Spring 2003:13-16 (2003).

Nghiem , S. V., G. A. Leshkevich, and B. W. Stiles, SeaWinds high-resolution wind fields throughout storm evolution over the Great Lakes with verifications by in-situ data and nowcast wind product, International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Toulouse, France, 21-25 July 2003.

Leshkevich, G. A., and S. V. Nghiem, Detection and classification of Great Lakes ice cover using spaceborne radars, International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Toulouse, France, 21-25 July 2003.

Nghiem, S. V., G. A. Leshkevich, and B. W. Stiles, Wind fields over the Great Lakes measured by the QuikSCAT/SeaWinds scatterometer, Joint 46th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research and 10th World Lakes Conference - Global Threats to Large Lakes, Chicago, Illinois, 22-26 June 2003.

Lesht, B. M., J. R. Stroud, M. J. Mccormick, G. L. Fahnenstiel, M. L. Stein, L. J. Welty, and G. A. Leshkevich. An event-driven phytoplankton bloom in southern Lake Michigan observed by satellite. Geophysical Research Letters 29(8):18-1 to 18-4 (2002).

Leshkevich, G. A., and S. V. Nghiem. Radar remote sensing of Great Lakes ice cover. Proceedings, 2002 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium and the 24th Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing, Toronto, Canada, June 24-28, 2002. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., Piscataway, NJ, 1 pp. (2002). PDF

Leshkevich, G. A., and S. V. Nghiem, Development of a Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and scatterometer approach for Lake Superior ice cover mapping, Lake Superior State-of-the-Lake Conference, Houghton, Michigan, 22-24 May 2002.

Leshkevich, G. A., and S. V. Nghiem. The 2002 Great Lakes Winter Experiment (GLAWEX 2002) three-dimensional mapping of the Great Lakes ice cover. Proceedings, NASA AirSAR Workshop, Pasadena, CA, March 4-6, 2002. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, 10 pp. (2002).

Eadie, B. J., D. J. Schwab, T. H. Johengen, P. J. Lavrentyev, G. S. Miller, R. E. Holland, G. A. Leshkevich, M. B. Lansing, N. R. Morehead, J. A. Robbins, N. Hawley, D. N. Edgington, and P. L. VAN HOOF. Particle transport, nutrient cycling, and algal community structure associated with a major winter-spring sediment resuspension event in southern Lake Michigan. Journal of Great Lakes Research 28(3):324-337 (2002).

Nghiem, S. V., and G. A. Leshkevich, Development of a satellite scatterometry approach for Great Lakes ice cover mapping, Invited Paper, International Association of Great Lakes Research, Greenbay, Wisconsin, 10-14 June 2001.

Pichel, W. G., P. Clemente-Colon, K. Friedman, A. C. Lunsford, G. A. Leshkevich, G. Hufford, C. Neigh, W. Y. Tseng, R. N. Stone, and X. Li. CoastWatch applications of synthetic aperture radar imagery. Journal of Advances in Marine Science and Technology Society 4(2):147-154 (2000).

Leshkevich, G. A., D. J. Schwab, G. C. Muhr, and S. Liu. World Wide Web access to Great Lakes CoastWatch environmental data. Proceedings, AWRA Symposium on Water Resources and the World Wide Web, Seattle, WA, December 5-9, 1999. American Water Resources Association, 10 pp. (2000).

Leshkevich, G. A., S. V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok. Monitoring Great Lakes ice cover with satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Proceedings, IEEE 2000 International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Honolulu, HI, July 24-28, 2000. IEEE (2000).

Leshkevich, G. A., and S. Liu. Internet access to Great Lakes CoastWatch remote sensing information. Proceedings, IEEE 2000 International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Honolulu, HI, July 24-28, 2000. IEEE (2000).

Nghiem, S. V., G. A. Leshkevich, and W.-Y. Tsai, Great Lakes ice cover mapping with satellite scatterometer data, Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium, Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 5-14, 2000.

Schwab, D. J., G. A. Leshkevich, and G. C. Muhr. Automated mapping of surface water temperature in the Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 25(3):468-481 (1999). PDF

NGHIEM, S. V., G. A. Leshkevich, and R. Kwok. Shipborne scatterometer measurements of Great Lakes ice. Proceedings, Fifth International Conference on Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments, San Diego, CA, October 5-7, 1998. II-406 to II-409 (1999).

Leshkevich, G. A., S. V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok. Great Lakes ice cover classification and mapping using satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data. Proceedings, Fifth International Conference on Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments, San Diego, CA, October 5-7, 1999. ERIM, II-402 to II-405 (1999).

Shen, H., S. Nghiem, G.A. Leshkevich, and M. Manore. A summary of current remote sensing and modeling capabilities of the Great Lakes ice conditions. Occasional Paper Series: Understanding Great Lakes Issues, 98-11. Great Lakes Program, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, 10 pp. (1998).

Leshkevich, G. A. , S. V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok, Great Lakes ice cover classification and mapping using Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data, Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments, San Diego, California, October 5-7, 1998.

Nghiem, S.V., G.A. Leshkevich, and R. Kwok. Satellite SAR remote sensing of the Great Lakes ice cover. Assigned Project No. 56, NOAA, NOAA Code E/SP, Washington, DC, 32 pp. (1998). PDF

Nghiem, S.V., G.A. Leshkevich, and R. Kwok. C-band polarimetric backscatter observations of Great Lakes ice. Proceedings, IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS '98), Seattle, WA, July 6-10, 1998. 3 pp. (1998).

Leshkevich, G.A., S.V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok. Algorithm development for satellite synthetic radar (SAR) classification and mapping of Great Lakes ice cover. Proceedings, IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS '98), Seattle, WA, July 6-10, 1998. 3 pp. (1998).

Leshkevich, G. A., and S. V. Nghiem, Analysis of Great Lakes ice cover using RADARSAT SAR data, International Association for Great Lakes Research Conference, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, May 18-22, 1998.

Nghiem, S. V., R. Kwok, and G. A. Leshkevich, Satellite SAR remote sensing of Great Lakes ice cover  backscatter signatures and ice motion, Remote Sensing and Modeling Great Lakes Ice, Alexandria, Virginia, October 8-9, 1997.

Leshkevich, G. A., S. V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok, Satellite SAR remote sensing of Great Lakes ice cover  Ice classification, Remote Sensing and Modeling Great Lakes Ice, Alexandria, Virginia, October 8-9, 1997

Tseng, W.Y., W.G. Pichel, A.K. Liu, P. Clement-Colon, G.A. Leshkevich, S.V. Nghiem, R. Kwok, and R.R. Stone. Near Real-Time RADARSAT Data System for NOAA CoastWatch Applications. Proceedings, International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), Singapore, August 3-8, 1997. IEEE, (1997).

Nghiem, S. V., and G. A. Leshkevich, The impact of Great Lakes ice and the lake ice remote sensing from space, Proceedings of Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium, p. 242, Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 7-11, 1997.

Leshkevich, G. A., S. V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok, Algorithm development for satellite SAR mapping of Great Lakes ice cover, Proceedings of Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium, p. 243, Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 7-11, 1997.

Leshkevich, G.A., D.J. Schwab, and G.C. Muhr. Satellite environmental monitoring of the Great Lakes: Great Lakes CoastWatch Program update. Marine Technology Society Journal 30(4):28-35 (1997).

Leshkevich, G.A., S.V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok. Satellite SAR remote sensing of Great Lakes ice cover using RADARSAT data. Proceedings, Fourth International Conference on Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments, Orlando, FL, March 17-19, 1997. Environmental Research Institute of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, I-126-I-134 (1997).

Leshkevich, G. A., S. V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok, Satellite SAR remote sensing of Great Lakes ice cover using RADARSAT data, Workshop on Remote Sensing of Planetary Ices: Earth and Other Solid Bodies, Flagstaff, Arizona, June 11-13, 1997.

Leshkevich, G. A., S. V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok, Remote sensing of Great Lakes ice cover using RADARSAT SAR data, CGLAS/CILER Symposium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, February 4, 1997.

Eadie, B.J., D.J. Schwab, G.A. Leshkevich, T.H. Johengen, R.A. Assel, N. Hawley, R.E. Holland, M.B. Lansing, P.J. Lavrentyev, G.S. Miller, N.R. Morehead, J.A. Robbins, and P. Vanhoof. Development of recurrent coastal plume in Lake Michigan observed for first time. EOS Transactions 77(35):337-338 (1996). PDF

Leshkevich, G. A., S. V. Nghiem, and R. Kwok, Early results on RADARSAT SAR applications to Great Lakes ice, The Sixth Workshop of the Canadian Ice Working Group, RADARSAT for Ice and Oceans, Orlando, Florida, November 19-21, 1996.

Leshkevich, G.A., D.J. Schwab, and G.C. Muhr. Satellite environmental monitoring of the Great Lakes: Great Lakes CoastWatch Program Update. Third Thematic Conference on Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments, Seattle, WA, September 18-20, 1995. I-116 to I-128 (1995).

Leshkevich, G.A., W. Pichel, P. Clemente-Colon, R. Carey, and G. Hufford. Analysis of coastal ice cover using ERS-1 SAR data. International Journal of Remote Sensing 16(17):3459-3479 (1995).

Leshkevich, G.A. Satellite mapping of Great Lakes ice cover. Proceedings, First Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Snow and Ice Workshop, D.K. Hall (ed.), Greenbelt, MD, September 13-14, 1995. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, 87-91 (1995).

Pichel, W., P. Clemente-Colon, G. Hufford, G.A. Leshkevich, G. Wohl, F. Kniskern, J. Sapper, and R. Carey. CoastWatch SAR applications demonstration development phase. Proceedings, Second ERS-1 Symposium, Space at the Service of our Environment, B. Kaldeich, Hamburg, Germany, October 11-14, 1993. European Space Agency, Paris, France, 669-674 (1994).

Leshkevich, G.A., W. Pichel, and P. Clemente-Colon. Great Lakes SAR ice research application demonstration. Second ERS-1 Symposium, Space at the Service of our Environment, Hamburg, Germany, October 11-14, 1993. European Space Agency (ESA SP-361), 675-679 (1994).

Leshkevich, G.A., D.J. Schwab, and G.C. Muhr. Satellite environmental monitoring of the Great Lakes: A review of NOAA's Great Lakes CoastWatch program. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 59(3):371-379 (1993).

Leshkevich, G.A., D.J. Schwab, and G.C. Muhr. NOAA's CoastWatch: Satellite Environmental Monitoring of the Great Lakes. Proceedings, First Thematic Conference on Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments, New Orleans, LA, June 15-17, 1992. American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 575-588 (1992).

Schwab, D.J., G.A. Leshkevich, and G.C. Muhr. Satellite measurements of surface water temperature in the Great Lakes: Great Lakes CoastWatch. Journal of Great Lakes Research 18(2):247-258 (1992). PDF

Leshkevich, G.A., D.W. Deering, T.F. Eck, and S.P. Ahmad. Diurnal patterns of the bi-directional reflectance of fresh-water ice. Annals of Glaciology 14:153-157 (1990).

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