An Up-to-date Daily Water Temperature Climatology for US Coastal Bays,
Harbors, and Estuaries: 1993-2017
In 1988, the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services
(CO-OPS), an office of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, began to record
continuous 6-minute water temperature data with thermistors at the
coastal stations of the National Water Level Observation Network. Today,
140 of the stations have accumulated at least 15 years of archived data.
We performed extensive quality control of the daily-averaged water
temperatures by excluding periods of suspect data revealed through
inter-station comparison. All quality-controlled series have 15-25 years
of daily means that, when aggregated, produce an average seasonal cycle
for 365 days of the year. Residual temperature series obtained after
subtracting the average seasonal cycle from the daily mean temperature
depict the inter-annual variations. A threshold for defining an extreme
residual water temperature was selected to highlight periods of
anomalously warm or cold coastal water conditions. This type of climate
information should prove valuable to users in the fields of ecology and
fisheries management for quantifying anomalous temperature effects on
coastal ecosystems (such as fisheries, corals, sea grasses, harmful
algal blooms, etc). Knowledge of average seasonal water temperature
cycles are also useful for validating coastal hydrodynamic models.
Extended periods from weeks to months of high or low coastal sea levels
can be correlated with coastal water temperature anomalies.