Great Lakes Currents, flow matters.

Posted on October 27th, 2020


Click on this link to view a map with live current video of the Great Lakes, https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/currents/glcfs-currents-surf.html  . This animation may not work on all browsers.

Note, these maps are designed to depict a broad overview of the current field, and are considered to be more qualitative than quantitative. In particular, the specific coordinates are not very accurate. See also, https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/, and https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/kml/glcfsmap_small.php?param=waves_ft.

The flow patterns depicted in these visualizations of lake currents are based on simulations from the Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System operated by NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

The “Latest” and “3hrs Previous” visualizations depict water motion corresponding to a snapshot of lake currents at the present time and three hours previous to the present time. Lake currents can change rapidly with changing wind conditions.

Surface currents tend to follow the wind direction more closely than currents at depth. Depth-averaged currents represent the average water motion from surface to bottom and tend to follow shoreline and bottom contours.

This map uses copyrighted technology developed by Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg (hint.fm) for their stunning wind map application. They have graciously allowed us to show visualization of lake currents here until license issues are resolved.

Data is acquired from from the GLOS THREDDS Data Server via OPeNDAP using python scripts (courtesy of Rich Signell).

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