Data Refresh: Renewal of the HYCOM Dataset

At Planet OS, we know that building data-driven applications requires reliable and consistent programmatic access to premium datasets — this is our mission and why we exist. In operating our platform, we occasionally discover that among the 100 datasets we maintain, specific data sources are no longer available. When this happens, we do our best to replace the old with the new, or in the absence of a newer version a similar dataset.

Photo Credit: Martin Damboldt

This week, we will be doing precisely that. We are excited to announce that we are releasing the new and improved Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) dataset. HYCOM provides a 7-day forecast that is used in marine operational planning. This dataset contains multiple variables including temperature, salinity, and sea velocity at depth levels ranging from the ocean surface to water depth of 5000m. It can be used to help determine if it is safe to deploy equipment, conduct operations, or plan an ocean route. Sea surface height and different bottom variables are also available in HYCOM forecast.

Water Temperature using HYCOM GLBy0.08 dataset

Produced under the Global Ocean Forecasting System (GOFS) 3.0, HYCOM announced to users that GOFS 3.0 would be offline from the 19th to the 20th of November 2018. Consequently, “GLBa0.08” and “GLBu0.08" will no longer be available or updated. We have updated the Planet OS Datahub to reflect this change. The suite of GOFS 3.1 data products, serving GLBy0.08 and GLBv0.08 versions, sources the latest operationally suitable alternative. GLBy0.08, in particular, is more advanced than the old HYCOM GLBu0.08 dataset. Added features include better spatial resolution (0.08 x 0.08 degree vs 0.08 lon deg x 0.04 lat deg), bottom variables, and coverage of 80S to 90N (before 80.48S to 80.48N).

Sea Velocity (m/s) in Irminger Basin

As you can see from my two visualizations, the HYCOM data set allows for the creation of multi-dimensional models and forecasts for various ocean conditions. Through the visualization directly above, we can observe the sea velocity in the Irminger Basin. This can provide us with an idea of how tumultuous and powerfully moving the waters are in that area at a given time. Additionally, the rotating globe before this showcased the temperatures of the ocean around the world, providing context for large scale ice melts or water temperature changes. Hence, maps and forecasts like these can create a clear, coherent picture of current ocean conditions for those who travel the seas for fun or fortune.

As datasets like HYCOM provide endless advantages to those reliant on coastal conditions, it is important that its information stays up to date. Fortunately, the Datahub team is working to make sure you don’t have to hassle with retired data. As we move forward this year, we will make sure that this dataset and all others are updated whenever possible. This way, regardless of your industry or passion, reliable environmental data is just a click away.

To read more about the new and old marine dataset, you can visit the HYCOM page.


Many of the datasets made available through the Planet OS Datahub have been at the request of our users. For those who require a consolidated, easy to use, resource for accessing large and complex material that the Datahub does not already offer, please reach out to the team and we will work toward bringing it onboard. For more information check out the Planet OS Datahub.