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Rutgers MCS Logo
how we study the ocean
how does the cool room work
sensing satellites
codar antennae
LEO instruments
MET tower
upwelling index
who's in the cool?
who uses the cool room?
evolution of oceanography

How Does the COOLroom Work?
- The Meteorological Tower - Our Own Local Weather Reporter

If you have ever walked along the beach during a storm, you've seen how the storm can turn what is usually a beach with calm waters into a beach with tremendous waves crashing down in a deafening roar. When the storm is over, the beach is often covered in debris that has traveled many miles in the ocean and been deposited on the sand. This is because storms can cause the ocean to change its behavior.

In the COOLroom, oceanographers monitor the atmosphere and weather. More than anything, scientists have observed that the weather above the water has a large impact on the weather below. When it is cloudy, the sun will not warm the surface water. When the wind is coming from the right direction and it is strong enough, large waves can form.

Rutgers has set up a meteorological tower with instruments that measure:
- temperature -- air temperature in Tuckerton
- humidity -- the amount of moisture is in the air relative to the temperature and reported as a percentage. Humid days will be near 100%, while days around 50% feel dry.
- barometric pressure -- atmospheric pressure in a specific location and altitude
- solar radiation -- a measure of how sunny it is
- wind speed -- a measures of the average wind speed 30 feet off the ground
- wind direction -- a measure of the average wind direction 30 feet off the ground

The tower, located at the Rutgers Marine Field Station in Tuckerton, New Jersey takes these measurements and publishes them on the "on-line COOLroom," updating the information every fifteen minutes.

So, who uses this stuff?
It goes without saying that everyone is interested in the weather, not just oceanographers.

Have you seen the movie "The Perfect Storm" starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg based on the book by Sebastian Junger? It describes the meteorological conditions in October 1991 that produced the "storm of the Century." Waves were 100 feet tall and so fierce an experienced crew of fisherman were lost at sea and a Japanese tanker capsized.