Pacific Marine Atlas

Available for download from the ftp site.

The Pacific Marine Atlas is a free program to view gridded netCDF datasets, particularly Argo, Reynolds SST and aviso altimetry. After choosing what type of plot to view, a new window will open with a plot produced using the Ferret graphing utility. The current plot options are map view, section view, line plot, time series, and a few simple products.

Installation instructions

  • Double click on executable file downloaded from ftp site.
  • Follow the installation instructions, paying special attention to the choice of installing an Xserver with the Atlas. Ferret needs an Xserver to create the plots. If you have your own Xserver, there is no need for you to install the one with the Atlas, but if you do not have one, please install the compact version of Cygwin, named Cygmin, when you install the Atlas.
  • After installation, a shortcut should appear on your desktop, named something like Pacific_Marine_Atlas.exe. Double click on this to start the Atlas.
  • Choose the type of plot you want to make and get started looking at Argo data.

Updating data in near-real time

Near the middle of each month, new Argo and Reynolds SST data from the previous month will be available to update the Atlas. Currently this is done by hitting the update button on the Atlas. If you have an old version of the Atlas, without an update button, download the new version and re-install the Atlas.

When the update button is pushed, the Atlas will check the Argo and Reynolds SST files on your computer to see what the last date is in the grid. Then the Atlas will check the ftp site to see if a new month of data is available. If it is, the Atlas downloads this new executable file and asks you to install it on your computer. Please follow the instructions and be patient as it can take some time to append the new data to the current files.

If you are a few months behind the newest data, you will have to press the update button several times until you are up to date. Twice a year, in January and July, the entire Argo file must be replaced because a new mean calculation is done.


If you want to skip the update button and simply download and replace the Argo and Reynolds SST grids on your own each month, they are available on the FTP site as and They are to be placed in the c:\marineatlas\ferret\TMAP\fer_dsets\data folder on your computer.

Trouble shooting

  • Cygwin dll:

    A potential problem running the Atlas is conflicting versions of the file "cygwin1.dll". You may need to search your machine for cygwin1.dll. If you have more than one version, copy the most recent version of cygwin1.dll over any older versions.

    In a typical cygwin installation, you can find the file in: c:\cygwin\bin\cygwin1.dll

    In the Atlas, minimal cygwin installation, it is in: c:\cygmin\bin\cygwin1.dll.

    The Atlas uses Ferret and Ferret looks for cygwin1.dll in: c:\marineatlas\ferret\TMAP\cygwin1.dll

  • No window pops up when you hit "create plot"

    Make sure that you have an Xserver running.

    If you have both a LAN and a wireless connection running, especially in Windows Vista, these can interfere with Ferret connecting to its Xserver. Disable the wireless connection, quite the Xserver and the Atlas. Restart the Atlas and try plotting again.


For Atlas support, please contact Megan Scanderbeg ( or Lisa Lehmann (