It is the policy of the Smithsonian to make its data as freely and widely available as possible. Our data sets consist of long-term research data with accompanying documentation (metadata). Meteorological, Hydrological and Physical Oceanographic data are available. All potential users of the data found on this website should read our Data Usage Agreement below. Use of our data implies acceptance of all terms described within.

Unless otherwise indicated, data are provided by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s (STRI’s) Physical Monitoring Program, currently led by Steven Paton. When other researchers and research programs and/or institutions have contributed data, their contribution will be indicated in the accompanying metadata. We request data users to appropriately acknowledge any use or redistribution of these data sets.

Geographic Coverage

STRI’s data are available from two primary sources: permanent meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic stations, and portable ocean temperature sensors.

Figure 1a shows the location of the permanent stations. The location of the ocean temperature sensors is shown in Figure 1b.

Additional physical oceanographic data are collected at or near the Bocas del Toro Research Station (see Figure 2) by the Bocas del Toro Research Station staff, and as part of the Marine Global Earth Observatories (MarineGEO), directed by the Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network (TMON).

The locations where other major data providers collect data, i.e. the Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP) (Panama Canal Authority) and the Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica S.A. (ETESA) are show in Figures 3 and 4 below.

Data Availability

We wish to make our data as freely available as possible. Our ideal goal is to make as much of our physical monitoring data available within 1 to 2 months of collection. Monthly summary files are updated 3 to 4 times per year. Yearly summaries are, of course, updated once a year.

Data from the ACP are updated only once per year. When this occurs depends on the ACP’s ability to make the data publicly available.

ETESA’s data are also available on their website At present, only a small amount of their data is available on their website. For the most part, ETESA provides only monthly historical averages, however, they do provide daily data from 13 locations. These data are only available from 2009 onwards. The data can be downloaded as text files, but only month-by-month and station-by-station. The same data can be found in a single file on STRI’s physical monitoring website. A small amount of additional data, not currently found on ETESA’s web site can also be found on STRI’s website. ETESA is currently working on a new web-based data solution that will provide access to all of their data.

While it is STRI’s policy to make all of its institutional physical monitoring data available, and as quickly as possible, a few restrictions may apply:

  • The location (GPS coordinates) for some marine sensors is provided with rather coarse resolution in order to protect the sensors from theft or vandalism
  • Data may not be released if its quality is currently too low. The same applies if data proofing and QA/QC have not yet been conducted or completed.
  • The data include measurements using new techniques that require further research before their value/limitations are understood.
  • Legacy data that have significant problems in metadata, measurements or other issues that make the value of the data questionable without significant investment of resources.
  • Fully curated data may be available only after a significant delay in order to provide sufficient time for Quality Assurance procedures to be carried out.

Data Usage Agreement

Any STRI Physical Monitoring Program data set and accompanying metadata can be USED for academic, research, recreational, and other professional purposes. Permission to download the data sets is granted to the Data User without a fee, but subject to the following terms:

The Data User will:

  • If the data have been provided by a cooperating researcher or program, the indicated person (usually the Principle Investigator) should be contacted when any work based on or derived from the data is distributed.
  • Notify readers that the work derived from the STRI dataset is a modified version and not the original data and/or documentation distributed by STRI
  • Acknowledge STRI’s support

We strongly urge data users to notify the head of STRI’s Physical Monitoring Program, Steven Paton, of any use or publication of these data via the following email address:

By using or copying these data and/or documentation, the Data User agrees to abide by the terms of this agreement. STRI reserves the right to terminate this agreement immediately by written notice upon the Data User’s breach of, or non-compliance with, any of its terms. The Data User may be held responsible for data misuse that was caused or encouraged by the Data User’s failure to abide by the terms of this agreement.

Thank you for your cooperation.


While substantial efforts are made to ensure the data and documentation are of good quality, STRI makes no claim that these data are 100% free from error or complete. All Smithsonian data are made available on an “as is” basis. Furthermore, STRI makes available third party data as a service to potential users. These data have been selected due to their potential importance to users, and the reputation of the providers. These data are provided with very limited metadata and may have been subjected to little or no quality assurance by STRI. Any questions about these data should be directed to the indicated point of contact.

STRI shall not be liable for damages resulting from the use or misinterpretation of any data sets found on this website.


STRI physical monitoring data sets should be cited as: Data sets provided by the Physical Monitoring Program of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Panama Canal Authority Meteorological and Hydrological data sets should be cited as: Data sets provided by the Meteorological and Hydrological Branch of the Panama Canal Authority.

Data from Panama’s National Meteorological Service, Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica S.A. (ETESA) should be cited as: Data sets provided by the Dirección de Hidrometeorologí­a, Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica S.A.

Data collected as part of the MarineGEO program should use:

Users of other data sets should contact the relevant PI’s for proper citation information.