Bi-Weekly IOOS® Z-Gram – 10 June 2016


ZGram picThe Z-Gram is an informal way of keeping you up-to-date on US IOOS® activities. Pass it on! Please reply with an e-mail with additional addresses or if you no longer want to receive the Z-Gram. Previous Updates


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IOOS website gets a digital facelift!  Check out IOOS’ new website. Questions or comments? Can’t find your favorite IOOS content? Please drop us a line at: and we'll be happy to help.

From the IOOS Program Office:

  • CONGRATS GLOS Certified!  GLOS is the 2nd IOOS Regional Association to receive certification status.  Great work by the GLOS team led by Executive Director Kelli Paige.

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies:

  • HF Radar/Radio (IOOS national coordinator , Jack Harlan;  BZ to the team at Texas A&M for 2 new long-range CODARs delivering high quality data in Texas at Rollover Pass and Surfside, providing coverage along the coast off Galveston. Thank you to Kerri Whilden (postdoc) and Andrew Dancer (radar tech) in John Walpert's group for their hard work.
  • Ocean Technology Transition: Ocean Technology Transition
    • Correction to the last Zgram:  We mistakenly attributed the development of the Environmental Sensor Processor (ESP) sensor to NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science (NCCOS).  The technology was developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).  MBARI continues to be a valuable partner in the continued development of the ESP.
    • The Next Generation of Tags & Scientists:  Daniel Coffey, Ph.D. candidate at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) Shark Research Group, is testing the next generation of electronic tags to measure and record dissolved oxygen data from free-ranging fish. Under the supervision of Dr. Kim Holland, and supported by PacIOOS, IOOS, and Wildlife Computers, the team of researchers successfully demonstrated the capabilities of a prototype dissolved oxygen pop-up satellite archival tag with trial deployments on bluntnose sixgill sharks. In addition, Daniel is testing dorsal fin-mounted satellite transmitters to collect information on swimming depth, ambient temperature, and oxygen, typically mounted on scalloped hammerhead and tiger sharks.  
  • United States Geological Survey and NERACOOS team up for Maine’s newest tide gauge:  More vital coastal storm-tide information needed to help guide storm response efforts following major storms is now available with the addition of Maine’s newest U.S. Geological Survey installed tide gauge. Camp Ellis was specifically targeted for the tide gauge in coordination with NERACOOS, the National Weather Service, and state and local emergency managers. Read the full story.
  • CARICOOS-UVI Crown Bay Station:  CARICOOS-UVI is installing the long planned meteorological and ocean reporting system in Crown Bay, St. Thomas. The Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal is St. Thomas’ second cruise port and is visited by large vessels such as the world’s two (currently) largest cruise ships, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. The just-launched Harmony of the Seas, just 1 foot longer than its sister ships, will start docking there in January. Mounted on the mooring dolphin in the water just south of the pier, the CARICOOS instrument package looks out to the West Gregerie Channel, which provides access to St. Thomas’s primary container port and to the adjacent upscale Crown Bay Marina.  Currents, winds, and other atmospheric and oceanographic variables will be collected in real-time and transmitted every 6 minutes. A 300 kHz , horizontally directed Teledyne-RDI ADCP will capture the currents while a WXT-520 “all in one” weather station will provide the meteorology. After installation is complete and data flow tested the station’s data will be available on the CARICOOS webpage. UVI’s Sub-regional Coordinator Paul Jobsis leads the team. System integration is provided by Sutron and project management and support by Doug Wilson of Caribbean Wind, LLC.

Data Management and Communications (DMAC) Subsystem and Tools Built on IOOS data (DMAC list serve – contact Derrick or Rob -,

  • IOOS releases our Environmental Sensor Map – millions of observations at your fingertips:  Access from and click on the thumbnail, or go directly to  The map displays an enormous amount of real-time meteorological and oceanographic data from sources across the IOOS enterprise.  The hexagonal bins seen in the default view are averages of data (default parameter is water temperature).  This binning changes as you zoom into a location. One feature to note is that the menu options allow you to view each RA's real-time assets. This in partnership with Axiom Data Science.
  • MARACOOS Launches New Asset Map: In partnership with ASA, MARACOOS has launched a new data portal! The new portal integrates both observation and model data, allows users to set time frames and areas of interest, visualizes all available data, including 3D model data, provides interactive time-series and profile plots, and allows users to perform model-observation comparisons.  Please provide comments to  Click here to check out the soft release of their data portal.
  • Enter the GLOS Data Challenge to make a difference in the world – and to earn cash prizes:  As part of their 10 year anniversary, GLOS will take open data to the next level by using innovation to broaden the community, create new partnerships and to engage people in problem solving for the Great Lakes.  Challenge participants should use open data to develop new data tools that give communities, recreational users and natural resource managers new means to improve the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem or to provide better access to ecosystem services within the Basin. Create an app, mash-up or visualization that uncovers trends, reveals patterns, or shows how ecosystem services could be more efficiently utilized and can persuade people to take action. and
  • QARTOD Update – (lead Mark Bushnell -
    • Phytoplankton:  Up next, a second announcement has been emailed to the growing list of subject matter experts, continuing to solicit committee members and potential manual reviewers. Email Mark if you are interesting in supporting this effort.
  • Animal Telemetery Network (ATN) - Project Manager Bill Woodward
    • Bill participated in the 6th Annual Canada’s Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) Symposium in Halifax where senior researchers and their students from OTN’s national and international arenas synthesize their research projects for fellow scientists, industry professionals and policymakers, which included Assistant Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Trevor Swerdfager, who delivered the opening plenary.  Bill talked to the participants to explain our ATN vision and objectives.  Bill spent time with Lenore Bajona learning about the OTN data system and their extensive collaborative data efforts within the acoustic tracking community.
    • Zdenka and Bill were hosted by Mark Jollymore (VEMCO President) for a visit to the beautiful new Vemco building on the outskirts of town; they have almost 100 employees now and supply ~ 90% of the hardware used for aquatic animal acoustic telemetry.  We were both impressed by their operations.
    • Bill (in person) and Hassan (remotely) participated in Florida Acoustic Telemetry (FACT) workshop.  Bill presented an overview of the ATN concept and strategy to the approximately 40 attendees; they were very supportive and had some specific questions about evolution of the tagging technology; based on the presentations given at the meeting it is clear that there is an enormous amount of acoustic telemetry assets in the FACT-SECOORA region.
  • IOOS DMAC Meeting in Silver Spring, MD, 2-3 June: The IOOS DMAC meeting teed off with a 5-year vision discussion on the direction of IOOS data management to set the stage.  A vision document at the center of discussion is going to be circulated for comment.  The community was represented by IOOS RAs, NOAA, USGS, Ocean Tracking Network, Axiom Data Science, RPS ASA, BOEM, and SERC.  The presentations are available from the IOOS Website.

Modeling and Analysis Subsystem
(IOOS PO and IOOS Coastal Ocean Modeling Testbed (COMT) POC – Becky Baltes,   

  • No update.

Interagency and International Collaboration/News:

  • Advancing Earth Observations in the Americas – AmeriGEOSS Week and 4th Americas Caucus Meeting: The AmeriGEOSS Week was held June 7th – June 10th in Bogota, Colombia, at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, hosted by the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies of Colombia (IDEAM). The week began with an opening Plenary including remarks from Omar Franco, Director of IDEAM; Mrs. Barbara Ryan, Director of the GEO Secretariat; and from leadership at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Barbara emphasized the importance of earth observations in making environmental decisions and how this week represents the convening power of GEO, bringing together governments, university, and industry. Just as with the global effort of GEO and the regional effort through AmeriGEOSS, the next phase is better integration nationally in each country. She closed her remarks by stating “countries have borders, earth observations don’t. We must integrate across regional and national boundaries.”

Following the opening plenary, the GEO Americas Caucus Meeting was convened. In attendance were the Principals or Representatives from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, United States, and the Director and representative from the GEO Secretariat. The Americas Caucus received feedback from the latest GEO Executive Committee meeting and GEO Programme Board, reviewed and discussed the Terms of Reference of the AmeriGEOSS Coordination Working Group, and presented on activities from the priority areas from each Member country. A major outcome from the meeting was a Declaration renewing the Americas Caucus commitment to the AmeriGEOSS Initiative.
As the Americas Caucus meeting was occurring, four capacity building training courses were held concurrently with attendance by over 180 participants from the Americas Region. These workshops, focused in the areas of Agriculture, Water, and Disasters, were designed as “Train the Trainer” courses, where the participants from each institution will be able to transfer knowledge learned in these workshops to those at their particular institutions. We will have a full story on our website later this week.

  • Did the Earth Move? Processing 12 Million Data Files Will Tell Us!  NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey’s (NGS) Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) are frequently used as “truth” for commercial surveying, engineering, and scientific activities, and periodically they must be reprocessed to take advantage of the latest geophysical models. This reprocessing, or ‘REPRO,’ allows NGS scientists to determine the precise movement of the North American and surrounding tectonic plates. The first REPRO, completed in 2011, required approximately 12 months to process. This time, however, NGS is leveraging a Cloud computing opportunity with Microsoft Azure. By using 40 virtual machines “in the Cloud,” this second REPRO will take less than one month to complete (despite the project being more than 50 percent larger than when the first REPRO took place). Once results are analyzed, improved positions for the CORS will be made available for public use.
  • NOAA and Partners Chart New Territory for Ocean Science: NOAA Research and NOAA Fisheries have teamed up with academic and private sector partners to test innovative technologies that, if successful, will enable researchers to gather information in areas of the ocean virtually off limits to standard research vessels.  Scientists will be using a novel research platform that resembles a windsurfer, called a Saildrone, developed by Saildrone, Inc. Scientists and engineers equipped two of these autonomous, wind- and solar-powered vessels with other newly designed technologies. Their goal is to collect needed oceanographic data and information for endangered and commercially important species living in remote areas of the Bering Sea.  The mission unites scientists and engineers from NOAA, the University of Washington, the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and the Ocean, Saildrone, Inc., Simrad AS/Kongsberg Maritime, and Greeneridge Sciences, Inc. The marine mammal related research is possible due to the generous support of the Marine Mammal Commission
  • Training Workshop on Ocean Observations and Data Applications: Under the Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP), more than 30 attendees gathered in Noumea, New Caledonia, to discussion ocean observations and data applications (PI-2) in the Pacific Islands. The goal is to increase capacity to collect, analyze, and communicate oceanographic data to enhance the livelihoods of Pacific Islanders, and will allow them to more effectively engage in the global ocean community. The Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) hosted the workshop, which was also supported by the Joint World Meteorological Organization (WMO) - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM), NOAA's Climate Program Office (CPO), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and Pacific Community (SPC). PacIOOS staff were invited as trainers to share information about the existing framework in the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands, provide insights into accessing real-time and climate data, and discuss how ocean information supports decision-making and community resilience. 

Delivering the Benefits:

  • SCCOOS is a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador!  NOAA’s National Weather Service has selected SCCOOS as one of their Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors, which is an effort to strengthen national resilience against extreme weather.  SCCOOS is committed to collaborate with NOAA to increase dialog and information sharing to provide more consistent weather safety messages and improve interagency communications.  Check out some of the innovative, “Be a Force of Nature or Owlie Skywarn” efforts.
  • Update on recurrent nuisance flooding around the United States: NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services’ (CO-OPS) Billy Sweet and National Centers for Environmental Information’s John Marra’s report found that the frequency of nuisance tidal flooding in many U.S. cities increased as predicted for the 2015 meteorological year, and in some cities, the days of nuisance flooding exceeded trends and broke records, especially in the southeastern U.S and Gulf Coast. Wilmington, North Carolina, saw an all­time high of 90 days of nuisance flooding, nearly one quarter of the year. Other cities with record numbers of flooding days are Charleston, South Carolina; Port Isabel, Texas; Mayport, Virginia Key, Key West, and Fernandina Beach, Florida.  The report provides the outlook for the 2016 meteorological year, taking into account the La Niña conditions anticipated to develop in the coming months.
  • CO-OPS Introduces New High Tide Bulletin: The seasonal High Tide Bulletin provides region-specific information about where the highest of high tides will have the most impact during a perigean spring tide. The inaugural bulletin covers the perigean spring tide from June 3-7. CO-OPS will issue the bulletins seasonally during perigean spring tides.
  • AOOS Alaska Blob Tracker: Two stories regarding the “Blob” in the Gulf of Alaska were posted on the Alaska Blob Tracker Blog. A small species of typically temperate jellyfish related to the Portuguese man o’ war known as “sailors by the wind” were spotted south offshore of the Copper River Delta


  • No update.


  • Rick Spinrad, NOAA’s Chief Scientist on the Blue Economy: “The New Blue Economy: A Vast Oceanic Frontier” — Opinion EOS
  • Young GCOOS Citizen Scientists Featured in Ranger Rick Magazine: You got to read this one!  The citizen scientists GCOOS is working with to pilot this new data portal — from the Florida Aquarium and the Nature’s Academy in Florida and the Galveston Bay Foundation in Texas — were featured in a recent issue of Ranger Rick magazine, thanks to Dr. Chris Simoniello, director of Outreach and Education for GCOOS. She worked with the editors and photographers at the magazine to put together a feature article looking at how the kids are learning science, learning about the environment and sharing their findings with others. Read the story

Upcoming Meetings with IOOS Participation:

  • Oceans ’16 – Gearing up:
    • QARTOD Session
    • Townhalls:
      • IOOS Office and Monterey Bay International Trade Association  - “The ‘Blue Silicon Valley’ Emerges from the ‘Serengeti of the Sea’’
      • IOOS Office and Global Ocean Design LLC – Ocean Innovation and Unique Partnerships
    • IOOS Office and CeNCOOS are teaming up with NOAA for a booth.

View the IOOS calendar:


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