Bi-Weekly IOOS® Z-GRAM – 15 April 2016


Z-Gram 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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From the IOOS Program Office:

  • 2015 IOOS Report sent to Congress:  Catch up with the accomplishments of the IOOS enterprise. This report details continuing activities and processes in implementing the 2009 Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observing System (ICOOS) Act, which authorized the establishment of a national ocean observing system--IOOS.  It covers program updates and milestones for 2013-2014.  Download the report.  
  • IOOS Advisory Committee: Thank you very much to the committee, Dr. William Brown and Dr. Walter Johnson (BOEM), and the Ocean Exploration Advisory Board Chair VADM (ret) Paul Gaffney for a great meeting.  Thank you to VADM (ret) Manson Brown (NOAA) and Dr. Russell Callender (NOAA/NOS) for stimulating good discussion, especially on transition activities.  View the presentations.
  • Congrats: Congrats to Kathy Bailey who successfully competed for a promotion within the IOOS program office.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) wants to make the U.S. scientific community more inclusive:  From Science Magazine - This week NSF announced its intention to hand out small grants later this year to dozens of institutions to test novel ways of broadening participation in science and engineering. Winners of the 2-year, $300,000 pilot grants will be eligible to compete next year for up to five, $12.5 million awards over 5 years. NSF is calling the program INCLUDES (inclusion across the nation of communities of learners of underrepresented discoverers in engineering and science.)  The underrepresentation of women and minorities in the scientific workforce is a problem that has persisted for decades despite many well-meaning federal initiatives.  Read the full article here:
  • 17th Biennial Challenger Conference: The conference is taking place in Liverpool on 5-9 September 2016.  Malcom Heran, British Oceanographic Data Centre is co-chairing a session on Technological advancement and democratisation of ocean observing systems.  In addition there is a wide range of other proposed sessions and special interest groups (including data management).  Deadline for abstracts is 12th May.

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies

  • HF Radar (IOOS national coordinator, Jack Harlan;
    • The ORCAP (Ocean Radar Conference for Asia-Pacific; formerly ORCA) meeting was held earlier this week in Wuhan, China. IOOS partners from MARACOOS attended, as well as CODAR reps since CODAR’s primary business growth has been in Asia for the last several years. No reports yet from the attendees.
  • Glider Updates: The Naval Oceanographic Office glider tracks have been added to the IOOS underwater glider map for active deployments in the vicinity of the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is the second year of this coordination with NAVO to provide visualization for their missions.

Data Management and Communications (DMAC) Subsystem and Tools Built on IOOS data:

(Contact Derrick or Rob to get on the list serve for changes -,

  • Annual DMAC Meeting: The IOOS Office is leading the IOOS DMAC meeting June 2-3 to review, update, and coordinate with data managers on the state of IOOS data standards and service implementation and requirements for future growth and operation of the system. Contact Rob Ragsdale if you want to attend. 
  • QARTOD Update: lead Mark Bushnell -
    • Updated Water level manual ReleasedRead it here.
    • Glider QC Manual:  Received, recorded, reviewed, and responded to comments from the third broad international review.
    • HF Radar Surface Currents QC Manual: Draft manual was redistributed for a second review. Many thanks to Teresa Updyke (ODU) and Don Barrick (CODAR Ocean Systems) for their thoughtful and extensive replies! Those and others are being used to complete this version of the draft, in preparation for the third round of reviews.

Modeling and Analysis Subsystem

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

  • NOAA’s 7th annual Testbed and Proving Ground Meeting:  Becky attended the meeting and learned about several potential collaboration opportunities for COMT with other Testbeds. View presentations here

Interagency and International Collaboration/News

  • IOOC glider task team: Held the first in-person Glider Task Team Meeting.  Look for the survey in May.
  • BOEM Science Note - Arctic study finds high correlation of biomass to species diversity in northern Chukchi Sea: This month's Science Note presents new findings from the 2015 field season of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Observing Network study (AMBON). Last August, researchers began monitoring biodiversity in the Arctic Chukchi Sea from an ecosystem perspective, looking at microbes, whales and everything in between. BOEM is supporting this study to enhance environmental impact assessments and develop better metrics for cumulative impact analysis and a broader perspective of the ecosystem. Read more.
  • New Agreement Enlists Citizen Scientists in Support of Scripps Exploration at Sea:  An agreement signed between Scripps-UC San Diego and the International SeaKeepers Society (SeaKeepers) will leverage the might of citizen scientists in support of research projects at sea. This started in 2011 when Scripps Director’s Council member Patty Elkus, a founding member of SeaKeepers, worked with Kevin Hardy, a longtime Scripps engineer now retired, on ways to match SeaKeepers member vessels with projects that could benefit from ship support.  Scripps graduate student Natalya Gallo is advancing her research on the ecology of deep-sea organisms with help from the San Diego Yacht Club and a local yacht owner. Gallo is investigating the impact of declining subsurface oxygen levels off California and working with Kevin Hardy who developed miniature landers capable of being hand-launched off yachting vessels. San Diego Yacht Club’s Rodney Moll learned of Gallo’s research and Hardy’s new five-foot-tall “nanolander” and volunteered to take them to sea aboard his vessel Niyama. (In the tradition of famed Scripps geophysicist and oceanographer Walter Munk’s research groups, each instrument is given a name. Gallo has named her nanolander “Beebe” after 1930s deep-sea explorer William Beebe). Read the full article.
  • Testing Optionally-Piloted Aircraft in Unmanned Aircraft Mode to Cover Greater Area, More Efficiently and Economically: NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey’s (NGS) Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum (GRAV-D) project measures gravity from aircraft to support highly accurate height measurements. Once complete, GRAV-D will provide an estimated $240 million in annual savings from improved floodplain management and an additional $282 million in savings from activities that benefit from more precise elevations, including coastal resource management, construction, agriculture, and emergency planning. Through a Small Business Innovation Research grant, NGS successfully tested the gravity-measurement device on an ‘optionally piloted’ aircraft out of Manassas, Virginia, this past week.  Test flights will take place in ‘unmanned mode’ with a safety pilot aboard. Partners include Aurora Flight Services Corporation and Micro-g LaCoste.
  • Submit ocean science priority ideas for the next Presidency: The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, American Geophysical Union, and US CLIVAR are seeking input from a wide audience of ocean stakeholders and scientists to help inform future ocean science priorities in the next Administration. If you would like to contribute to the recommendations, now is the time to do so. Please submit your requests in the form of broad themes or goals, followed by a few specific actions to accomplish them, by May 13 to
  • Free App Connects Anglers with Saltwater Fishing Regulations: Recreational fishermen from Maine to Texas can keep track of saltwater fishing regulations.  The free app, Fish Rules, provides images of various species for identification and lets fishermen know in real time if a fish is in season at their location, how many they can keep, minimum size, bag and vessel limit, and more.

Delivering Benefits

  •  GLOS buoys will continue to operate: In a fantastic example of local groups working together for the public good, Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) announced that they've reached an agreement with Cleveland Water to continue operating 2 buoys in Lake Erie.  Cleveland Water benefits by getting valuable, real-time data on Lake Erie water which is important for public health, and GLOS benefits by getting the same information into their data products and to integrate upwards to IOOS and global observing networks.  Buying a buoy is like buying a car--the purchase is the first step in a multi-year financial commitment that includes maintenance, operational costs, and even storage costs. The data from buoys serves the local community as well as the national and global observing community. IOOS bridges the gaps to link local/national/global, but GLOS & Cleveland Water's deal demonstrates how communities can work together to create stronger networks in their region, which has benefits that ripple all the way to the top of the chain. Read more. BZ GLOS and Cleveland Water!
  • Article on the NOAA and port project: The Port of Long Beach, California Office of Spill Prevention and Response (CA OSPR), Tesoro – the Operator of the supertanker berth 121, and Jacobsen Pilot Service who, together, teamed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), and CDIP to develop a Dynamic Under Keel Clearance Project for the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles.  This Project was developed to support Port operations during the late summer when storms and hurricanes in the Pacific and off the coast of Mexico create a long swell from the south. This causes ships entering the ports to pitch as they approach, and 1 degree of pitch on a 1,100-foot tanker is a 9.6-foot increase in draft. Thus, a tanker with an even-keel draft of 65 feet increases draft to 74.6 feet under these conditions, leaving only 1.4 feet of water under the keel.  The overarching goal of the project was to develop a scientific method of predicting the pitch and roll of large deep draft vessels calling at the Port of Long Beach to manage under keel clearance.  An in-depth article about the project, its accomplishments to-date, and future plans was recently published in The Pacific Maritime Magazine.
  • Impacts of El NinoListen to San Diego NBC Affiliate coverage of SCCOOS and its partners’ efforts to monitor and predict the impact of El Nino on the local coastline, beaches, and estuaries: “Local scientists say this year’s El Nino is having a big impact on San Diego’s coastline, and they need the public’s help keeping track of it. Although there hasn't been a massive amount of rain, local researchers say people have to think about the waves and the impact they're having on the coastline, beaches and estuaries. Researchers with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System say that amid El Nino conditions the waves have been bigger than usual and may even be affecting human health. “Citizens can take photographs of the coastline and we're actually asking for photos from both low tide and high tide because we want to get those flooding events,” Sarah Giddings, assistant professor of oceanography at Scripps told NBC 7.”
  • Check out the new NERACOOS website! The new homepage is fresh, modern and clean, with easier navigation to their data products.  During this transition period, the old site will be accessible for a limited time at Tell NERACOOS what you think in the survey here or email Tom at!
  • Gulf of Maine Red Tide Forecast Predicts Small Bloom for 2016: This summer’s Gulf of Maine red tide is predicted to be the smallest observed over the last 11 years, according to researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and North Carolina State University. Caused by blooms of the Alexandrium fundyense alga, the region’s red tides produce a toxin that can accumulate in shellfish, which, in turn, can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning in people who eat tainted shellfish. Advance warning of toxic harmful algal bloom (HAB) events enables proactive responses to protect human health and coastal economies, making the region more resilient. Forecasts will be refined by data collected by NCCOS-supported robotic HAB sensors called Environmental Sample Processors (ESPs) that measure the abundance of Alexandrium cells, and with nutrient sensors deployed by the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS). The forecast is part of a NOAA ecological forecasting initiative that aims to deliver timely and accurate forecasts to coastal resource managers and the public.  More info.
  • NOAA Technical Report: Florida HAB­OFS Product Evaluation: NOAA’s Center for Coastal Operational Products and Services (CO-OPS) announces the publication of a technical report detailing the results of the evaluation of HAB­OFS bulletins issued for the eastern Gulf of Mexico from May 1, 2008 to April 30, 2014. A key finding of the evaluation is that modifications made to the models used to forecast bloom intensification and the associated level of respiratory irritation resulted in measurable improvements in the forecast performance compared to the original models.
  • Catalina Sea Ranch deploys its monitoring buoy: Check it out on their facebook page:


  • See ‘IOOS Report released to Congress’ above.

Communications / Outreach / Education

Upcoming Meetings with IOOS Participation

  • Oceans ‘16:  Gearing up: Abstracts are due soon – so don’t delay.  Additional activities we are working on:
    • Mark Bushnell is setting up a special session on QARTOD.
    • IOOS Office and CeNCOOS are teaming up with NOAA for a booth.
    • Joining the Monterey Bay International Trade Association for a townhall on Blue Economy and America’s Blue Silicon Valley.
    • Looking for interest – Kevin Hardy and I are looking to put on a townhall on new novel ocean sensors/partnerships - contact Zdenka (hit reply) if you are interested in participating in such a panel.

View the IOOS calendar:


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