Bi-Weekly IOOS® Z-GRAM – 15 May 2015


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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From the IOOS Program Office:

  • ATN DAC Launched:  U.S. IOOS and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) working with Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, and the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center Environmental Research Division (SWFSC/ERD) have launched the national Animal Telemetry Network Data Assembly Center (ATN DAC) to provide reliable and accurate biological and physical observations data.  The development of this network began in 2011 and the result is a portal providing data that can be used in modeling ocean dynamics, defining critical ocean habitats, and forecasting marine ecosystem features to support US IOOS societal benefits needs, particularly to improve predictions of climate change, more effectively protect and restore healthy coastal ecosystems and enable the sustained use of ocean and coastal resources. The ATN DAC in its current version provides access to 48 different species such as sharks, sea turtles, seals, whales, tuna and squid, with deployment dates ranging from 2000-2014. Animal telemetry technology is leading to profound advancements in understanding animals and how they interact with their environment.  For more information on the important work being done in the area of animal telemetry visit:

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies:

  • GCOOS AUV Jubilee: They will be running a number of profiling and surface AUVs in a coordinated mission in July.  For more information see their site.
  • AOOS: Cook Inlet Wave Buoy Deployed:  Thanks to Kris Holderied (Kasitsna Bay Lab) and Angie Doroff (Kachemak Bay Research Reserve) and the crew of ADF&G’s Pandalus, as of April 13th, the buoy is streaming real time data.
  • AOOS: Seward Burkolator Up and Running:  Part of the jointly funded IOOS and NOAA Ocean Acidification Program through the Ocean Technology Transition project, the burkolator collects real-time carbonate chemistry data from the water entering the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery.
  • CARICOOS Buoys are ready for 2015 Hurricane Season: All buoys are back and ready for the hurricane season! CARICOOS data buoys are serviced yearly and refurbished by their fabricators from the Physical Oceanography group of the University of Maine. This maintenance is scheduled to ensure its timely completion before the start of the hurricane season on June 1st. This major operation is supported by the CARICOOS Field Operations Team and Commercial Divers Inc ®.

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

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

  • DMAC Meeting is May 27-29th:  The annual meeting will be held in Silver Spring, MD with attendance from the IOOS RA DAC managers and folks from NOAA (NDBC, PMEL, CO-OPS, NCEI, NOAA Fisheries) and USGS.  A draft agenda has been shared, but if you cannot access, email for more information. 
  • CARICOOS Mobile Apps: Now it's easier to stay up to date with CARICOOS's latest observations! Buoy data, wind data, wave forecast, and much more. Download the CARICOOS App available for free on the IOS App Store, and Play Store.
  • GLOS: Bi-National Data Partnership Yields Success: Great Lakes data users can look forward to a richer selection of data thanks to the introduction of an applied information product generated by an ongoing binational partnership. Global Earth Observations Great Lakes (GEO Great Lakes) and Conservation Ontario have enabled the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) to link their near-real-time data feeds into the Great Lakes Observing System’s data portal, thereby demonstrating that cross-boundary data can be readily shared to increase access and use of reliable data in decision support.

Modeling and Analysis Subsystem:

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

  • West Coast Ocean Forecast System (WCOFS) project update:  The project achieved its first major milestone of establishing the non-data-assimilating hydrodynamic model.  This project entails model development tasks of a new data assimilative ocean forecast system, as well as the administrative requirements for implementing such an OFS.  The Project Oversight Committee (NOS/OCS, NOS/CO-OPS, U.S. IOOS Program Office, NESDIS/STAR, NWFSC, SWFSC, JCSDA, NANOOS, CeNCOOS, SCCOOS) was pleased with the recent status update.  Current efforts focus on resolving high performance computing issues, tracking RA observation data flows to ensure they are available on NOAA's Weather & Climate Operational Supercomputing System (data tanks) for assimilation, and planning for the O&M tail associated with the WCOFS operational implementation.  When successful, NOAA envisions extending this new capability to other future domains, as laid out in the NOAA CO-OPS and CSDL development cycle.

Interagency and International Collaboration/News:

  • First Pacific Islands Training Workshop: The WMO/IOC Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP) held the First Pacific Islands Training Workshop on Ocean Observations and Data Applications (PI-1) on May 4-7, 2015, in the Republic of Palau. Partners gathered to increase awareness of ocean processes, ocean observing, and data applications for society and to conceptualize an observing system for all Pacific Islands, within the context of existing efforts.  Participating as both data provider and stakeholder, PacIOOS strengthened existing ties and forged many new partnerships. The group identified numerous opportunities for collaboration and synergy for ocean observing throughout the Pacific Islands.  Excited to continue the momentum, several nations have already expressed interest in hosting PI-2 next year.  The workshop was hosted by the Republic of Palau, Office of the President; Pacific Island Global Ocean Observing System (PI-GOOS); Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP); Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS); Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS); and NOAA’s Office of Climate Observation (OCO).  Meeting reports and materials will be available on the PI-1 website.
  • NOAA’s Ecological Forecasting Roadmap Annual Meeting:  More than 140 people, including several members of the IOOS Program Office and IOOS Association’s Josie Quintrell, attended NOAA’s 3rd annual Ecological Forecasting Roadmap meeting.  IOOS was again well represented with numerous references to the Regional Associations for observation support as well as modeling support and to the COMT as a transition forum.  For more than a decade, NOAA has developed experimental forecasts for harmful algal blooms (HABs), pathogens, hypoxia, sea level change, wave energy, and ocean acidification. In a few cases, experimental forecasts have transitioned into operations, such as NOAA’s Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Operational Forecast System for the Gulf of Mexico. The Roadmap focuses on producing more operational ecological forecasts on a national scale with regional specificity and delivery.  NOAA will focus on clarifying roles and responsibilities between research and development and operations, transitioning forecasts with limited resources, and seeking efficiencies in forecast development and dissemination. Questions? Contact Allison Allen or Becky Baltes.
  • Challenge to visualize Water Quality data ($10,000): This Challenge is in support of the President’s Climate Data Initiative.  This Challenge is being run by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), and Blue Legacy International  Required Data Set: Visualizations must make use of at least one data set available through the Water Quality Portal. Additional Data Sets: Solvers may, at their discretion, use alternative publically available open data sets (both governmental and non-governmental) and/or open APIs in conjunction with one or more data sets from the Water Quality Portal to reveal insights, trends, and relationships. The deadline for submission is June 8th, 2015.
  • National Water Quality Monitoring Council Newsletter released:  Check out the article on the US IOOS Ocean Technology Transition project being led by NERACOOS - nutrient observatory, available here. This newsletter provides a forum of communication among water practitioners across the Nation. In support of the national Council’s mission, this newsletter is geared to foster partnerships and collaboration; advance water science; improve monitoring strategies; and enhance data integration, comparability, and reporting.

Delivering Benefits:

  • 2014-2015 Pacific Anomalies Science and Technology Workshop: Unusual ocean weather and climate patterns have been observed throughout 2014 and early 2015 across the North Pacific basin. Areas of the North Pacific have been as much as 5⁰C warmer than average, earning the nickname ‘the blob’, and is affecting weather and climate patterns. Extreme conditions in physical and biogeochemical parameters are occurring in many locations, and appear to be impacting pelagic ecosystems, including fisheries. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, hosted the first of a two part workshop May 5-6th to discuss the unusually warm water conditions in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. U.S. IOOS Deputy Director, Carl Gouldman attended along with participants from Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, California and Mexico, including federal, academic, state and other regional scientists and coastal managers. The energy and enthusiasm at the workshop was incredibly positive. All involved are very interested in understanding the oceanic conditions from global to regional, to coastal, and to local scales.  Bringing experts from multiple disciplines together to discuss this issue enabled a shared understanding of a wealth of long-term satellite and in situ time-series data that have been collected and assimilated in models. Read the full story on the workshop here.
  • NOAA/National Ocean Service/National Geodetic Survey (NGS) Releases Sandy Topo-bathy Lidar and Ortho Imagery to NOAA’s Digital Coast Website: NGS released over 30 percent of the Hurricane Sandy topographic-bathymetric (topo-bathy) lidar and imagery to NOAA’s Digital Coast website. The 35-centimeter imagery is now available for the entire Hurricane Sandy-impacted area of the East Coast (approximately 2,654 square miles). Topo-bathy lidar data from the north portion of South Carolina to the north portion of Pamilico Sound will be available by the end of May. The 10-centimeter imagery in the Delaware region will also be available for download on Digital Coast at the end of May. The length of time between delivery of the data to Digital Coast and its availability for download is dependent on the time it takes for Digital Coast to handle over 10 terabytes of data (both lidar and imagery). These data were collected by NGS’ contractor Dewberry.
  • MARACOOS Annual Meeting: A full house was in attendance for the theme "Building on a decade of success to chart a course into the future.” Significant time was spent discussing successful partnerships and potential opportunities in areas including ecosystem forecasting, fisheries stock assessments, inundation (including the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise pilot) and resilience.  Some highlights from the meeting include:
    • Mary Glackin, The Weather Company, gave the keynote address encouraging MARACOOS to develop stronger public-private partnerships. 
    • U.S. IOOS Deputy Director Carl Gouldman provided a program office update praising MARACOOS for their leading work that resulted in a revised butterfish stock assessment and the opening up of a valuable fishery in the Northwest Atlantic, and the new partnership with NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program.  He also challenged MARACOOS to bring on new data partners and mimic the butterfish modeling success for other species. 
    • Josie Quintrell, IOOS Association, provided an update on advocacy and other activities of the IOOS Association. 
    • Three speaker panels – Ecological Forecasting, Resilience, and the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Pilot Project.

      National Ocean Service Deputy Assistant Administrator David Holst convened the resilience panel, laying out NOS strategic priorities and noting how coastal intelligence and IOOS contributions nationwide are key to meeting the NOS mission. He also gave a number of examples of how IOOS operations nationwide are advancing NOAA's coastal intelligence and resilience missions.

      From David: "How do we support resilience along our coasts? We can't do it without advancing coastal intelligence... Coastal intelligence is the coastal and ocean component of the environmental intelligence that Dr. Sullivan discusses at the NOAA level - actionable information that provides insights into present and future conditions. This is a pretty close statement on the purpose and mission of is critical that we continue to leverage each other's capabilities and further develop partnerships that provide coastal intelligence that informs resilience."

  • NOAA/National Ocean Service/Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) issues the season’s first QuickLook for Tropical Storm Ana: Using a newly designed GIS map has an updated graphic with a new ESRI background map and updated symbology.   The maximum storm tide measured was 1.78 feet above Mean Higher High Water (MHHW) at Springmaid Pier, SC on May 8th. Both Springmaid Pier and Oyster Landing, SC recorded a storm surge between 2.4 and 2.5 feet above normal tide levels due to Ana. The QuickLook product was upgraded to be better integrated into the Tides and Currents website. As a result, the product display on mobile devices has greatly improved.
  • Updated Sea Level Trends Now Available on the CO-OPS Website: CO-OPS updated its sea level trends with 2014 data. Changes in Mean Sea Level have been computed at 128 NWLON stations. A minimum span of 30 years of observations is required in order for NOAA to issue an official sea level rise trend for that location.
  • Gulf of Mexico Marine Mammal Research and Monitoring Update: The program, project descriptions, and presentation PDFs from the Gulf of Mexico Marine Mammal Research and monitoring Meeting, held 7-8 April 2015 in New Orleans, LA, are now available and can be accessed on the Marine Mammal Commission's website at:  To access the program and project descriptions, scroll down to the second paragraph below the dolphin picture to access the link, or go directly to the document. To access the PDFs of the presentations and posters, scroll down to the next to last paragraph on the meeting website to access the link, or go directly to the website.  Working groups are forming to work on research, monitoring, and analytical priorities to be included in a marine mammal "action plan" for the Gulf of Mexico. To date, working groups will focus on Abundance, Distribution, Stock Structure, Habitat Use, Technology Development, Effects of Acoustic Disturbance, Monitoring Compliance with Mitigation Measures, and Economic Importance of Marine Wildlife Tourism.


  • No update.

Communications / Outreach / Education:

  • Catalina Sea Ranch: Read the exciting progress.  Catalina Sea Ranch has an exceptionally strong commitment to sustainable and ecologically sound aquaculture therefore being published in Coastkeeper, a respected environmental organization with the mission to protect Orange County's Coast is a great validation of their efforts. Read the article here.
  • ATN Data article: Nature publishes an online journal called “Scientific Data” and we were recently alerted to an article about elephant seal profile data in the Southern Ocean which contains data collected from an IOOS/ONR/NAVO collaboration.
  • AOOS 2015 Film Contest is Underway:  For the second year, AOOS is welcoming films under 10 minutes relating to Alaska’s oceans or coasts. Submission deadline is Sept 15, and the grand prize is $1,000. Learn more.

Upcoming Meetings with IOOS Participation:

  • Planning for MTS/IEEE OCEANS’15 Washington DC:  Once again US IOOS will participate in this conference.  The US IOOS Program Office has secured 2 booths and will be looking for community engagement.  We are committed to the ever popular IGNITE session – as we did in Norfolk and have discussed townhall topics – potentially in coordination with the Maritime Alliance based on the Ocean Enterprise study.  Abstract submissions are now open and I call on all of you to submit one: Abstract submissions will close in late May.

View the IOOS calendar:


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