Bi-Weekly IOOS® Z-GRAM – 22 January 2016


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I am writing this after digging out of 27 inches of snow in Great Falls, VA.  Well done to our colleagues at NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) for their accurate forecast and their vigilance during the storm, ensuring the forecasts continued.  Thank you to the IOOS enterprise for playing a supporting role. A partial of list of activities follows.  Within NOAA, the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) observing and tools supported coastal flooding and inundation forecasting.  The buoy array maintained by the National Data Buoy Center, the Chesapeake Bay Office - Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS), and the IOOS Regional Associations from the Caribbean to New England provided vital marine observations.  The IOOS High Frequency Radar Network from the Caribbean to New England measured the speed and direction of surface currents in real-time and feds the NWS’ AWIPS II weather forecast software. Modeling capability from MARACOOS and NERACOOS was used by NWS.  MARACOOS’ network of satellite-receiving stations and an underwater glider network provided 3D pictures of the water column. They also made the MARACOOS Storm Resource Center available at to view and use the tools and resources from the MARACOOS partners along the East Coast and into the Caribbean.  Lastly, MARACOOS contributor Stevens Institute of Technology forecasts were linked to NWS -   Click on New York Harbor to view.

From the IOOS Program Office:

  • Farewell: Just a month ago we welcomed Lesa Jeanpierre for a detail.  Now we say goodbye as Lesa was selected for a position with the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.  Thank you Lesa for jumping right in with IOOS. 
  • IOOS Advisory Council:  Spring meeting will be held at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership on April 4-5, 2016 in Washington, DC.
  • Certification:  On Jan 22, GLOS Exec. Director Kelli Paige submitted the GLOS response to our request for additional information. This restarts the review process and clock.
  • Annual Success Stories: The NOS Annual Report is out, check out stories from IOOS and across NOS.  Read the many great things from SCCOOS’ year in review.
  • Congrats to CariCOOS: CariCOOS was recognized by the US Coral Reef Task Force for their efforts on coral reef larval dispersal research in support of marine protected areas. Jointly funded by IOOS and the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council, CariCOOS scientists use models of ocean currents and in situ drifter data to assess hydrodynamic connectivity in the Caribbean.

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies:

  • HF Radar (IOOS national coordinator, Jack Harlan;
    • Three new radars - MARACOOS added a long-range CODAR at Amagansett, NY, located near the historic Amagansett Coast Guard Station.  CariCOOS added a long-range CODAR at the Punta Tuna Lighthouse near Maunabo.  This is the southeastern tip of Puerto Rico and is daisy-chained with the existing radar at Ponce providing great coverage to the south of the island.  Texas A&M installed a CODAR at Rollover pass in Texas, on their way to covering the state of Texas with HF Radars.
  • Glider Updates:
    • Glider Data Archived: The glider DAC has been working with NCEI’s Tom Ryan and as of 11/13, we are officially archiving data from the glider DAC. You can discover the data here.
  • CariCOOS drifter program:  What's started as a pilot project to deploy inexpensive drifters near the west coast of Puerto Rico, has turned out to be not only a full-fledged drifter program, but also a highly effective outreach activity.  Jointly funded by IOOS and the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council, CariCOOS' drifters are aiding in the assessment of marine protected areas as effective fisheries restoration tools. To date, more than twenty drifters have been deployed all around the CariCOOS region, and even further with the last two just recently deployed in the Dutch waters of Saba.  CariCOOS drifters use inexpensive GPS trackers to delineate the trajectory of a water parcel, which helps scientists further understand ocean surface currents.  CariCOOS drifters have traveled all around the US Caribbean EEZ and even further into waters of the Dominican Republic and the subtropical Atlantic, highlighting the need for transnational ocean observation. With this in mind CariCOOS has initiated efforts into reaching out to neighboring islands. Apart from ongoing collaborations with the Dominican Republic's National Authority for Maritime Affairs, CariCOOS has also been engaged by the Dominican Vice Minister for Health and the Environment with a request for assistance in implementing ocean observing activities in the island. Eastwards, CariCOOS was also approached by the Sea & Learn Foundation to showcase the benefits of an ocean observing network to Saba's maritime community. Over the course of a week at the Dutch island, Julio Morrell, CariCOOS Executive Director, and his student Luis gave several talks to fishers, scuba divers, and the general community; met and exchanged knowledge with the governor; and engaged high school students into the whole process of assembling, deploying, and tracking drifters.
  • CO-OPS upgrades Water Level Sensors, adds Current meter: A Microwave Water Level Sensor (MWWL) was installed at Galveston Pier 2 and Bayou Gauche, Louisiana.  The state-of-the-art technology provides an improved, cost-effective way to monitor tidal information since it does not make contact with the water and is superior to previous acoustic technology.  CO-OPS plans eventually to transition all NWLON tide stations to MWWL sensor technology, except for stations in locations where a different technology is used due to significant ice and cold weather.  A new real time current meter within the Houston/Galveston PORTS® network is now operational. The Fred Hartman Bridge Current Meter, located within the Port of Houston, replaces the Exxon Mobil Current meter that was destroyed multiple times by vessel impacts. The new current meter is built to withstand extreme environmental conditions and is located in an area where currents negatively impact navigational safety.

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

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

  • QARTOD Update: lead Mark Bushnell -
    • New T/S QC Manual should be posted this week.
    • Glider QC Manual: Committee member comments received.
    • HF Radar Manual: Circulated the initial draft to committee members for review.
    • Water level QC Manual: Alerted the original committee members that an update is underway. Requested their input, and began editing the manual which will be provided to members for review.
    • Outreach: Preparations underway for the Ocean Networks Canada QARTOD Workshop on Jan 26-27.

Modeling and Analysis Subsystem:

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

  • No update.

Interagency and International Collaboration/News:

  • Jason 3 Launched:  Congrats to NOAA, NASA and international partners for a successful launch.  Jason 3 is the newest satellite in a series designed to maintain long-term satellite altimetry observations of global sea surface height. NOAA’s CO-OPS plays a role in these missions providing ground truthing to small ocean areas with highly accurate water level and atmospheric measurements. Two water level stations in the world help ground truth Jason, and one of them is from CO-OPS.  The station Oil Platform Harvest off the coast of Santa Barbara is NASA’s primary verification site. The water level stations allow the data from each satellite to be placed into a common reference frame. For CO-­OPS, this project started in 1991. CO­-OPS is also using Jason’s data for research that will give local populations a better idea of how they will be impacted regionally by sea level rise.
  • IOOC Glider Task Team: Co-chairs (Barb Kirkpatrick and Becky Baltes) along with Nick Rome are meeting weekly to keep the group on track and moving forward.  Tentative plans for a 1-2 day in person meeting for the team at COL Apr 7-8.
  • IOOS Presentation at OOI:  Kathy Bailey, IOOS Program Office, presented at the NSF Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Coastal Observatory workshop on accessing IOOS data relevant to the OOI.  The OOI manages 2 arrays in particular (Pioneer, located off the coast of New England, and Endurance, located off the Oregon and Washington coasts).  Assets in MARACOOS, NERACOOS, and NANOOS were highlighted, along with machine-machine access methods using iPython Notebook.  This presentation was developed in part using contributions from these three regions, as well as several DMAC experts (Rich Signell (USGS), Felipe Fernandez, Emilio Mayorga and Craig Risien).

Delivering Benefits:

  • Second Pacific Anomalies Workshop Held:  The University of Washington hosted the workshop.  For full information and video of the session on 20 Jan – go to  This workshop was sponsored by U.S. IOOS, NOAA Climate Program/Climate Observation Division, NOAA Western Regional Team, Washington Sea Grant, California Sea Grant, University of Washington College of Environment, Applied Physics Laboratory and the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean.
  • CeNCOOS debuts a new El Niño page: Visitors can use the new tool to explore changing temperatures and compare them to previous years.  The page includes updates from regional experts on the 2016 El Niño and links to online resources for learning more about the phenomena.  Check back often!  In the coming weeks, CeNCOOS will be adding additional tools and new updates from leading scientists in California.
  • Building a Robust and Versatile NERRS-IOOS Coastal Observing Network: Jen Bosch, represented the IOOS Program Office at this workshop to strengthen and solidify the NERRS –IOOS Partnership.  Held at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National (GTM) Estuarine Research Reserve in St. Augustine, FL, January 21-22  it is the first of 2 workshops supported by funding from NOAA’s National Ocean Service to create a seamless coastal observing network that functions at the landscape level, and spans offshore to inshore regions.
  • Study Reveals Strong Connections Between Reef Health and Land Management in Hawaii:  A study published in the open access journal Collabra provides insight for ridge-to-reef conservation projects. The study shows that even along the same coastline, reefs can experience drastically different water flow conditions which affect water quality, particularly exposure to reef-killing sediment pollution. These results illustrate the need to better understand water flow patterns in coral reef areas as well as sediment runoff from land and can help local efforts to mitigate erosion on land.  Led by researchers from Conservation International’s Hawaii program and partners from University of Hawaii at Manoa and the local community leaders from the Maunalei Community Managed Makai Area, as well the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), the study is the first to examine the sediment dynamics of Lana‘i Island in Hawai‘i. 
  • Plan Lays Framework for Gulf-Wide Observing and Warning System for Red Tides: The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) released the Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System (HABIOS) Plan that, when fully implemented, will help protect humans and marine life from the negative impacts caused by harmful algal blooms, or HABs.
  • Climate Variability and Fisheries Workshop: SECOORA organized the workshop to advance the understanding of the impacts of climate variability on fisheries resources and management in the large marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. More than 55 experts from fishery management councils, federal and state fisheries and climate entities, academia and private industry attended.  Read the Fisheries and Climate Workshop Summary Report.


  • No update.

Communications / Outreach / Education:

  • AOOS Announces 2015 Short Film Contest Winners: Hannah Baird won both the Judges Choice and the Youth Creative categories for her film "Home". Filmmakers Alisa Aist, Ellie Schmidt, Kaiti Chritz & Jim Pfeiffenberger were also winners. Their films and bios can be downloaded from the AOOS website.

Upcoming Meetings with IOOS Participation:

  • Marine Industries Science & Technology Cluster Town Hall at Ocean Sciences: MIST will be hosting a town hall on the impact of ocean observing systems, various roles within IOOS, and ways the cluster can support IOOS efforts. See the Ocean Sciences Meeting website for registration and meeting details.
  • Oceanology International 2016:  The ‘Marine Technology and Services Sector Role in the Blue Economy’ day-long conference at Oceanology International 2016 (OI 2016, in the ExCeL conference centre in London, UK) on 15 March 2016 will explore the latest trends in ocean observing, viewed through the lens of the ‘Blue Economy’. By means of a series of presentations drawn from a record number of abstracts, this program will help attendees evaluate their own ocean science, technology, and economic activities through new perspectives and identify key trends that will influence future developments. This conference includes distinguished keynotes, two focused panels and an international roster of speakers.  Like all OI conference sessions, it is free-to-attend. Free online registration is available at the OI 2016 website. For full article see

View the IOOS calendar:


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