Bi-Weekly IOOS® Z-Gram – 28 October 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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From the IOOS Program Office:

  • OAP Federal Funding Opportunity: Regional Vulnerability Assessments for Ocean Acidification has launched. Important dates:  LOI are due November 4th and full proposals are due January 13th. The Ocean Acidification Program is soliciting proposals for collaborative projects of up to 2 years in duration that synthesize ocean acidification information at a regional scale (e.g. Large Marine Ecosystem, large estuary or collection of small estuaries, and state or collection of states in US waters) to determine where societal vulnerabilities to ocean acidification exist or are emerging, in order to provide actionable information for marine resource decision makers and to identify research gaps. This funding opportunity will not support the collection of new chemical or ecological observations or species response data. Social science data collection is permitted. More information on how to apply can be found on the Information for Applicants page. This grant is Funding Opportunity Number: NOAA-OAR-OAP-2017-2005016.  Email Letters of Intent to Full proposals should be submitted through
  • MBTIA/Trade Port posts MTS/IEEE Oceans’16 Town Hall presentations:  Available at, or in their World TradeWinds eZine article at

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies:

  • HF Radar/Radio (IOOS national coordinator, Jack Harlan;
    • The Radar O&M Planning (ROMP) Work Group held its first meeting on Oct. 21.  The group established 3 sub-groups: O&M costs, Equipment Inventory, and Metrics.  
    • ROWG-2017: 13-14 March 2017 at TAMU-Galveston. CODAR will hold a user group meeting on 15 March, also in Galveston.
  • Gliders:
    • Challenger mission update:  Silbo is 500km from the United Kingdom’s EEZ.  Over the next several weeks, Rutgers team will close in on the EEZ and then turn on the thruster to move the glider up the shallow shelf on the way to recovery.  RU 29 – Challenger – has left for Australia, and early next month it will be deployed, in partnership with IMOS, in the eastern Indian Ocean and set forth on its next circumnavigation around the Indian Ocean.

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

  • Dynamic Reusable Workflows for Ocean Science: Article from Rich Signell and other co-authors from the DMAC community describing the use of standardized catalog services such as the IOOS Catalog.
  • Glider DAC Webinar: Wednesday, November 9th at 3 PM, John Kerfoot will discuss the latest version of the IOOS National Glider DAC NetCDF specification that is focused on the addition of a number of QARTOD flags and how they are referenced to the variables for which they store QC information.  The newest version of the CDL with QARTOD flags can be found on the IOOS ngdac github repository. Contact if you want to attend.  
  • ATN (National Coordinator Bill Woodward,
    • IOOS ATN and NASA/JPL: Vardis Tsontos at NASA/JPL reached out to IOOS ATN for interactions as part of his 2 year funded project to assist the POODDAC with accessing and displaying animal tagging data.  
    • Caribbean Acoustic Network (CAN) meeting: Bill participated in the Caribbean Acoustic Network (CAN) meeting in St. Croix the week of Oct. 24.  The CAN organizers and partners (Clayton Pollock, Miguel Canals-CARICOOS) support the idea of joining CARICOOS with our planned SECOORA ATN workshop, targeted for mid-March 2017.
  • QARTOD (National Coordinator Mark Bushnel,
    • Project management has changed from Joe Swaykos, National Data Buoy Center to Kathy Bailey, IOOS Office. Thank you to Joe and NDBC for their support of this key element of IOOS data integration.
    • Outreach: Mark attended the JCOMM Data Buoy Cooperation Panel meeting and provided a QARTOD presentation describing the project and reasons to cooperate when developing QC manuals. Continued support by OMC-International, Australia: “OMC has obtained great value from your QARTOD manuals and we would like to share some positive feedback of our experiences back with you and the wider Australian port community.”

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

  • Interested in Data Assimilating Code (4 DVAR) training? CO-OPS and OCS, as part of collaboration with the IOOS COMT are developing and implementing a new regional Operational Forecast System for the West Coast that will leverage the Regional Ocean Modeling System's (ROMS) Data Assimilating code (4DVAR).  NOAA is gauging interest in having Rutgers provide training on 4DVAR in early FY18. The training would be for experienced ocean modelers who may or may not be familiar with data assimilating techniques.  Rutgers has provided similar trainings in the past in areas outside the U.S. (Example:  To be effective we would like to extend this training beyond those within the National Ocean Service, therefore we are soliciting interest from modelers from the IOOS RAs - from senior grad students to principal investigator level.  Training funded by registration fees and participants' home institutions would pay their travel and registration costs.  If you are interested, please send your name and contact information to Carolyn Lindley,, Paul Bradley at, and Aijun Zhang at by December 31, 2017.
  • COMT First Signed Transition Plan: Dr. Callender and Steve Thur, the NOS Line Office Transition Manager, signed the transition Plan for Chesapeake Bay Hypoxia. This was the final wicket to remain eligible for NOAA funding, if appropriated.  In the meantime, VIMS and MARACOOS have begun the process to transition the stakeholder approved Dissolved Oxygen products from VIMS to be hosted on MARACOOS’ new CB viewer. This will likely be completed during or before Q2. 

Interagency and International Collaboration/News:

  • 3rd Blue Planet Symposium dates have been changed: The Symposium will be held in College Park, MD, May 31-June 2, 2017. Information is available at:  The Symposium will serve as a forum for discussion of societal information needs resulting from the important role the ocean plays in Earth's life-support system and the challenge of minimizing the impacts of human activities on the oceans while utilizing the resources of the oceans to meet our needs. The symposium will also be a platform for the participating communities to exchange information on their activities and identify potential pilot and prototype projects for Blue Planet to focus on in the coming years.
  • Whale Alert App Benefits Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary: With the free Whale Alert app mariners and the public have a user-friendly tool directly on their iPads or iPhones that displays “whale safety zones.” The app also allows users to report any live, dead, or distressed whale sightings to the appropriate response agency. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is now using the near real-time data submitted via both the Whale Alert and SpotterPro apps to complement its monthly marine mammal aerial survey of shipping lanes in the Santa Barbara Channel. Eleven endangered blue whales and two humpback whales were spotted during the last survey—the highest number of individuals recorded this year. Whale Alert is collaboration among government agencies, academic institutions, nonprofit conservation groups, and private companies.
  • National Geodetic Survey supports FEMA:  NGS collected more than 10,000 images of impacted areas following Hurricane Matthew.  FEMA recognized the team’s “unflinching and admirable actions” and went on to say, “Your tireless efforts and scores of flight hours...continue to serve FEMA individual assistance, public assistance, and recovery programs. The images document the storm’s impacts and the suffering of thousands of disaster survivors and will help FEMA analyze conditions and damages over the coming weeks as we seek to extend federal assistance to these affected citizens. Your personal sacrifices and hardships are appreciated and recognized, and we are grateful for your service and professionalism.”The imagery was one of the top stories on CNN and featured in the Washington Post. For imagery click here.

Delivering the Benefits:

  • University of South Carolina Presentation and Visit:  I made it back to my alma mater to provide an IOOS presentation at the University of South Carolina’s Environmental Health Sciences (ENHS) Graduate Student Organization Noon Seminar Series. See my presentation.  In the afternoon I participated in a mentoring session for female graduate students of ENHS.  I was joined by Debra Hernandez, Executive Director of the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) and Madilyn Fletcher, a Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of South Carolina. She also served as Interim Director for the School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment from 2011 to 2013, Director of the Environment and Sustainability Program (formerly School of the Environment; SOE) from 2006 to 2011, and Director of the Baruch Institute from 1996 to 2006. We began by giving our thoughts on success and then opened it up to Q&A.  Overall it went well. Thank you to Dr. Dwayne Porter for setting this up.
  • Federal Laboratory Consortium Tech Focus:  Jen Rhoades attended for the IOOS office. The water Innovation Virtual Forum to engage in discussion on water-related R&D needs on both national and global levels and to understand the current state of technology and technology needs.  During his Keynote Address, Bruce Rodan, Assistant Director, Environmental Health, White House OSTP, highlighted the Nutrient Sensor Challenge as an innovative approach to solving water quality issues.  Credit was given to U.S. IOOS and ACT’s roles, as well as Federal Agency Partners, in the project.
  • GCOOS has released a new five-year Strategic Plan: "The next five years will be a critical period for the Gulf's observing system," said Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, GCOOS Executive Director. "Since becoming the U.S. IOOS regional coordinating entity in 2005, we have made a lot of progress in developing a system that responds to stakeholder needs and truly helps support their activities in the Gulf -- everything from navigational safety for the shipping industry and recreational boaters, to identifying the movement of harmful algal blooms along our coasts so we can protect public health. But we saw during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that we have gaps in the system that need to be filled. This Plan identifies where resources are most needed to fill known gaps."
  • Red Tide App Update: GCOOS continues to work on the NASA-funded project to improve red tide forecasting and the development of a smartphone application that can be used by people monitoring red tide conditions on local beaches. With red tides reported in both Southwest Florida and in Texas, GCOOS has undertaken some recent field-testing of different smartphone microscope set-ups that is helping to move project development along.  In September, Dr. Jinha Jung, Assistant Professor of Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, took two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the lower Texas coast. He's been testing the efficacy of using drones equipped with multi-spectral imaging technologies to determine whether they can be used to track red tide movements and concentrations. Read more.
  • CeNCOOS OA story map: Check out CeNCOOS summer intern Desmond Ho’s story map on their work with UC Davis and the Hog Island Oyster Company to monitor the carbonate chemistry in Tomales Bay.  
  • PacIOOS and ACT Partner US Manoa receives funding to evaluate ocean observing technologies: Researchers at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) and Department of Oceanography have been awarded over $1 million to test and evaluate the accuracy and utility of technology used to observe aquatic ecosystems. The HIMB and Department of Oceanography are part of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.  This month, HIMB will be the site for field testing of nutrient sensors involving sensor developers from around the world. Laboratory and field-testing will be carried out under well-understood conditions, which allow instrument manufacturers to assess and improve components, configurations, and designs as necessary. Read more here.


  • No update.


  • Better Informed Marine Operations and Management Multidisciplinary Efforts in Ocean Forecasting Research for Socioeconomic Benefit: By Andreas Schiller, Fraser Davidson, Paul M. DiGiacomo, and Kirsten Wilmer-Becker. Read the paper here.
  • GCOOS establishes a Fellow program: GCOOS welcomes Justin A. Saarinen as their first official GCOOS Fellow. GCOOS is looking to host GCOOS Fellows in each of the five Gulf states. Barb Kirkpatrick, GCOOS Executive Director is seeking partners in industry and academia to do so. If your business or university has opportunities to partner with GCOOS on fellowships or would like to discuss ways to partner, please email Barb. Dr. Kirkpatrick says supporting this fellowship is one way for the regional association to support the education of ocean scientists: "Fellowships are an important way for us to support the education of the next generation of scientists in the ocean-observing field who will help improve our capabilities to understand oceanic and coastal changes," she said. "We were able to partner with the University of South Florida on this fellowship and we hope to be able to expand this program to universities or colleges in each of the five Gulf states by partnering with other academic organizations as well as the private sector."

Upcoming Meetings with IOOS Participation:

  • San Diego BlueTech Week, Nov 7-10: IOOS and NOAA are once again proud to be a sponsor of this event.  This year’s theme is “Case Studies of Collaboration” as we organize 6 events over 5 days and focus on international partnerships. So whether you’re interested in networking with international partners, rubbing elbows with senior government officials and industry executives, meeting investors, exploring career opportunities in the Blue Economy or finding new maritime technologies from around the world, San Diego BlueTech Week will have it all. For all the information and to register:
  • Oceanology International Comes to North America:  The OI North America 2017 Conference has a 3-part program that will consist of a series of keynote end-user focused panel discussions, topical technical sessions and a full day dedicated to the Catch the Next Wave conference, all aiming to provide a better understanding of present and future requirements and opportunities of the Blue Economy. Abstracts are being sought now:

View the IOOS calendar:


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