Bi-Weekly IOOS® Z-GRAM – 7 August 2015


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From the IOOS Program Office:

  • Have you voted today? Put a reminder on your calendar to vote each day for Dr. Richard Feely, esteemed NOAA scientist, OA researcher and proud IOOSian, who is up for a People's Choice Sammie Award for public service.  Submit your votes for our inaugural People’s Choice honoree to be announced at the 2015 Sammies gala on October 7 in Washington, D.C. People’s Choice voting will close at 11:59 p.m. EST on September 30, 2015.
  • IOOS Office Moving: Please pardon some short term disruption as our office moves from its spaces on Wayne Ave. around the corner to the NOAA Silver Spring complex. Our emails will remain the same but we will get new telephone numbers, which will be assigned soon. We will update our website with new contact information shortly after the move.
  • Welcome aboard to LCDR Eric Johnson: Eric joined the IOOS Program Office from the NOAA Ship Oregon II, where he was the Executive Officer (XO). Eric began his NOAA career in 2002.  He has 3 shipboard tours to his credit – 2 on the NOAA Ship Oregon II and 1 on the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai.  While on the Oregon II he supported fisheries research in the Gulf of Mexico and coastal Atlantic monitoring shrimp populations and longlining for sharks.  While on the Hi'ialakai, he supported NOS missions through diving operations, conducting 3-4,000 dives a year in support of coral reef assessment, shark tagging, and oceanographic research missions.  His shore duties include XO of the NOAA Dive Program in Seattle, WA and Recruiting Officer for the NOAA Corps.  LCDR Johnson has a BS in Marine Biology from the University of Maryland and an MPA from American University in D.C.
  • Congrats to Regina:  Regina successfully competed for a promotion to Band IV Contracts and Grants Specialist within the IOOS Program Office.  The workload of the office has increased such that we were able to add the Band IV position.
  • Thank you to National Park of American Samoa: NPSA's Marine Crew recently assisted PacIOOS in retrieving the American Samoa wave buoy from 8 miles offshore. PacIOOS would like to send a special thanks to the crew - Fa'afetai for your support & dedication! They are now an official PacIOOS partner.
  • Congrats to Cory Diaz, awarded EPA’s "Gulf Guardian": Nine-year-old Cory Diaz, a Bay Point Elementary School student, was awarded this prestigious honor for her work to raise money to buy acoustic tags for marine animals through the uTAG for iTAG campaign through CrowdRise. She was named a “Gulf Guardian” during a special EPA awards ceremony in Corpus Christi, Texas. Read more about it here:

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies:

  • HF Radar/Radio: (IOOS national coordinator – Jack Harlan;
    • CARICOOS HF Radar Detect Eddy in the Caribbean Sea: CARICOOS' new pair of high frequency radars detected the most recent eddy activity near the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. The cyclonic eddy was first detected on June 30, 2015, 52 nautical miles south of Ponce. Its location and extension compared favorably with publicly available satellite images. As it traveled west, this eddy trapped Sargasso in its core, which can also be seen in satellite images of ocean color.
  • NOAA Buoy 46089 Preserved: NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) and National Ocean Service (NOS) announced the preservation of NOAA Weather Buoy 46089 located offshore of Tillamook, Oregon. This buoy had been previously sponsored by NOS as a project in the NOAA Coastal Storms Program, and this project had reached completion with further deployment of this buoy at risk.  NWS and NOS worked together to determine an approach that adjusted the configuration of the overall NWS weather buoy network to establish Buoy 46089 as a permanent component of the national network. With this cross-NOAA collaboration, Data Buoy 46089 will be incorporated into the requirements and operational custody of the NOAA National Data Buoy Center. Information and data from NOAA Data Buoy 46089 may be found at the National Data Buoy Center website:
  • Ocean Technology Transition: The FY15 OTT Award descriptions posted:
  • AOOS - Bering Strait wave buoy streaming live data: On July 23, a wave and weather buoy was deployed in the Bering Strait approximately 30 miles west of King Island. The buoy streams real-time informaiton on waves, air surface temperature, and sea surface temperature on an hourly basis.
  • MARACOOS – Glider School 2015: MARACOOS, Teledyne Webb Research, and Rutgers is hosted Glider School in summer 2015 for the 10th consecutive year. Since the advent of underwater gliders in the late 1990’s, the Mid-Atlantic has been a core region in training a broader community of scientists-students-companies on glider capabilities and use. Each summer at Rutgers the team has trained students, University partners, Federal, and International partners. This year's Glider School was conducted in early June. Attendees range from the University of Alaska, US Naval Academy, NAVOCEANO, and a large cohort of undergraduate students. Support by MARACOOS is provided by making available gliders to train on during the effort. Teledyne Webb Research is providing funding for undergraduate student interns. Rutgers is providing the labs, gliders, and teachers for the course.
  • Bravo Zulu - ESP Deployment season ending in the North East: I follow the NortheastPSP blog with interest in both the observing and modeling advances.  WHOI has once again successfully deployed several ESPs for the season, as they push the technology closer to sustained observations.  ESPjake, deployed on ESP-3 mooring in the eastern Gulf of Maine, has done an outstanding job detecting the ongoing bloom in the coastal current since deployment with peaks in 1000-2500 cells/L range occurring throughout July. The dramatic day-to-day variability of the population indicates that the population is likely located along a front near the western edge of the Eastern Maine Coastal Current, so another spike could occur at any time, but unfortunately, Jake will not be working much longer as his last run occurred on July 31.  All 3 ESPs will be recovered in early August during a cruise on the R/V Connecticut. Samples for Alexandrium will be collected in both western and eastern Gulf of Maine coastal waters across the mooring sites. But these are not the only sensors in the water - Jim Manning (NOAA) and many others have assembled and managed to deploy on short notice in response to the ESP detection of the coastal bloom. Please see Jim's post with the latest update on the drifter tracks in the Gulf of Maine.  There is also a modeling component led by a team at both North Carolina State University and WHOI, who have been providing the nowcast/forecasts.  They will now move to model hindcast and reanalysis to examine both observations and model simulations more closely in order to better understand the bloom evolution in the last several months, and identify areas where the model prediction can be improved upon.  The models show both surface and subsurface predictions of cells and the results are continuously compared to the cell concentrations from the ESPs.


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 WEBINAR 12 Aug, 3PM: Topic: IOOS compliance checker.  Access the webinar: and dialing 1-866-759-4289 (use attendee access code 143 876 9) for audio. 
  • PacIOOS - New Dolphin and Whale Tracks: The Cascadia Research Collective (CRC) has provided PacIOOS with new satellite tracking data of dolphins and whales tagged between 2006 and 2012. Tracks include bottlenose dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, false killer whales, pygmy killer whales, Blainville's beaked whales and short-finned pilot whales. All tracks can be found in Voyager under 'fish and wildlife' in the 'tracking' and 'distribution' category, and can be viewed as a still or animated path. Founded in 1979 to conduct research needed to manage and protect threatened marine mammals, CRC has been undertaking surveys for odontocetes and other cetaceans in Hawai'i since 2000.
  • AOOS launches the Alaska “Blob” Tracker:  The media has recently been filled with a lot of news items about this thing called the “Pacific Blob”, a large pool of unusually warm water off the West Coast in the United States and Canada, reaching as far north as the Gulf of Alaska. To help Alaska media and the public keep up with the latest information, the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) has launched a “Blob” Tracker that features some basic background information as well Alaska relevant resource links and current observations. AOOS will maintain the site with contributions from a team of experts and questions addressed on a FAQ page.  The purpose of this blog is to provide the public and media with information about this oceanic occurrence and the Blob’s realized and potential effects on Alaska’s marine resources. To visit the Alaska Blob Tracker, click here or go to

Modeling and Analysis Subsystem:

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

  • COMT Annual Meeting:  Thank you to all for a very successful COMT meeting.  We had PIs from all of the projects, federal partners and several other interested parties in the room and participating via webex. Eric Baylor and Pat Burke gave excellent talks on requirements and steps for transitions to federal operations as well as an outlook for NOS coastal operational modeling development.  Presentations will be posted online and shared. I also had the chance to address the group. My comments are highlighted below:
    • We have come a long way since 2010. Initially, you were learning what a testbed could and should be.  You were learning how to collaborate in the environment, work with the CI team and develop tools and techniques for actual apple to apple comparisons.  Then you started learning how you could use the comparisons not to pick one winner but to start improving all of your models’ performances.  The community building in coastal modeling was even better than we expected.  Then you started “transitioning” results of your studies to enable better decision making for federal operators.  This includes results of the inundation group’s effort leading to improvements to NOAA’s SLOSH model in the Gulf of Mexico, and sending code to NOAA for consideration for implementation for model improvement in the Chesapeake Bay, COMT is recognized by NOAA Testbed and Proving Ground Group.
    • With NOAA's Chief Scientist Dr. Rick Spinrad’s focus on transition, there are new opportunities to further this dialog on how COMT can be a great part of the solution.
    • IOOS  is about making connections and enabling collaboration at global, national and regional levels. This includes connecting non-federal entities to federal partners and facilitating community engagement and involvement.  We also use IOOS RAs to facilitate that coordination. That means reaching out to the National Ocean Services 5 year Modeling Plan and NOAA’s 2 road maps - Ecological Forecasting and Storm Surge.
    • I challenged COMT to: (1) Get specific on transition plans and (2) help us tell your story by documenting  the implications and the “so what” of your testing so we can better market and ensure all the potential beneficiaries know about them.

Interagency and International Collaboration/News:

  • IOOC Glider Task Team Approved: The IOOC has approved the Glider Task Team to begin work.  Becky Baltes (IOOS PO) and Barb Kirkpatrick (GCOOS) will co-lead.  Nick Rome, IOOC program and the co-leads are working to get the task team kicked off.

Delivering Benefits:

  • Puget Sound Awareness Day: Jan Newton joined other scientists from five NANOOS member institutions UW, WA Dept. of Ecology, WA Dept. of Health, King County, and NOAA (NWFSC & PMEL), and others for a multi-agency media day at Shilshole Marina in Seattle to discuss the anomalous conditions in the Pacific Northwest, known as "the blob," and its effects on Puget Sound.  Using a variety of presentation aids, from the NVS Climatology App to tours aboard UW's R/V Barnes and Ecology's R/V Skookum, the group explained to reporters the abnormal conditions including high temperatures, salinity, low dissolved oxygen, and HABs in historically unaffected areas. Check out the KING 5 video, the KOMO radio clip, and articles from the Seattle Times and UW Today.
  • SCCOOS briefs US Coast Guard Commandant:  Eric Terrill and Julie Thomas of SCCOOS briefed the USCG Commandant, Admiral Paul Zukunft on July 29th, 2015, during his visit to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The benefits of IOOS were highlighted, including search and rescue operations, oil spill response and the Under Keel Clearance project at the Port of Long Beach.
  • NOAA Improves Operational Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasts for the Gulf of Mexico:  NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) has released an  improved method of forecasting that will allow NOAA scientists to see more clearly where the harmful algal blooms (HABs) that cause this phenomenon are located. This will help local residents and visitors make better decisions about their recreational choices during HAB events and aid public health managers who coordinate response efforts and mitigate the effects of red tide. NOAA’s new satellite imagery product makes it much easier for scientists to distinguish between Karenia brevis and other types of algae that are not harmful.
  • GLOS - Algal Bloom Data Viewer Online Now: Stakeholders have a new, easy way to look at harmful algal bloom (HABs) data this summer. The Great Lakes Observing System is coordinating information from sensors placed throughout the Western Lake Erie basin via the Lake Erie HABs Monitoring Network, and presenting them through a convenient online viewer.   “This coordination is a direct result of needs identified during last year’s water quality crisis in Toledo,” said Kelli Paige, GLOS executive director. “We received lots of feedback that people wanted to see something simple and collaborative, with the top benchmarks all in one place.”  The Lake Erie HABs Monitoring Network includes a diverse range of water quality stakeholders. Those include municipal water treatment facilities, such as Ottawa County, Avon Lake, Toledo, Oregon, Marblehead, and Put In Bay. The Network also includes academic institutions, with Bowling Green State University, University of Toledo and Ohio State University adding information as well as federal data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory sensors and private data from LimnoTech. Users can access the HABs Data Viewer at To watch a video of the viewer in action, go to:
  • PacIOOS - Improved Tool to Forecast Potential Wave Inundation on Majuro, Marshall Islands:  PacIOOS recently revised the presentation of the Majuro wave inundation forecast to improve usability and readability. Additionally, inundation heights of several documented events have been added as examples to better communicate the potential threat of approaching events. Forecasts for both Majuro and Kwajalein Atoll are updated hourly and provide information up to six days prior to a potential inundation event. Due to the low elevation of the Marshall Islands, communities are vulnerable to flooding.
  • CARICOOS and Surfrider Foundation-Rincon Team Up to Assess Beach Water Quality: Surfrider-CARICOOS beach water quality monitoring program (part of the Blue Water Task Force), provides test results for enterococci presence in water samples collected once or twice a week for various popular beaches along the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico. Currently more than 19 beaches and several fresh water sites are regularly monitored by a dozen volunteers as part of this program directed by Steve Tamar, vice president of Surfrider Foundation-Rincon Chapter. Very recently Steve and CARICOOS scientist Sylvia Rodriguez-Abudo teamed up for a two-week long daily monitoring campaign at Rincon Balneario. Their findings indicate that several events of bacteria presence at Rincon Balneario were undetected by Junta de Calidad Ambiental's every-other-week monitoring program. Most of these high-bacteria events occurred after more than 15 mm of accumulated rainfall were reported, although as pointed out by Dr. Rodriguez-Abudo, nearshore hydrodynamics and biogeochemistry are likely to play a significant role in the fate and transport of potentially pathogenic organisms. These results reaffirm the need for site-specific probabilistic models of beach water quality in the region, as well as fast and affordable detection techniques.
  • Salmon Forecasting: Yukon Delta Chinook Timing Outlook & Forecast – The outlook for 2015 was released on June 1 through a partnership between AOOS, NOAA Fisheries, and the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game. This year’s outlook was right on target with the first significant pulse of fish on the delta arriving on June 17 (two days later than forecasted) and the half-way point being reached June 26 (three days later than forecasted).


  • Senators Wicker (R-MS) and Cantwell (D-WA) introduced a Senate Bill S.1886 to reauthorize the ICOOS Act.
    • Bill in support of ocean monitoring introduced:  U.S. Senator Roger Wicker has introduced legislation to reauthorize and provide support to the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The network provides scientists and researchers with vital information about the nation’s coasts and oceans, as well as the Great Lakes. Wicker’s proposal, titled “Coordinated Ocean Monitoring and Research Act,” is cosponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. “This program helps improve weather forecasting, energy siting and production, and marine navigation safety,” Wicker said. “Mississippi’s Gulf Coast particularly benefits from the network’s important collection of coastal hazards and fisheries data. My bill would also ensure that our university research teams are equipped with the tools they need to continue conducting critical scientific studies.”
    • Cantwell Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Establish National Ocean Acidification Monitoring Strategy: U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced a bipartisan bill to enhance ocean monitoring, research and forecasting. The Coordinated Ocean Monitoring and Research Act (S. 1886) would create a national ocean acidification monitoring strategy to prioritize investments in ocean acidification sensors to areas that need it most. Cantwell’s bill also would expand the installation of high frequency radar stations, which are part of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) network. Last year, Cantwell toured the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Port Angeles, where she learned how the Coast Guard uses high-frequency radar to assist in finding missing or distressed boaters in the mid-Atlantic. Washington state has the largest high-frequency radar gap on the West Coast – with nearly 80 percent of the state’s coastline lacking high-frequency radar coverage. High-frequency radar also can be used to map oil spills and to monitor harmful algae blooms and track water quality.

Communications / Outreach / Education:

  • NANOOS featured in news story about the warm water blob of the west coast and its incursion into the Puget Sound on Station KING-5 Seattle:
  • Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions: A new book from Esri Press, chronicles how more than 50 ocean and coastal science researchers use geographic information system (GIS) tools and other technologies to study, manage, and protect the ocean and precious marine life. "The mantra of the book is essentially that if the ocean is in crisis, the earth is in crisis," said Esri chief scientist Dawn J. Wright, the book's editor. "The solutions that we devise to help the ocean will be important in helping the entire earth."   A video introduction is also available. For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright at
  • West Coast Harmful Algal Bloom Research Effort Gets New Grant Award: This covers NOAA’s commitment of $88K for grant and response funding for the impacts of the harmful algal bloom along Washington state’s coast, announced in Monday’s NOS press release.
  • Bringing Real-Time Data to the Classroom: Bethany Kimokeo, a 5th year marine science teacher at Kamehameha Schools, is one of PacIOOS' educational collaborators. Bethany has worked closely with the PacIOOS water quality program to integrate PacIOOS tools and data into her curriculum. Infusing classroom materials with real data sets from Hawai'i allows her students to fully understand and connect to oceanography and marine biology concepts. With the support of PacIOOS Voyager, students studied numerous overlays including bathymetry, water quality, benthic habitats, and various others. It is Bethany's goal to include other data sets into her curriculum in the near future.

Upcoming Meetings with IOOS Participation:

  • No update.

View the IOOS calendar:


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