IOOS Fall Meeting a Success!

The agenda covered a wide range of priority topics including the four “Joint Planning” topics for FY14 (DMAC, modeling, observing, communications), certification, and common products. The agenda also included a collaborative discussion with NOAA Fisheries convened at the new Southwest Fisheries Science Center facility across the street and hosted by Center Director Cisco Werner. Attendees also toured the SWFSC facilities, the Scripps Glider Lab, the Coastal Data Information Program which specializes in wave measurement, and the Scripps Birch Aquarium to review education and outreach ideas and kiosks. The meeting also included discussions with NOS AA Holly Bamford, and new Scripps Director Margaret Leinen. A meeting summary is in progress.

CaRA: Successful Conclusion of Summer Internship

Undergraduate students Estefanía Quiñones (UPRM, Physics Department), Edward Rivera (UPRM, Mechanical Engineering Department) and Luis Pomales (UPRH, Physics & Electronics Department) successfully concluded their CaRA 2013 summer internship during which they worked on projects including rip currents numerical modeling, ROMS ocean currents simulations, and analysis of surface currents using CODAR.  Dr. Stefano Leonardi, Dr. Miguel Canals and Prof. Julio Morell undertook the supervision of the student projects. These students have now been recruited by CariCOOS to continue working on specific topics relevant to the observing system mission.

Students gained hands-on experience in diverse aspects of implementation, operation and development of coastal ocean observing systems including stakeholder engagement, applied research, data analysis, and product development.  "CariCOOS's Summer Internship gave me the opportunity to interact with the fields of oceanography and fluid mechanics. And since next year I will start applying for graduate school, I believe this summer internship program helped me focus my future career goals. But most important, it provided me the opportunity to become part of a group of excellent professionals that share with me their knowledge and their interest in discovery." (Estefania Quiñones, Physics Department, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.)

SCCOOS: Cardiff Beach Erosion and Inundation Project

Coastal inundation on the U.S. west coast is often caused by the co-occurrence of high tides and energetic ocean waves. During storms, wave runup can reach several meters above tide level. Existing simple inundation models yield qualitative general information but not the information most valuable for issuing site-specific warnings for highway closures and sand-bagging. Quantitative inundation observations are critically needed to improve model accuracy. With rising sea levels and El Niño winters, it is crucial that a West Coast inundation model be developed for future safety and protection of coastal communities.

The goal of the Cardiff Beach Erosion and Inundation Project is to develop field-validated, site-specific inundation models for use in providing real-time warnings of wave and tide-induced coastal inundation. Groups interested in inundation information include lifeguards, the National Weather Service and Emergency Alert Network, recreational beachgoers, US Army Corps of Engineers, California Department of Transportation, California Coastal Commission, as well as regional city and county governments. Real-time users (e.g. highway departments) have indicated a willingness to work cooperatively to improve the warnings by providing information on when highways flood during storm events.

IOOS Partners Testify Before House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Transportation

On July 31, Lisa Hazard from Scripps and SCCOOS and Toby Garfield from San Francisco State University and CeNCOOS testified at a hearing “How to Improve Efficiency, Safety and Security of Maritime Transportation:  Better Use and Integration of Maritime Domain Awareness.   You can watch their testimony here.

SCCOOS: Orange County Sanitation District Diversion

The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) discharges its treated effluent from a 120-inch ocean outfall that terminates in 200 feet of water, approximately 4.5 miles offshore Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. The discharged plume typically stays well below the ocean surface and away from recreational (water contact) use areas. The District has a secondary, 78-inch outfall located in about 60 feet of water, 1 mile off the coast. From this discharge point, it is expected that the discharged effluent will rise to the water surface and into recreational use areas. OCSD’s 2004 discharge permit allowed discharges through the 78-inch outfall only under emergency conditions. Avoidance of its use has been a key objective of plant construction and maintenance projects and OCSD developed detailed contingency plans for each one. In May 2007, the Southern California Coastal Observing System (SCCOOS) provided requested data and product support during planned ocean outfall repairs as part of a monitoring contingency plan. SCCOOS provided local views of modeled surf zone waves and currents, near real-time meteorological observations, and surface currents for use by OCSD and the Orange County Health Care Agency. Under a new permit, slated to be issued in June 2012, OCSD will be allowed to use the 78-inch outfall for non-emergency plant operations. In September 2012, OCSD will divert flow from the 120-inch outfall to the 78-inch outfall as part of a project to inspect, assess, and rehabilitate the Outfall Land Section and Ocean Outfall Booster Pump Station Piping. OCSD has requested a report from SCCOOS and CeNCOOS synthesizing the results of the diversion’s modeling and monitoring activities and a technical review of those activities and results highlighting successes, failures, and lessons learned.

"There’s no reason to assume that harmful algae dominate the system, and every reason to monitor it,” said University of California researcher Dave Caron.

NERACOOS: Providing Safe Conditions for Pilots to Board Ships

The Penobscot Bay Pilots routinely use NERACOOS buoys as they make decisions when to board ships that they pilot into various ports. In their operations, they primarily look at winds, waves, visibility and currents. These buoys are operated by The University of Maine Physical Oceanography Group.  From Captain David Gelinas, Penobscot River and Bay Pilot: 

The coast of Maine supports mutli-million dollar fishing and tourism industries so when making decisions about bringing a 700 foot tanker full of fuel into port we need the best ocean and weather information possible, which is why we depend on IOOS buoy observations and forecasts to ensure safety and efficiency of these critical operations. I had an interesting job last week, getting on a tanker at Monhegan Island that was coming up from Boston.  While the seas at the pilot boarding area were only 4' when the ship left Boston, your wave prediction page showed them to be 8-11' with a short period by the time the ship would have been there due to an approaching low pressure system.  Sure enough that's what they were, and I cancelled the job for that day well in advance of the vessel's arrival.  The seas eventually reached nearly 20' later that night.  We set up boarding for 1500 the next day, when the prediction showed a more modest 8' sea with a much longer period between waves.  It was still a challenging boarding, but the ability to so accurately predict the seas and establish a schedule greatly contributed to the safety of the job, as well as provided the shipper with a firm idea of when his ship would come into port.  This is just one story that demonstrates your organizations' contribution to safe, efficient port operations in Penobscot Bay.


IOOS Releases Ocean Acidification Video

Ocean acidification has the potential to fundamentally change the ocean, its habitats, food webs and marine life. The implications of this sea change to our environment and our economy are endless, and the current rate of change of ocean acidification is faster than any time on record.  We need to better understand what is happening so we can develop tools to help slow the rate of change.  Efforts like IOOS and NOAA's Ocean Acidification Program will help our nation begin to understand how to address this problem on a global scale and help reverse it.

MARACOOS and SCCOOS Featured at House Hearing

On Thursday, June 13th, Ed Kelly, Vice-Chair of MARACOOS and the Maritime Association for the Ports of NY/NJ, and Lynne Talley, Professor at Scripps, testified before the House Natural Resource's Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Ocean and Insular Affairs to support reauthorization of the ICOOS Act.

Ed spoke to the importance of safe and efficient marine commerce in our nation's ports, which provides over $700 million in commerce.  He noted that the shallow coastal environment is a vibrant, dynamic environment that changes due to freshwater inputs, tides and bottom topography, so it is important to be able to monitor this complex and vital environment in real time, and be able to forecast 48 hours into the future.  Lynne highlighted the transformation of ocean observation in the last decade by improvements in technology and science.  She spoke about the practical applications for ocean observing as well as the importance of sustained monitoring for research.

You can watch the hearing by clicking here and read their testimony by clicking here.

AOOS and NANOOS Featured at Senate Hearing on Deep Sea Explorations

On June 11th, Ed Page, Chair of AOOS and the Marine Exchange of Alaska, and Jan Newton, Executive Director of NANOOS, testified before the Senate Subcommittee of Ocean, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard about the importance of IOOS.  The hearing also included the Director James Cameron and Susan Avery, Director of WHOI. 

Both Jan and Ed discussed the importance of partnerships in meeting the nation's needs for ocean observing.  Ed noted that the harsh and extreme environment of Alaska and the Arctic requires quality real time information for safe shipping, and to respond to emergencies.  He highlighted the partnerships AOOS has fostered to  provide real time weather observations that are not only useful to mariners but to the Coast Guard, NGOs, DOI and others concerned about the environment in Alaska. Jan continued to build on the theme of partnerships, describing how NANOOS works with its 50 plus parties to operate as a single system.  She caught the attention of the of the Committee by asking them to take two breaths, noting that every other breath comes from the ocean. She concluded her testimony by quoting Mark Weigardt of Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery: “Putting an IOOS buoy in the water is like putting headlights on a car. It lets us see changing water conditions in real time.”

You can watch the hearing by clicking here and read their testimony by clicking here.

NFRA Becomes the IOOS Association

We are proud to announce that we have changed our name from the National Federation of Regional Associations of Coastal and Ocean Observing to IOOS Association.  This more inclusive name reflects the connectivity between the regions and the federal components. The name change should be perceived as an acknowledgement of the strength and diversity of the organization, capturing the importance of what our membership does with respect to the entire IOOS enterprise.