The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act passed by Congress on March 22, 2018 included support for many ocean and coastal programs including IOOS. IOOS regional systems were allocated $35 million, an increase of $4.3 million from FY 17. This support will allow the eleven IOOS regional observing system to fill critical gaps in the the High-Frequency (HF) Radar network and underwater gliders.
HF radars map the speed and direction of surface currents in real-time. Because of the large coverage area, HF radar data provide valuable input for ocean models and have been used for search and rescue, oil spill response and fisheries management. U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue operators use near real-time HF radar sea surface current data and related forecasts for their Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS). The integration of HF radar current data into the SAROPS planning tool has increased the accuracy of and reduced size of search and rescue areas, thereby increasing effectiveness of Coast Guard searches.
Gliders are underwater robots that relay information about subsurface condition. The U.S. Navy estimates that gliders are 1/100th of the cost of ship-collected data. Gliders are revolutionizing ocean observing by being cost-effective, safe and flexible.
Edit: This article originally stated that the US Coast Guard's use of HF Radar has reduced search and rescue area by two-thirds. This statistic was outdated and has been corrected.