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Author: Kruti Desai

Red Tide Forecasting in the Gulf of Mexico on Every Beach, Every Day

Red tides caused by Karenia brevis (K. brevis) in the Gulf of Mexico can have a devastating effect on coastal communities, where severe blooms can cause millions of dollars in tourism losses and send people with chronic respiratory diseases to their local emergency rooms.

Now, a three-year $1.1 million grant from NASA is helping several organizations fine-tune current red tide forecasts with the goal of offering public health managers, coastal residents and visitors a forecast that better reflects coastal conditions on more localized scales. Improved models and forecasts for red tide conditions will help people make healthy choices about where to spend recreation time, increasing protections for public health and coastal economies.

Key to improving the forecast is the development of a smartphone application by Robert Currier, Research Specialist and Product Developer for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS). The app will allow trained beach observers with special low-cost smart-phone microscopes to collect videos of water samples that can be uploaded to a cloud-based server for automated evaluation. This system will then provide a real-time response on the presence or absence of K. brevis, along with information about whether the quantities are enough to warrant a health concern.

GCOOS is a Regional Association in support of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®).

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Buoy to record wave action in Cape Cod Bay

Mariners are being cautioned not to interfere with a newly-deployed buoy in Cape Cod Bay to measure wave height, direction, period, and sea surface temperature. It will also emit a yellow flashing light at night.

The buoy’s data is being transmitted by satellite and is displayed and updated every 30 minutes on several websites including Northeast Regional Association for Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP), and the National Data Buoy Center’s website. In the future the data will also be available through many weather and boating websites and apps.

The buoy is approximately eight miles east of the east entrance to the Cape Cod Canal (latitude 41° 50.38’N, longitude 070° 19.74’W). It was launched by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in association with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NERACOOS.

NERACOOS is a Regional Association in support of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®).

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UW, NOAA deploy ocean robot to monitor harmful algal blooms off Washington coast

Scientists with the University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deployed a new tool this week that will constantly be on the lookout for harmful algal blooms and their toxins off the coast of La Push, Washington.

The Environmental Sample Processor, or ESP, was deployed May 23 for the first time off the Pacific Northwest coast with sensors to monitor specific algal species and a harmful toxin they emit, domoic acid. The tool will provide autonomous, near-real-time measurements of the amount of toxin and the concentrations of six potentially harmful algal species.

The new tool’s deployment is part of a collaborative project led by the UW and NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center and funded by the NOAA-led U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System. Partners include NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS), the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Florida-based Spyglass Technologies, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Bellingham’s Northwest Indian College.

NANOOS is a Regional Association in support of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®).

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Building Pacific region capacity to observe, analyze, apply ocean data

Participants from across the Pacific and ocean science experts from around the world will convene in Noumea from May 23 to 27, 2016 to take part in a regional workshop aimed at building capacity and awareness on ocean processes, ocean observations and data applications, as well as advancing the design and coordination of a Pacific Islands ocean observation network.

The ocean is essential to Pacific Islanders’ way of life, and the region is renowned for its seafaring history and use of traditional knowledge, for example, for navigation. Yet oceanographic capacity is limited within the Pacific Islands region, and generally resides within local meteorological services.

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World’s richest source of oceanographic data now operational at Rutgers

The data center for the pioneering Ocean Observatories Initiative, which collects and shares data from more than 800 sophisticated instruments and a transmission network across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is now operating at Rutgers University. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) is collecting, processing and sharing vast amounts of data on the oceans. The Rutgers team, which includes the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute and the Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership, was awarded a two-year, $11.8 million contract by the NSF-funded Ocean Observatories Initiative’s project management office to design, build and operate the OOI’s cyberinfrastructure.

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