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VIMS assists in launch of NOAA buoy

Stakeholders with an interest in monitoring and preserving the health of Chesapeake Bay recently gathered at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science to celebrate the launch of a NOAA data buoy that will help fill a long-standing gap in the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System, or CBIBS.

CBIBS, a baywide network of 10 observation buoys that mark points along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, merges cell phone and internet technology to record and transmit a wealth of real-time data, including wind speed, water and air temperature, wave height, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and chlorophyll levels.

The CBNERR program at VIMS contributes significantly to the local observing system, compiling a network of data buoys, platforms, and programs into a web interface known as the Virginia Estuarine and Coastal Observing System, or VECOS. Managing VECOS is VIMS Professor Ken Moore.

VECOS data from the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay are then combined with CBIBS data from both Virginia and Maryland. These bay data are further integrated into MARACOOS — the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System, which stretches from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras — and then into the even broader U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.

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New Alaska Ocean Acidification Network Addresses Changing Ocean Conditions

This week marks the launch of the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, an initiative designed to expand the understanding of ocean acidification processes and consequences in Alaska, as well as potential adaptation and mitigation actions. The network is the fourth regional ocean acidification network in the US, and will help connect scientists and stakeholder communities, recommend regional priorities, share data, and determine best practices for monitoring.

Ocean acidification has become an increasing concern for Alaska. Scientists estimate that the ocean is 25% more acidic today than it was 300 years ago, largely due to increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuels and changes in land use. Almost half of the CO2 emitted remains in the atmosphere, with the land and ocean absorbing the rest. When the ocean absorbs CO2, its pH balance changes through a process called ocean acidification. Because cold water can absorb more CO2 than warm water, acidification can disproportionately impact coastal regions around Alaska.

Among the roles of the network is hosting a comprehensive website with resources for both researchers and the general public. The site includes information on monitoring projects around the state, current trends and forecasts, impacts to Alaska marine life, links to databases and journal articles, and a listing of experts and their specialties.

The network is coordinated by the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), with participation from government agencies, research institutions, non-profits, industry, and local communities.

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

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UGA Skidaway Institute receives funding for regional glider network

University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography researcher Catherine Edwards is leading a team that has received a five-year, $750,000 grant from the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, or SECOORA, to establish a regional glider network.

Also known as autonomous underwater vehicles, the gliders are torpedo-shaped crafts that can be packed with sensors and sent on underwater missions to collect oceanographic data. Equipped with satellite phones, the gliders surface periodically to transmit their recorded data and to receive new instructions during missions that can last from weeks to months.

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

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U.S. IOOS Awards $31m for Ocean Observing

U.S. IOOS announces the awarding of over $31 million in grants to support ocean, coastal and Great Lakes observing efforts throughout the United States, Caribbean and Pacific.

The funds are distributed primarily in the form of five-year cooperative agreements, augmented by funds from other federal offices and agencies, as well as outside groups including: NOAA’s Office Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program (OAP), the National Weather Service (NWS), NOAA Fisheries (NMFS), NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey (OCS), NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), and the IOOS Association. Some additional funding is directed through the Ocean Technology Transition (OTT) project at IOOS, which sponsors the transition of emerging technologies to operational mode.

These cooperative agreements are a fundamental activity for IOOS. It not only fulfills requirements set forth in the 2009 ICOOS Act, which establishes a national-level integrated system, but it also forms the foundation on which the system stands. An integrated system that serves global needs depends on cooperation, clear data standards, shared data, and the development and maintenance of projects and technology that address existing needs to build a system that addresses the needs of the many. By pairing regional systems who are connected to the communities where they work with the national system and working together, we’re able to establish and maintain a network of people, technology, and data, customized to real needs, that helps us understand and forecast changes in our ocean and climate, prepare for and respond to coastal disasters, and balance the needs of resource use, economic development, and environmental stewardship.

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Ocean forecast offers seasonal outlook for Pacific Northwest waters

Researchers from the University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have created a seasonal outlook for the Pacific Northwest waters, which would help tell if it’s going to be a great year for sardines or a poor crab season. A paper evaluating the forecast’s performance was published in June in the interdisciplinary, open-access journal NatureScientific Reports.

The tool, called JISAO Seasonal Coastal Ocean Prediction of the Ecosystem, or J-SCOPE, launched in summer 2013. The new paper is the first formal evaluation of how well it works. Analysis of the first three years of forecasts confirms that they do have measurable skill on seasonal timescales.

The seasonal forecasts for water oxygen, temperature, chlorophyll and pH along the coast of Washington, Oregon, Puget Sound and Canada’s Vancouver Island have been posted for the past three years on the UW-based Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) website. That site now offers a comparison between the forecasted values and the long-term average, and the probability for different scenarios.

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

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