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Global Ocean Data Illuminate Earth’s Future Climate

As global climate change accelerates with increasingly substantial impacts on communities worldwide, the need to understand and make reliable projections of future climate becomes ever more imperative.

The National Science Foundation-funded Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling, or SOCCOM, project is meeting this need by deploying 200 robotic floats in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica to capture real-time biological, geological and chemical (often called “biogeochemical”) data. With the help of CyVerse, the NSF-funded and University of Arizona-led national data management project, SOCCOM hopes soon to expand the network of floats to monitor carbon cycling throughout the world’s swiftly changing oceans.

SOCCOM is a coalition led by Princeton University and includes the UA, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of Washington, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Climate Central, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NSF and NASA.

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GLOS announces challenge to commemorate 10 year anniversary

The Great Lakes Observing system (GLOS) is offering $9,500 in prizes to people who develop interesting uses for Great Lakes data. The non-profit data hub recently announced a challenge to commemorate its ten year anniversary. Challengers must make use of at least one publicly available data set to help the Great Lakes region.

The final products could be as diverse as apps that show swimmers and boaters wave heights and currents, help plan a visit to the beach, or provide a map revealing changes in algal blooms over time.

To enter, register with GLOS. You have until August 15 to submit a written description, directions for use and a quick YouTube demonstration of your product. The requirements are here.

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

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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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