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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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AOOS map syncs up agencies’ beluga research

The Alaska Ocean Observing System, an organization that monitors ocean and coastal conditions, is trying to link some of the data with a new online portal called the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Ecosystem Portal. Varying information about the endangered whales, ranging from sightings to ocean conditions in their habitats, is presented in a map available to the public on AOOS’s website. AOOS had collected significant data on the Cook Inlet beluga whales, which are considered one of eight species most at risk of extinction in the near future, according to a February announcement from NOAA. The agency recently issued a five-year plan for managing the belugas, which have an estimated population of about 340 as of 2014. The priorities listed in the plan include reducing human-generated noise in the whales’ habitat, habitat protection to encourage foraging and reproduction, research on the whales’ population characteristics, ensuring prey is available and improving the stranding response program.

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

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U.K. Invests in Long-Range AUV Technology

The U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has unveiled plans to develop new long-range autonomous underwater vehicles capable of under-ice and deep-ocean research.  NERC will $22 million over five years to develop a new 5,000 foot depth-rated long range autosub (ALR1500) and a 20,000 foot depth-rated autonomous underwater vehicle (Autosub6000 Mk2). These vehicles will support future under-ice and deep-ocean science, including a number of upcoming major marine research programs such as the Changing Arctic Ocean program. The program will be carried out at the Marine Robotics Innovation Centre at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton.

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NASA helps monitor L.A. coastline

When a Los Angeles water treatment plant had to discharge treated water closer to shore than usual in the fall of 2015 due to repair work, NASA satellite observations helped scientists from the City of Los Angeles and local research institutions monitor the Santa Monica Bay for any impacts. To keep a closer-than-usual watch on the bay during this diversion, LA’s Environmental Monitoring Division called on the research institutions that comprise the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. By combining the remotely sensed observations with shipboard measurements, the scientists were able to make an accurate assessment of the extent of the diverted wastewater plume and its impact on Santa Monica Bay and its shoreline.

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

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