The Eyes on the Ocean™ Newsletter is an informal way of keeping you up-to-date on U.S. IOOS® activities.

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From the Director:

Dear IOOS Community,

As April rolls in, many of us have been preparing for the upcoming field season and Regional Associations’ spring meetings.  Additionally, many RA directors, boards, and members have also been very busy working to communicate to the Hill and the public about the positive impact that IOOS delivers every day. Thank you.  

In the IOOS Office, we have been preparing for a stretch of international engagements as well.  Several of our community are heading to the  UN Ocean Decade Week in Barcelona, Spain. Kicking off the week, I will chair the Eleventh Session of the Global Ocean Observing System Regional Alliance (GRA) Forum on April 8th and 9th. Key objectives of the forum are to discuss progress and challenges of the GRAs since the last forum, and to examine how GRAs are engaged with the UN Ocean Science Decade for Sustainable Development, the GOOS Strategy 2030, the GOOS Programmes/projects, and other GOOS initiatives. We will also discuss strategies to strengthen and revitalize GRAs and increase coordination to build capacity as well as agree on GRA priorities, actions, and leadership for the next two years. 

The main portion of the UN Ocean Decade Conference will be held April 10-12, 2024 with many side events occurring throughout the city over the week. I’m honored to have the opportunity to speak at the conference and provide an overview of NOAA’s work to track and support the growth and development of the Ocean Enterprise during the plenary session “Science and Solutions for a Sustainable and Resilient Ocean Economy'' on April 11th. NOAA seeks to engage with the entire ocean observing and ocean science community and across the entire value chain linking ocean science to its beneficial use in order to co-design and deliver new technologies, platforms, and data-driven services to expand economic opportunities and create solutions to pressing societal needs.   

Following the conference, the GOOS Steering Committee will meet April 14-17 to report on progress of implementing the GOOS 2030 Strategy and make recommendations on steering priority activities of GOOS. I will report out on GRA activities and outcomes from the GRA Forum. 

I am looking forward to reconnecting with many of my ocean colleagues next week and participating in discussions to set priorities for the future of the Ocean Decade. 


P.S. April is Earth Month! Check out NOAA’s #EarthDay miniportal here:

From the U.S. IOOS Office:

  • NOAA science, experts, assets responding 24/7 to Francis Scott Key Bridge disaster: On March 26, 2024, at 1:28 a.m. EDT, the Francis Scott Key Bridge across the Patapsco River in the Baltimore metropolitan area of Maryland collapsed after the container ship Dali struck one of its piers. In the aftermath of the collapse of the bridge, NOAA, alongside local, state and federal agencies, have been working around-the-clock to come to Baltimore’s aid. The tragedy resulted in the loss of six lives and the immediate closure of the shipping channel leading into and out of the Port of Baltimore. Reopening the Patapsco River channel is critical to the U.S. economy, with the closure having lasting impacts on U.S. trade routes. Read more about how NOAA is supporting the response and recovery efforts.
  • Welcome Breanna Vanderplow! Dr. Breanna Vanderplow joins the Operations Division in the IOOS Office to help further develop and strengthen our relationships with numerical circulation modelers across the regional enterprise. She recently completed her Ph.D. in Oceanography at Nova Southeastern University. Alongside her degree, Breanna served as the laboratory manager for the university’s Physical Oceanography Laboratory, where her research focused on modeling oceanographic phenomena including the air-sea interface under tropical cyclone conditions, internal wave solitons, freshwater lenses, and their magnetic signatures. She earned a dual B.S. in Marine Biology and Biology, with a minor in English, as well as her M.S. in Marine Science, both from Nova Southeastern University. She also serves as the founder and president of the Society for Women in Marine Science chapter at her alma mater. Breanna is passionate about the importance of scientific communication in ocean sciences and is excited to be joining the IOOS office!
  • Join MTS for the NOAA Ocean-Based Climate Resilience Accelerator Webinar Series: April - July 2024: We are excited to announce the upcoming NOAA Ocean-Based Climate Resilience Accelerator Webinar Series, hosted by MTS, and taking place from April through July 2024. This series aims to foster public-private partnerships focused on developing and supporting sustainable business models for ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observation technologies, products, and services that address critical climate resilience needs. The ocean plays a vital role in regulating our climate, and NOAA is committed to accelerating the transition to a sustainable blue economy. By bringing together experts from various sectors, this webinar series will explore innovative solutions and best practices for building resilience to the impacts of climate change in coastal and maritime communities. Read more here and check out the Upcoming Webinar section on our website for information on how to register.
  • IOOS Federal Advisory Committee Public Meeting: The IOOS Federal Advisory Committee held a virtual public meeting on March 18th. The meeting focused on: (1) IOOC Strategic Plan, (2) A discussion on the FY25 President’s Budget, (3) final recommendations from the Phase 2 workplan, and (4) updates on the planning for the Summer public meeting. Meeting materials are available at this link.
  • 2023 NOAA Science Report Release: From heatwaves on land and in the ocean to wildfires and flooding, 2023 was a record-breaking year for climate and weather events, affecting countless people across the nation. Amid these challenges, NOAA continues to make scientific advancements that help save lives and the planet. Using NOAA satellite data to inform critical air quality alerts, “zooming in” for a closer look at hurricanes, testing new underwater robotic vehicles, and other accomplishments represent NOAA’s impactful science from the past year. Learn how NOAA’s scientific research is making a difference in people’s lives and our nation’s economy in the newly released 2023 NOAA Science Report.
  • From the IOOS Association: 
    • IOOS Association Spring Meeting: The IOOS Association, the IOOS Regions, and the IOOS Office met for the annual spring meeting in Washington, D.C. March 12-13. The meeting included a panel with BOEM on wind energy, a congressional briefing on ICOOS Act reauthorization, a discussion of the FY25 President’s Budget, and working sessions focused on Modernization/New Priorities vs Sustaining Systems and Maturing and evolving organizationally.

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies:

  • Surface Current Mapping
    • Registration is open now May 1, 2024 for the 13th Radiowave Oceanographers Working Group Meeting (ROWG-13)!  Using the form here, you are invited to register and help shape the agenda of the ROWG-13 hybrid meeting. ROWG-13 will be held May 21–23, 2024 at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Hardy Hall in Long Beach, Mississippi. Operators of HF-radars worldwide are welcome to attend ROWG-13. Registration for and attendance of ROWG-13 is free; your only costs will be for your own travel, lodging, and meals. In line with the ROWG Charter, the focus of this meeting will be on the installation, operation, and maintenance of oceanographic and liminographic HF-radar sensors. For more information, including a meeting hotel discount code, please see the registration form.
    • New HF Radar Installed in the Channel Islands: During February 2024 SCCOOS personnel installed a new standard-range CODAR Seasonde HF-radar for measuring surface currents and waves on Anacapa Island in the Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS), Channel Islands National Park (CINP). A separate ship-tracking radar, the M2 radar, was installed by the Anthropocene Institute to monitor vessel traffic. Eduardo Romero of UCSB coordinated the overall installation of the SeaSonde and M2 radars and Brendan Tougher of the Anthropocene Institute designed the solar array and battery system to power the radars.  Data from the new HFR is being sent to HFRNet (site name: ACI1). The permitting, planning, and installation was a collaboration among SCCOOS/IOOS, CINMS, Anthropocene Institute, CINP, and Global Conservation.
    • New HFR active in the Lower Florida Keys! Congratulations to the University of South Florida, College of Marine Science (USF/CMS) on the addition of a new CODAR low-power long-range SeaSonde® HF-radar (HFR).  It was installed in February 2024 at Fort Jefferson on Garden Key within the Dry Tortugas National and added to the IOOS HFR National Network in March 2024.  Equipment funding for this site was provided by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine (NASEM) Gulf Research Program (GRP) with installation and operation funding provided by USF/CMS.  This new Fort Jefferson (JEFF) HFR site provides data coverage that extends westward of the existing lower Florida keys coverage currently provided by USF’s earlier HFR sites in Marathon (MARA) and Key West (WEST), enabling better understanding of the complex and variable surface current outflow characteristics of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current System through the Straits of Florida as well as supporting other important uses such as improved boater safety and U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.  Specific questions may be directed to Dr. Clifford Merz at
    • First HF Radar Installed in U.S. Virgin Islands: CARICOOS has installed the first High-Frequency Radar (HFR) in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Water Island, St. Thomas!  This new CODAR SeaSonde, together with the HFR stations in the southeast and northeast of Puerto Rico, will provide real-time ocean surface current maps between eastern Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  This expansion of the CARICOOS HFR network will gather observations of surface circulation patterns to inform decision-making and appropriate maritime and port operations planning, such as U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue operations.  You can access data from this and all of the HFR stations in the U.S. Caribbean region here and on the CARICOOS data portal.
  • Gliders 
    • UG2 Updates: 
      • 2024 Glider Workshop Planning: The Underwater Glider User Group (UG2) is making plans for a 2024 Glider Workshop, building on the success of previous meetings. The date is tentatively scheduled two-and-a-half days the week of Sept. 9, 2024, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. UG2 is also seeking input from potential workshop attendees on topics to cover and other details. Please click here to fill out the expression of interest form and help organizers plan the agenda and confirm meeting dates, etc.
      • Click here to join UG2
      • UG2 Glider Related Job Postings
  • Buoys & Moorings
    • No update.
  • Harmful Algal Blooms 
    • CA HAB Bulletin - 2023 End of Year Report: SCCOOS has just published our final HAB Bulletin for 2023! The End of Year Report which reviews the latest collection of model output, observations, and advisories for this period, is available now. Major contributors to the bulletin content are SCCOOS, CeNCOOS, HABMAP, NOAA CoastWatch, California Department of Public Health, The Marine Mammal Center, the Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles, Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute, CA Wildlife Center, Marine Animal Rescue, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and SeaWorld. Feedback on the bulletin is welcome any time, and can be directed to
    • NHABON Webinars: 
      • NHABON Webinar #11 - June 26: Please join us for our next webinar on June 26, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 PM EST on UN Ocean Decade and HABs. Stay tuned for registration. You can watch the latest webinar here!
  • Marine Life
    • Joint Webinar Series Starts in April: GCOOS and SECOORA are teaming up on a webinar series focused on establishing collaborative opportunities among the U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Acidification Network (GCAN) and the Southeast Ocean and Coastal Acidification Network (SOCAN) that will kick off on April 11. Read more here. 
    • Celebrating 10 Years of US MBON: The 2024 Annual MBON All-Hands Workshop was held in New Orleans, LA, 18-21 March. The goal of the meeting was to strengthen links between national MBON teams and partners and the agenda included a deep dive with colleagues from BOEM regional offices to explore ways to deepen the MBON and BOEM partnership. Immediately after the All-Hands meeting, MBON hosted a Species Distribution Modeling Meeting to develop a roadmap to move from research to operations in our operational ability to map distributions of species and habitats using ‘Species Distribution Models’ as a complement to assessments now possible with databases such as OBIS and GBIF.

Data Management and Cyberinfrastructure (DMAC) Subsystem and Tools Built on IOOS Data:

    • No update.
  • Artificial Intelligence
    • No update.

Modeling and Analysis Subsystem:   

  • Using a Regional Ocean Modeling System to Predict Coral Heat Stressors: PacIOOS’ ocean circulation modeler Brian Powell contributed to an article published this month in Scientific Reports. “Subsurface temperature estimates from a Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS) reanalysis provide accurate coral heat stress indices across the Main Hawaiian Islands” evaluates the utility of a ROMS model as a tool for coral reef management. PacIOOS provides ROMS model forecasts of ocean salinity, currents, and temperature. Accurate temperature data at depth is critical for understanding and predicting coral responses to changing ocean conditions. Historically, scientists and resource managers have relied on in situ temperature measurements and satellite-derived sea surface temperatures to study the thermal tolerances of coral reefs around Hawaiʻi, however these methods are limited in their resolution and availability. Temperature predictions generated by the ROMS model were compared with in situ temperature measurements from around the Hawaiian Islands, and found to be an accurate predictor of subsurface temperature and observed temperature variability.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility:

  • AOOS expands Alaska Native representation on board of directors: This year, the Alaska Ocean Observing System is committed to enhancing Alaska Native representation on its board of directors by expanding from one to four seats. Currently, a representative from the Indigenous People’s Council of Marine Mammals serves on the board. AOOS aims to broaden representation by seeking individuals from various Alaska Native Organizations, including 1) co-management organizations, 2) for-profit Alaska Native organizations, 3) non-profit Alaska Native organizations, and 4) federally recognized Tribes, Native regional governments, and Native regional boroughs. The organization is currently reaching out to leaders within Alaska Native Organizations across the state to identify interested entities and aims to finalize the selection of new board members by September 2024. Read more here.
  • “Satori and the Mystery of the Dirty Data”: GCOOS Product Developer and Co-Data Manager Bob Currier recently created a new video designed as a training aid to teach non-data scientists about the daily lives of data scientists. In the video, titled “Satori and the Mystery of the Dirty Data,” he takes viewers through the entire cycle of data processing — from finding and cleaning data, to creating and training artificial intelligence (AI) models, and finally, to visualizing the data.
  • Wave Buoy Outreach in the Federated States of Micronesia: PacIOOS wave buoy team members Andreia Queima and Sarah Shows conducted outreach activities in Pohnpei and Kosrae to create awareness about proposed wave buoy deployments in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Read more in the PacIOOS newsletter!
  • Supporting STEM in School: NANOOS was invited to help out at this year’s STEM Expo at TAF@Saghalie in Federal Way, WA on March 7. This annual event gives students the opportunity to present the science and engineering projects they spend three months developing, from project design to data collection and analysis with a focus on addressing real world issues. The NANOOS Enabling Change working group also engages with this experiential 6th-12th grade, STEM-focused school through curriculum development with the Technology Access Foundation.

Interagency and International Collaboration/News:

  • UN Decade of Ocean Science For Sustainable Development Updates: 
    • 2024 UN Ocean Decade Conference - 10-12 April - Barcelona: With an expected attendance of 1,500 people, the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference will feature the participation of over 40 international speakers and be complemented by more than 130 Satellite Events. Click here for the latest announcements and review the Satellite Events happening during the Ocean Decade Week! From interactive panels and workshops to hackathons, these partner-led events will be action-oriented and contribute in a tangible way to one or more of the Conference outcomes.
  • Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) News:
    • Ocean observing at the heart of the Ocean Decade Week in Barcelona: Join the Global Ocean Observing System in exploring the forefront of ocean science and innovation during an entire Ocean Decade Week taking place on 8-12 April 2024 throughout the city. Learn more here.
  • Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) News:
    • First Deployment of the Pioneer Array in the MAB: At 0900 Eastern on Monday April 1, 2024, the R/V Neil Armstrong will back out of the dock at Woods Hole, MA to begin the transit to the new location of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Coastal Pioneer in the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB).  This promises to be a momentous trip for it will be the first deployment of the Pioneer in the MAB, a location decided upon after a series of NSF-sponsored meetings with community users of OOI data. The expedition also will mark the 20th Pioneer deployment undertaken by the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes (CGSN) team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Read more here:
    • Call for Applications for OOI Facility Board (OOIFB): The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Ocean Observatories Initiative Facility Board (OOIFB) is tasked with representing the science community and users of the NSF Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Facility. The OOIFB works to expand scientific and public awareness of OOI, and ensure that the oceanographic community is kept informed of developments of NSF OOI. The OOIFB is soliciting applications to fill two membership positions that will open as of June 1, 2024, and run through June 1, 2027. Each selected individual will then be eligible to serve an additional 3-year term. The OOIFB holds at least one in-person meeting per year and one web conference each month. Scientists, water column to seafloor expertise, as well as experimentalists, engineers, and modelers,  with experience using scientific observing systems, such as the OOI, are encouraged to apply. All interested applicants will be considered. Applications are due April 24th. Read more about the application process and requirements here: 
  • IOOS Expands Use of NCCOS-Funded Hypoxia Monitoring Sensors: NCCOS’s Coastal Hypoxia Research Program invested in a project in 2018 to deploy dissolved oxygen sensors on commercial Dungeness crab pots to help detect the onset of hypoxia events in fishing grounds and enable adaptive fishing. Hypoxia is when the amount of oxygen in water is too low to support most aquatic life; hypoxia has become an annual event off the coast of Oregon. Versions of the sensors have drawn interest from other fisheries and are now used by the East Coast lobster industry. IOOS awarded Oregon State University an ocean technology transition grant for their NCCOS-supported research to develop a smaller, more user-friendly, low-cost oxygen sensor. With this grant, researchers will scale up this technology and take the sensor from research to operations, making this tool accessible to tribal, commercial, and charter fishers in Oregon and beyond.
  • NOAA’s 2024 hydrographic survey season is underway: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2024 hydrographic survey season is ramping up and will be in full swing before too long. For the past few months, NOAA hydrographic survey ships, navigation response teams, and contractors have been diligently preparing for the upcoming field season. The ships and survey vessels collect bathymetric data to support nautical charting, modeling, and research, but also collect other environmental data to support a variety of ecosystem sciences. NOAA considers hydrographic survey requests from stakeholders such as marine pilots, local port authorities, the Coast Guard, and the boating community, and also considers other hydrographic and NOAA science priorities in determining where to survey and when. Visit our “living” ArcGIS StoryMap to find out more about our mapping projects and if a hydrographic vessel will be in your area this year! Read more here: 
  • CO-OPS Unveils Interagency Sea Level Rise Enterprise: NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) participated in a panel at the Ocean Sciences Meeting, along with NASA and USGS, to discuss their unified coalition with FEMA, DOD, and EPA. The coalition aims to advance the federal research approach and service delivery for the sea level rise enterprise. An interagency task force alongside a new centralized hub for knowledge sharing,, will catalyze the delivery of critical sea-level information to coastal decision-makers. The task force will streamline the production of sea level rise research and strengthen the connectivity among sea level rise experts in the federal family. will couple research, model results, and earth science observations with educational materials and deliver actionable and authoritative knowledge on the topic. Federal partners, academics, and other potential users attended the town hall and asked questions regarding long-term goals, user interface, the research pipeline, and international partnerships.
  • CO-OPS Updates Extreme Water Levels Product: CO-OPS updated its Extreme Water Levels product for the first time since 2018, incorporating a reanalysis of extreme water level data through 2022 and adding over 20 new locations with at least 30 years of data. This data resulted in considerable changes to the long return period annual exceedance probabilities — the likelihood of an extreme event surpassing a certain threshold in a given year — for some locations. Users can pair this data with sea level trends to understand changes in the frequency of coastal flooding events as sea level rises. The product’s webpage now features interactive graphs that enable users to zoom in on the long time series to view specific data points, toggle graph features on and off, and download the graphs in various formats. The reanalysis of extreme water level data through 2022 used for this update will be available via CO-OPS API for Data Retrieval.
  • NGS Collects Lidar Data in the Caribbean: NGS crews are using a newly upgraded lidar sensor, with increased collection depth and better fidelity, to expeditiously fill in some data gaps from previous years’ collections while the weather is suitable in the Caribbean. These data collections continue to help us update the national shoreline and near-shore bathymetry data sets to bolster the nation's safety-of-navigation efforts. Using airborne lidar to gather topographic data fills the gap from where deep-water mapping efforts are unable to operate due to hazards. This continues our support of critical coastal activities ranging from marine planning to emergency response. The national shoreline is a key feature of nautical charts and must be updated periodically to reflect changes due to storms, flooding, sea level change, erosion, and subsidence.

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