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,

I’m writing to you today from the coast of Portugal where I’m taking some much needed time off with my family and doing some personal ocean observing. So I will keep the introduction short this month and bring your attention to some personnel changes in the IOOS Office. We recently brought on Kate Wheelock to serve as Acting Deputy Director in Krisa’s absence and welcomed a few other new faces to the office. Next week, Derrick Snowden will begin a detail assignment as the Acting Director for NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS). In his stead, Becky Baltes will take over as the Acting Operations Division Chief. I’m excited for these staff development opportunities.


From the U.S. IOOS Office:

  • IOOS at MTS Oceans 2023: Later this month, IOOS staff will travel to Biloxi, MS to participate in the MTS OCEANS 2023 Gulf Coast conference. If you are attending, be sure to visit us in the NOAA (#1102) and IOOS Association (#1114) exhibit booths as well as attend the the following panels:
    • Wednesday, 9/27, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM - Panel - “The Ocean Enterprise: How NOAA's ocean and coastal data and information support sustainable solutions across the new blue economy”. This panel will explore and discuss NOAA initiatives to work with academic and industry partners to build an Ocean Enterprise able to deliver future needs.
    • Wednesday, 9/27, 1:30 PM-3:00 PM - Panel: “Opportunities for Scaled Regional-To-National Collaboration with OSW:  Lessons Learned from IOOS”. Developed by the IOOS Association Offshore Wind (OSW) Subcommittee, in collaboration with the IOOS Surface Currents Program.
    • Thursday, 9/28, 9:00 AM-10:00 AM - Townhall - “Underwater Glider User Group (UG2): Progress, Next Steps, and Opportunities for Collaboration.”
  • IOOS welcomes Kate Wheelock as acting Deputy Director: Kate is supporting IOOS as the Acting Deputy Director until November 3. She has been with NOAA since 2002 and joins us from the Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) where she serves as the Chief of the Disaster Preparedness Program, a program that supports continuity, preparedness and emergency response activities across NOS. Kate has served in many roles during her time in NOAA, including OR&R Chief of Staff, Acting National Ocean Service Chief of Staff, Senior Policy Advisor for the Arctic, and Senior Advisor to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. A long time ago, she completed a B.S. in Ocean Engineering and an M.S. in Physical Oceanography. Kate is looking forward to supporting and learning from IOOS during her detail.
  • IOOS Operations Division Chief: Derrick Snowden will go on a detail beginning September 11th to serve as the Acting Director for NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. I am pleased to announce that Becky Baltes has been selected as the Acting Operations Division Chief in Derrick’s absence and will begin her detail on September 11th as well. Becky is looking forward to rejoining the Operations Division for the next four months! She has been with IOOS as a federal employee since August of 2021 serving as Strategic Planning Manager. She provides program management guidance and counsel, organizational management and other related support. Prior to this, Becky was a contractor with NOAA's Technology, Planning and Integration for Observation (TPIO) program in NESDIS doing observing system portfolio management for three years and prior to that she worked here at IOOS managing the Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed and the National Underwater Glider Network. Becky has an MS in physical oceanography and she served in the Navy as a surface warfare officer. 
  • Welcome Izella Murry: Izella joins the IOOS office as a program analyst supporting the administration of cooperative grants. Prior to IOOS, she was with NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Florida as the Administrative Assistant to the Office of the Director. She joins IOOS with an extensive background in bank management, operations, and entrepreneurship. 
  • Welcome Michelle Lander: Michelle joins the IOOS Office on a part time detail from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center to serve as the ATN coordinator. Many thanks to Tobey Curtis as his detail has come to an end. Michelle received a B.S. in biology from SUNY Albany, a M.S. in marine science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and earned a Ph.D. from the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington. Before joining NOAA, she held positions with North Pacific Wildlife Consultants and The Marine Mammal Center.
  • From the IOOS Association: 
    • Call for Cariad Award nominees open! The IOOS Association created the Caraid Award in 2020 as an annual award to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to observing and understanding our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes through vision, leadership, friendship. Candidates can be any person who has contributed to observing and understanding the ocean, coasts, and/or Great Lakes through collaboration, innovation, and/or a commitment to working with stakeholders. Nominations from the previous years will not roll over. Nominations due 10/27/23. See more details here!

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies:

  • Surface Current Mapping
    • HFRNet Replacement: Request for Information (RFI): Your input to the Request for Information (RFI)prior to 10/15/2023 would be most appreciated—regarding desired features in the upcoming replacement and upgrade of the IOOS Surface Currents Program’s “HFRNet” HF-radar data assembly center.  Please direct all questions about this RFI and your responses to Senior Contract Specialist Alice Park (, since IOOS Office staff will be unable to respond directly due to Federal procurement policy.
    • Congratulations to AOOS’s University of Alaska Fairbanks HF-radar team on the restoration of their CODAR SeaSonde® at Shishmaref, Alaska!  This station is now fully operational and telemetering to HFRNet.  Shishmaref is an Alaska Native village in the Bering Strait region, where a decrease in sea ice is resulting in an increase in ship traffic.  This station’s data cover the Bering Strait, providing international coverage spanning U.S. and Russian waters.  Calculation of total surface current vectors from the overlap of the Shishmaref station’s data with its partner SeaSonde site at Wales, AK will occur once that partner station is also restored.
    • Yucatán Channel HF Radars Added to GCOOS HF-Radar Data Page: Congratulations to the Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems (UGOS) and GCOOS teams on their addition of UGOS’s Yucatán Channel CODAR SeaSondes to GCOOS’s HF-radar data page at!  These HF-radar stations in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo provide near real-time surface current velocity measurements of the inflow to the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatán Basin of the Caribbean Sea through the strait between Cancún, Mexico and Cuba.
    • Fall 2023 SeaSonde HF-Radar Basic Training: CODAR Ocean Sensors will be holding a Fall 2023 SeaSonde HF-Radar Basic Training event December 5–8, 2023 at their headquarters (1914 Plymouth St., Mountain View, CA 94043). This event is the week before the Fall 2023 AGU meeting in nearby San Francisco, CA.  More information on the training including registration information is available here on CODAR’s website.  Feel free to email, should you have any questions.
  • Gliders 
    • Gliders and Hurricane Idalia: The Atlantic Hurricane season is well underway, and IOOS, AOML, U.S. Navy, and partner gliders are monitoring ocean conditions to help keep NOAA’s operational ocean model on track.  Studies have shown that we have a more accurate representation of the ocean in the model, the hurricane intensity forecast error is reduced.  GCOOS/USF gliders (Gansett and Jaialai) captured temperature and salinity observations during Hurricane Idalia, which rapidly intensified to a Category 4 storm as it crossed over record-breaking sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.  MARACOOS/Rutgers partners (Scott Glenn and team) compared the glider observations with operational ocean model data (Navy, NOAA and European) and found that the NOAA model captured the temperature and salinity structure well, and even performed the best compared to the other models.
    • Hurricane Glider Project: In the 6th year of the NOAA-Navy hurricane glider collaboration, the Navy has loaned 12 gliders to IOOS partners (GCOOS, SECOORA, CARICOOS/OCOVI) to contribute ocean heat content observations during the Atlantic hurricane season.  These gliders were all officially deployed as of August 25, and are valuable for boosting observations of temperature and salinity in the ocean models, and for filling monitoring gaps in Essential Ocean Features. These deployments are made possible with support from the OMAO Uncrewed Systems Operations Center.
    • UG2 Updates: 
      • The Underwater Glider User Group has a new full-time UG2 Coordinator!  We are excited to announce Georgia Coward has started in this role on Monday, August 28th, as a UCAR employee.  Georgia has worked on the international level coordinating marine ecosystems projects.  She brings the perfect combination of skills from her marine management experience to the UG2 position, where she will continue Bill Lingsch’s efforts to guide, facilitate, and convene the U.S. glider community and its global partners. Bill will help Georgia transition into this role over the next few months.  She very much looks forward to meeting and working with the UG2 community.  Georgia can be contacted at  Welcome, Georgia!
  • Buoys & Moorings
    • Backyard Buoys update: The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) deployed 14 of the planned 18 wave buoys in August! There are 3 buoys near Point Hope, 3 near Wainwright, and 6 near Barrow. We hope the 7th near Barrow and 3 near Kaktovik will be deployed soon. Click here to view the data.
    • SCCOOS ATN Buoy Deployment: In an effort to advance national priorities surrounding Animal Telemetry Network (ATN) and Marine Life monitoring and to meet regional stakeholder needs in Southern California, SCCOOS is supporting the CSU Long Beach, Shark Lab, with BIL funding to deploy four additional real-time acoustic receiver buoys with dissolved oxygen and Chl-a sensors. The second of four buoys was deployed at the end of August off Scripps Pier.
  • Harmful Algal Blooms 
    • SCCOOS Red Tide 2020 Paper: A major red tide event occurred in waters off Southern California in the spring of 2020, resulting in dazzling displays of bioluminescence along the coast. The spectacle was caused by exceedingly high densities of Lingulodinium polyedra (L. polyedra), a plankton species renowned for its ability to emit a neon blue glow. Now, for the first time, a study led by scientists at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Jacobs School of Engineering, including the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, has pinpointed how this plankton species — a dinoflagellate — was able to create such an exceptionally dense bloom. Read the article by Zheng et al. 2023 and in the SIO press release.
    • California HAB Special Issue Bulletin: May- July 2023: Check out the CA HAB Bulletin Special Issueon the May to July 2023 Domoic Acid (DA) event that led to 1,000+ California Sea Lion strandings and 100 long-beaked common dolphin strandings. A huge recognition to all the stranding centers for their enormous effort in responding to both dead and live strandings and thank you to NOAA NCCOS HAB Event Response program for funding to better characterize the offshore extent of the bloom and levels of DA in animal tissue associated with this massive DA event.
    • NHABON Webinars: 
      • Please join us on September 20th from 3-4:30pm eastern for NHABON's 9th Webinar: HAB Observing Data Needs for Socio-Economic Analysis. This webinar will explore the socio-economic impacts of HABs along with three regional case studies: Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes, and Florida. The regional case studies will provide a brief overview and dive into what impacts are quantifiable, what are the social economical impacts of warnings, and red tide impacts to the economy. Please register for the webinar here:
  • Marine Life
    • First Passive Acoustic Presence Observations Mobilized to OBIS-USA: NOAA and the U.S. Navy are working to better understand underwater sound within the National Marine Sanctuary System. From 2018-2021, these agencies worked with numerous scientific partners to study sound within seven national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument, which includes waters off Hawai‘i and the east and west coasts. Through the Sanctuary Soundscape Monitoring Project (SanctSound - Daily Aggregated Species Detections have been mobilized to OBIS and GBIF. This dataset includes the SanctSound species detections based on recorded sounds produced by marine animals with those observations aggregated to daily presence. IOOS staff established a process by which these data were mobilized to OBIS and made that process available in this GitHub repository.

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

  • NANOOS introduces Dynamic SST Range for Fishers: The NVS Tuna Fishers app now includes a “Dynamic Range” capability that allows users to set their own min and max values for various datasets, including the water temperature and currents, pychnocline, and thermocline. The default values are optimized for tuna, so changing the range can be useful when fishing other species. It can also be used for higher resolution displays when conditions are similar across the region by selecting “Fit Range to Data” in the legend.
  • 2023 IOOS DMAC Annual Meeting: The Annual DMAC Meeting will take place at the Silver Spring Civic Center in Silver Spring, MD Tuesday September 26 to Thursday September 28.  We are returning to an in-person meeting format with planned online attendance available for those unable to travel. Please send any questions to the IOOS DMAC team at  To register for this year's meeting please fill out the form linked below. Within the form, we ask if you will be attending in-person or virtually, this will help us plan accordingly. Please register by September 8th, 2023.
    • Ocean Best Practices System update: The 7th annual Ocean Best Practices System workshop will run online 9-13 October 2023. It will be divided into three sessions per day, about 2-3 hours total each day. Registration is free and will be opened on the OBPS website shortly. In the week following the workshop, OBPS plans to facilitate focused sessions organized separately by interested groups. If you are interested in contributing a presentation, leading a track session, or organizing a focused session, please fill out this Interest to Participate form.
  • Artificial Intelligence
    • New NOAA Technical Memo Published - Artificial Intelligence in Support of Coastal and Ocean Resilience: This paper focuses on NOS’ ability to utilize the power of AI by providing some example applications for climate and coastal resilience and identifying directions for future development and implementation of AI to improve NOS’ capabilities to identify and implement actions to address climate change and inform coastal resilience. Read the paper here: 
    • Successful Completion of 2023 William Lapenta Internship: IOOS hosted our first ever Lapenta Intern, Phoebe Brache this summer. Phoebe successfully completed two projects during a very short period (10 weeks). The first project involved using advanced statistics and ML algorithms to select the best fitted model of beach bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico and the second project she tested the water level QC AI model on new datasets from COOPS. Her final presentation was recognized by the Lapenta internship program as the best AI/ML presentation. Credit for this success goes to Felimon Gayanilo (GCOOS) for co-mentoring and CO-OPS colleagues James Spore and Lindsay Adams for helping with data access.

Modeling and Analysis Subsystem:   

  • NOS releases modeling strategy: The National Ocean Service Modeling Advisory Board has released a five-year strategy to improve prediction of risks to coastal and Great Lakes communities facing the physical and economic threats posed by climate change. Under the NOS Modeling Strategy 2023–2028, NOS will work with partners across NOAA, other federal agencies, academia, industry, nonprofits, and local, state, and tribal governments to advance models that will meet the public’s need for reliable predictions of coastal conditions. Read more here!

Around the Regions:

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility:

  • Engaging with Educators: NANOOS participated in the annual NMEA Conference:“Strait to Sound: Gathering at the Salish Sea”, which was hosted this year by NAME (Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators) and held in Bellingham, WA on July 23-27. NANOOS Engagement Lead Rachel Wold presented NVS and other products provided by NANOOS to support educators and bring networked ocean data into the classroom.

Interagency and International Collaboration/News:

  • UN Decade of Ocean Science For Sustainable Development Updates: 
  • Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) News:
    • 12th Session of GOOS Steering Committee Final Report Published: The final meeting report from the Twelfth GOOS Steering Committee is now available on the GOOS Website here
    • OSM 2024 | Session: The ocean in the Earth’s energy and water cycles: The Ocean Sciences Meeting 2024 session CC018 - The ocean in the Earth’s energy and water cycles, led by members of the GOOS Physics and Climate Panel (OOPC), will take stock of the current knowledge on the subject, including going from global to regional scales and compound effects. This session focuses on observing, estimating, modeling, and understanding the key ocean characteristics of Earth’s energy and water cycles from a global to regional scales. We invite you to submit abstracts here by 13 September 2023.
  • Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) News:
    • Regional Cabled Array Embarks on 41-Day Expedition: The Regional Cabled Array’s Operations and Maintenance Expedition left Newport, Oregon aboard the R/V Thomas G. Thompson on Sunday August 13. The expedition consists of four legs over 41-days. An onboard science team of 12 is supported by an onshore engineering team of 20. The Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason travels with a team of 12 to recover and deploy instrumentation around the clock. 25 students in the University of Washington’s VISIONS Program are intermittently onboard, as are six other guest participants. Onboard activities are being livestreamed. Have a look and if you are lucky, you may see orange sea anemones, a pink sea urchin, and feather stars like those captured above. Learn more here: 
    • OOI Engineers Develop New Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack: The final deployment of the Coastal Pioneer Offshore Mooring (CP04OSPM-00016) was the first deployment of a prototype rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack developed by the OOI engineering team with Mathews Associates, Inc. The team developed a drop-in replacement lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack to replace the original one-time use alkaline packs. Although there is an increased cost to purchase the lithium batteries, there are many advantages to the rechargeable batteries, including keeping the one-time use alkaline packs from going to the landfill (~1 ton per year). Considerable labor savings also will result in not having to deconstruct and reload the chassis frames with replacement batteries. The break even point will be in about six years. It is expected that the lithium-ion batteries will have enough charge cycles (500) to last for the duration of the OOI program. With any luck these may be the last batteries needed for the Profiler Moorings! Read more here: 
  • Hurricane Idalia: Aerial Imagery - National Geodetic Survey damage assessment imagery available online: From August 31 - September 2, 2023, the National Geodetic Survey collected aerial damage assessment images in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia. Imagery was collected in specific areas by NOAA aircraft, identified by NOAA in coordination with FEMA and other state and federal partners. Collected images are available to view online via the NGS aerial imagery viewer. View tips on how to use the imagery viewer.
  • New! NOAA's High Tide Flooding Outlook: Have you visited NOAA's new high tide flooding portal? View the likelihood of high tide flooding for every day of the year, up to a year in advance, for specific locations. Or view high tide flooding predictions for the next year. The annual outlook provides predictions of high tide flooding expected to occur from May 2023 to April 2024 and a summary of past high tide flooding from 2022 to 2023 at 98 NOAA tide gauges around the U.S.
  • CO-OPS Pilots Web Cameras at Observation Network Stations: CO-OPS installed test web cameras at two mid-Atlantic National Water Level Observation Network stations. The first camera captures different shoreline viewpoints in Kiptopeke, Virginia; the second camera, located on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers research pier in Duck, North Carolina, provides an opportunity for interagency webcam research collaboration. Although these are not the first CO-OPS webcams, the pilot project is the first cross-divisional effort to explore new ways to enhance CO-OPS’s ability to disseminate coastal hazard data. The new equipment will collect wave and other nearshore processes information, allowing researchers to learn more about potential imagery applications in science. The test webcams will be used to evaluate the potential of stand-alone, solar-powered camera systems to improve modeling capabilities, inundation planning, and risk communications. Camera locations were selected based on research by student scholars supported by NOAA’s José E. Serrano Educational Partnership Program with Minority-Serving Institutions.
  • OCS Releases Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2023-2027: NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey (OCS) announced its strategic plan for Fiscal Years 2023-2027. The plan has four primary goals: expand and strengthen U.S. capabilities to acquire high-value ocean and coastal geospatial data; deliver products and services that advance safe navigation, increase coastal resilience, and support data-driven decision-making; enhance and sustain a highly skilled, diverse, and thriving workforce; evolve OCS systems and processes to improve timely product development and delivery. The Executive Leadership Board, working with subject matter experts, has finalized the Coast Survey’s FY23-25 implementation roadmap, which will be available soon. The roadmap describes specific milestones for measuring success under the four goals. Divisions will report these milestones during reviews to ensure progress is made and issues are addressed.
  • OCS Assists Pilots in Transition to Bathymetry Specification: OCS worked with Jacobsen Pilot Services Inc. pilots in the Port of Long Beach, California, and the company’s navigation software vendor to transition the pilots to S-102 bathymetry specification software. The S-102 product is the data and metadata encoding specifications for bathymetry data and represents the information as a bathymetric depth model. This product provides a new level of accuracy to mariners’ portable electronic navigation units and increases safety in a port where transits at the minimum vertical distance between the deepest point on the vessel and the seabed are common. OCS initially tested the Precision Marine Navigation program, which includes the S-102 product, in partnership with the Jacobsen pilots. The Port of Long Beach, California, was chosen as a case study for the program because it is large, and it is exposed to the open ocean and influenced by wave, swell, and water-level conditions that make navigation challenging.
  • NGS Provides Before-and-After Maui Images on NOAA Site: NGS uploaded high-resolution images of Maui’s wildfire-impacted areas collected from August 9 to 14. These before-and-after images are available to the public to help with  recovery strategies, search-and-rescue efforts, and damage assessments. This site hosts a wide array of imagery collected for damage assessment after hurricanes, flooding, and other events. Maxar Technologies Open Data Program collected the imagery from August 9 and 12. WaldoAir Corporation collected the imagery from August 14. NGS incorporated the outside imagery to the NOAA site within hours and made the pre-event National Agriculture Imagery Program imagery available.
  • Savannah River Currents Survey is Underway: CO-OPS’s National Current Observation Program is conducting the Savannah River Currents Survey in the South Atlantic Bight. Technical specialists deployed current sensors at 25 locations in the Georgia and South Carolina Savannah Harbor and River regions. The sensors at 12 of these locations will collect conductivity, temperature, and depth time-series data. Last month, NOAA retrieved the survey’s initial set of sensors deployed this spring and redeployed them in new locations, where they will stay until the fall. After all sensors are retrieved, CO-OPS will process and analyze the collected data to update NOAA’s tidal current predictions and support agency and academic model development at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and North Carolina State University. The National Current Observation Program uses oceanographic expertise to conduct marine studies and develop data products to understand the circulation of the nation’s coastal waters and estuaries.
  • Below-Average Dead Zone Measured in Gulf of Mexico: NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)-supported scientists determined that this year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone — an area of low oxygen that can kill fish and marine life — is approximately 3,058 square miles. The measured size of the dead zone, also called the hypoxic zone, results in a 4,347-square-mile average for the past five years. Scientists at Louisiana State University and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, or LUMCON, led the annual survey during a research cruise from July 23 through July 28 aboard the LUMCON R/V Pelican. The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force uses the annual hypoxic zone size as a key metric for measuring progress toward achieving the five-year target average of 1,900 square miles or smaller by 2035.

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