Bi-Weekly IOOS® Z-Gram – 28 May 2016


ZGram picThe Z-Gram is an informal way of keeping you up-to-date on US IOOS® activities. Pass it on! Please reply with an e-mail with additional addresses or if you no longer want to receive the Z-Gram. Previous Updates


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News Flash: IOOS website gets a digital facelift!  We've been working on a redesign of our website since August and I’m happy to share the results of this labor with you all at last.  Led by LCDR Eric Johnson, NOAA Corps, with significant help from Kate Culpepper and Laura Griesbauer, and hard work by our entire office, we are excited about our new look.  Our address remains the same but we are using a secured site, so we encourage you to point your browser to:  The site has a visual interface and new menus, as well as a comprehensive search function.  If you have questions and comments as we move ahead, or are looking for your favorite IOOS content, please drop us a line at: and we'll be happy to help.

From the IOOS Program Office:

  • Hail: We are excited to welcome Micah Wengren to IOOS.  Micah will be part of OPS Division and is already adding technical depth to our data management team and will be managing the future evolution of the IOOS Catalog and System Monitor.  Micah has worked in the Office of Coast Survey Development Lab for the past 10 years, working on various GIS and geographic data management projects.  He has also worked in a web development and project manager capacity for several public OCS products, including the Historical Maps and Charts Collection and nowCOAST web portal.  He has experience with cross-agency geospatial data publishing projects including deploying and managing the NOAA Data Catalog in 2013 and a 2012/2013 HPCC Incubator project to develop a shared hosting infrastructure for publishing geospatial data and services for NOAA-wide use, a precursor to the NOAA IDP. He's also been involved with several Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) communities either as an active developer/contributor or user, including GeoNode, GeoServer, and Open Street Map.
  • Congrats: Congratulations to Jessica Snowden who was selected to participate in NOAA’s Leadership Competencies Development Program.  This competitive 18-month leadership development program provides cross-organizational training and developmental experiences.
  • Data sharing – a good idea: US policy states that observations taken using Federal dollars should be freely exchanged.  This is a principal of both GOOS and GEO.  Please see the data-sharing two-pager we developed to talk about why we think data sharing is a good idea.  You can access it via this link:

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies:

  • HF Radar/Radio: (IOOS national coordinator, Jack Harlan;  Ocean Networks Canada adds two radars to the US IOOS HFR Network.  One of the radars is located in the Vancouver area, adding on to two existing radars in that area, while the other is the first in the Ridley Island area.
  • Ocean Technology Transition: On Monday May 23, a University of Washington research vessel placed a new, advanced ocean observing biosensor, Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) off the coast of LaPush, Washington.  The sensor will work for the next 6 weeks to detect early signs of harmful algal blooms (HABs) which produce toxins that are dangerous–and even fatal–to humans.  The placement of ESPs in the water off the Washington coast is part of an ongoing Ocean Technology Transition project, aimed at building an early warning system for HABs in the Pacific Northwest.  This is the first Pacific Northwest deployment of the new Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), a self-contained underwater laboratory developed by researchers at NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science (NCCOS).  Originally scheduled for a single deployment in August–peak HAB season–an additional “early indicator” deployment was funded and scheduled for May after the bloom that temporarily shuttered the Pacific Northwest shellfish industry last year was first detected in the spring.  Although conditions this year are not currently as favorable toward HABs, that is subject to change.  More information about this deployment can be found at data is available at:
    • UW, NOAA deploy ocean robot to monitor harmful algal blooms off Washington coast: UW TODAY
    • Watch a video of the deployment: Deployment Video
    • Watch a video of the mooring: Mooring Video
  • Gliders: A Glider DAC Manual for Quality Control of Temperature and Salinity Data Observations from Gliders was completed and posted under the documentation tab at It is also posted on the QARTOD page in the Implementation Reports section. This implementation manual uses the guidance provided by the QARTOD project’s Real-Time Quality Control of In-Situ Temperature and Salinity Data, and was developed using the well-established QARTOD process. Fourteen tests are described and identified as required, strongly recommended, or suggested. The manual was developed with the enthusiastic support of glider operators, data managers, manufacturers, and a wide variety of reviewers who provided 150 comments – thanks to all for the strong participation!
  • New Water Level Station will soon be installed in Unalakleet, AK:  NOAA’s Center for Operational Products and Services (CO-OPS) worked with the Seattle Instrument Lab to complete preparation and testing of equipment for the upcoming installation of a new water level station in Unalakleet, AK. In 2011, a 3 ­month temporary installation was completed (for V­Datum), but the site is still considered an NWLON gap. The upcoming NWLON-­style water level station (a special project funded by the National Weather Service) will be installed by JOA Surveys LLC to meet critical storm surge modeling and warnings for the area, with the ultimate goal of a permanent installation.

Data Management and Communications (DMAC) Subsystem and Tools Built on IOOS data (DMAC list serve – contact Derrick or Rob -,

  • EDS Viewer Live:  The EDS Viewer,, allows users to display and plot time-series of model output from a variety of sources.  Users can compare nearby observations from CO-OPS, NDBC, and HF Radar data to model output, and can display most CO-OPS OFS’ model output at different depth layers.  Enhancements continue, and will include depths for the remaining OFS, animations within the map (now available through a video option), and depth profiles of model output.
  • QARTOD Update – lead Mark Bushnell -
    • Gliders: see note above
    • High Frequency Radar Surface currents:  Manual completed! The Real-Time Quality Control of HF Radar Observations manual is a living document that reflects the state-of-the-art QC testing procedures for real-time HF Radar observations. It is written for the experienced operator but also provides examples for those who are just entering the field.
    • Phytoplankton:  Up next, an announcement has been prepared and broadly distributed to subject matter experts and others, soliciting committee membership and potential reviewer contacts. Preparations continue for the kick off telcon on June 13th.
  • NANOOS is now serving two new data streams from member WA Department of Ecology: Ecology has partnered with the Victoria Clipper and the Washington State Ferries to gain surface water temperature and currents, respectively.

Modeling and Analysis Subsystem
(IOOS PO and IOOS Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed (COMT) POC – Becky Baltes,

  • COMT paper wins VIMS award for best student paper: A COMT Chesapeake Bay team member, Ike Irby recently had his paper comparing multiple hypoxia models in the Chesapeake (work he presented at last summer’s team meeting) published in Biogeosciences.
    • Access the paper here: Irby, I. D., M.A.M. Friedrichs, C. T. Friedrichs, A. J. Bever, R. R. Hood, L. W. J. Lanerolle, M. Li, L. Linker, M.E. Scully, K. Sellner, J. Shen, J. Testa, H. Wang, P. Wang, and M. Xia, 2015. Challenges associated with modeling low-oxygen waters in Chesapeake Bay: a multiple model comparison. Biogeosciences 13, 2011-2028, doi:10.5194/bg-13-2011-2016.

Interagency and International Collaboration/News:

  • G7 Communiques and Earth Observations, Oceans, and GEO: From the G7 S&T ministers communique:

3: The Future of the Seas and Oceans: The seas and oceans are changing rapidly, with overuse and destruction of marine habitats, warming, increased ocean acidity and depleted oxygen. The health of the oceans has rightly been recognized as a crucial economic development issue and was included as the United Nations sustainable developments goal 14 (SDG 14). * Despite this progress, many parts of the ocean interior are not sufficiently observed. Acknowledging all the above, we believe that it is crucial to develop far stronger scientific knowledge necessary to assess the ongoing changes and their impact on economies. We must also develop appropriate policies to ensure the sustainable use of the seas and oceans. Therefore, we welcome the progress and recommendation by the G7 expert working group on the Future of the Seas and Oceans (see Attached 2).  In support of the achievement of the SDG14 and other relevant goals and of the objectives of related conventions, we support taking the following actions:

i. Support the development of an initiative for enhanced global sea and ocean observation required to monitor inter alia climate change and marine biodiversity, e.g. through the Global Argo Network and other observation platforms, while fully sustaining and coordinating with ongoing observation;

ii. Support an enhanced system of ocean assessment through the UN Regular Process to develop a consensus view on the state of the oceans, working to a regular timescale which would enable sustainable management strategies to be developed and implemented across the G7 group and beyond;

iii Promote open science and the improvement of the global data sharing infrastructure to ensure the discoverability, accessibility, and interoperability of a wide range of ocean and marine data;

v. Promote increased G7 political‐cooperation by identifying additional actions needed to enhance future routine ocean observations.

6 : Open Science ‐ Entering into a New Era for Science: Fundamental to the progress of open science is the continued investment by governments and others, such as the Group on Earth Observations’ Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), in suitable infrastructures and services for data collection, analysis, preservation and dissemination. These systems and services offer a new approach to research, creating the possibilities for new scientific developments and increasing the returns from government investment in research. We endorsed this approach and decided to promote open science, taking in to account the particular characteristics of individual research fields.

  • Marine Biodiversity: Presentations made during the May 3 All-Hands meeting are posted on the NASA site:  They will also be posted to

Delivering the Benefits:

  • SECOORA Annual Meeting: North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, hosted the SECOORA board, business and stakeholder meeting.  Dr. Ray Fornes, Associate Dean for Research, NCSU College of Sciences welcomed the group stating NCSU is focused with working with the broader community and proud to host the meeting.  The meeting was a combination of presentations, panels and demonstrations.   Congrats to SECOORA on their new data portal that was released during the meeting. SECOORA’s new Data Portal allows users to explore, download and visualize ocean and coastal data in the Southeast US.  I had the chance to address SECOORA (download my presentation here), and Josie, IOOS Association, presented the Gaps Campaign which has resulted in a $2 million dollar increase in the Senate and House FY17 budget marks.  The goal of the panels was to explore new partnerships within the region with talks by a number of Federal agencies, Industry, NGOs, and academic partners including: NOAA; BOEM; Department of Interior; Renaissance Computing Institute, UNC; Pew Trust Foundation; Duke University; Shell Oil; Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc; and Water Resource Research Institute of UNC.  SECOORA said goodbye to 3 long term members from the board - Nick Shay, Roger Pugliese and Conrad Lautenbacher.  We thank them for their service and know they will remain engaged.  CONGRATS to SECOORA for the following accomplishments:
    • Facilitating the establishment of the Southeast Ocean and Coastal Acidification Network (SOCAN)
    • Successfully competed for one of NOAA’s Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Award
    • Buoy for a Cause: SECOORA and University of North Carolina Wilmington crowdsourced the additional $16,000 needed to replace decommissioned NDBC buoy 41036, in Onslow Bay, NC.
    • HFR Surface Currents in AWIPS –Thanks SECOORA for driving this
    • 2 NOAA Hollings Program Undergraduate Interns working with SECOORA partner Univ. of South Florida this summer
  • Study Illuminates Rise in Tiger Shark Encounters near Maui: The University of Hawaii released a study showing that a recent increase in shark bites near Maui is not due to more aggressive behavior in tiger sharks, but rather, is happening due to a confluence of geography and proximity. The researchers tagged and tracked 41 sharks over two years. They determined that the sharks prefer an insular shelf habitat (from 0-200 m deep) that is more common around Maui than the other Hawaiian Islands, and, frequently, is found near recreational waters. In addition, the abundance of natural prey on the shelf draws migratory sharks seasonally while hosting a population of “resident” sharks with small home ranges. In short: There are a lot of tiger sharks around Maui. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS, an IOOS regional association) funded the study.
  • Gulf of Maine Red Tide Monitoring Season Begins: Harmful algal bloom (HAB) monitoring is underway in the Gulf of Maine, with three Environmental Sample Processors (ESPs) providing near real-time early warning of toxic blooms.  The autonomous, in situ sensors detect cells and toxins produced by the red tide alga Alexandrium fundyense. Early warning can help prevent outbreaks of paralytic shellfish poisoning, a serious illness that can occur in people who eat contaminated shellfish. Data from the ESPs are used by Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts shellfish monitoring programs, reported by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and shared with partners via e-mail and the Northeast Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning website. This is the third year that NOAA has supported the ESP HAB network in the Gulf of Maine.  Similar HAB sensors are being developed for the State of Washington and for Lake Erie, as part of a NOAA ecological forecasting initiative to support accurate, timely, and reliable ecological forecasts for coastal managers.
  • Red Tide Forecasting in the Gulf of Mexico on Every Beach, Every Day? Soon There Will be an App for That:  For full story.  An app is being developed by NOAA, GCOOS, Mote Marine Laboratory and the Florida Department of Health that will also support fine-scale forecasts to better protect public health and coastal economies. A 3 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. Currently, there are several reporting systems to alert the public about red tides in the Gulf of Mexico, and each has its own limitations.
    • Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Research Institute (FWRI) provides twice-weekly reports on red tide based on cell counts from water samples but they can take several days to complete, delaying updates for the public.
    • Mote Marine Laboratory's daily Beach Conditions Reporting System ( provides subjective information about beach conditions and is not available for every beach.
    • Texas Red Tide Rangers citizen science volunteers who gather and test water samples operate only during blooms and do not cover the entire coast.
    • NOAA’s Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Operational Forecast System (HAB-OFS) issues red tide advisories, via bulletin, website and Beach Hazards Statements (issued through the National Weather Service). However, these reports typically cover county-wide geographic areas and are often not precise down to specific beaches.
  • Community Resilience - Puerto Rico Sea Grant and CARICOOS team up: Puerto Rico Sea Grant (PRSG) has worked closely with CariCOOS to promote resiliency development in coastal communities and coastal services. They have collaborated on several research projects and have shared objectives. This strong collaborative relationship among NOAA entities has worked to protect coastal areas in the Caribbean for well over a decade.


  • Jen and Carl continued their Spring visits with Hill staff.  During the past two weeks, they met with staff from the following member offices:  Senate Commerce Committee (Majority and Minority), Senator Wicker (R-MS), Representative Pingree (D-ME-1), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (Majority), and House Natural Resources Committee (Minority).


  • Reddit Ask Me Anything: AGU will be hosting two AMAs in June! On 21 June, Dr. Margaret Leinen, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and president of AGU, will answer questions on observing the oceans. Julie Thomas, SCCOOS will join Dr. Leinen.

Upcoming Meetings with IOOS Participation:

  • Oceans ’16 – Gearing up:
  • QARTOD Session – 9 abstracts were submitted
  • Townhalls:
    • IOOS Office and Monterey Bay International Trade Association - “The ‘Blue Silicon Valley’ Emerges from the ‘Serengeti of the Sea’’
    • IOOS Office and Global Ocean Design LLC – Ocean Innovation and Unique Partnerships
    • IOOS Office and CeNCOOS are teaming up with NOAA for an exhibit booth.

View the IOOS calendar:


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