NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Hi Everyone,

Our programs continue to make tremendous strides in enhancing the services we provide to the country. Beginning February 3, for example, the National Geodetic Survey's Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) network will provide access to additional reference data for enhanced 3-D positioning, meteorology, space weather, and geophysical applications when data from Russia's satellite system, GLONASS, and additional GPS signals are distributed at 40 percent of CORS sites. GLONASS is similar to the U.S. GPS, a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information on or near Earth. These additional Global Navigation Satellite System signals will enhance the CORS network, providing users with faster access to 3-D positions in areas of limited sky visibility due to trees, buildings, and other obstructions.

In another advance, Office of Coast Survey Director Rear Admiral Gerd Glang is updating pilots and captains on the agency's navigation services at a meeting this week in conjunction with the Great Lakes Waterways Conference. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System represents a $34 billion shipping industry. Rear Adm. Glang is announcing the release of more than 30 Great Lakes nautical charts with updated shoreline and depth measurements. He is also previewing an advanced 3-D oceanographic forecast model that will be operational for Lake Erie in 2015 and the other lakes by early 2017.

These are just two examples of how NOS continues to advance what NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan calls "environmental intelligence." At NOS, we use the term "coastal intelligence" to reflect our particular focus on our coasts and oceans. In both cases, the term captures that fact that NOS turns data and observations into information that decision makers can use to make the best choices for our communities.

Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal
Zone Management, National Ocean Service

Around NOS

Rookery Bay Reserve Biologists Assist With Pilot Whale Stranding

A team of marine-mammal stranding responders from Rookery Bay Research Reserve in Florida recently responded to a report of pilot whales stranding on a small island in the reserve and discovered that the pod of 25 whales had already stranded and died over a two-day period. As a member of the Southeast U.S. Marine Mammal Stranding Network team, Rookery Bay Reserve staff members provided logistical assistance and vessel support to help National Marine Fisheries Service researchers and other stranding network partners in their assessment of the incident and to determine the possible cause of death. Also, as the manager of the land on which the whales stranded, the reserve took responsibility for the remains once the assessment was complete.

Contact: Matt Chasse

Popular GPS Positioning Service Is Enhanced

NGS has enhanced its popular Online Positioning User Service (OPUS), improving results for field surveys by combining multiple observations. The new service, "OPUS Projects," will allow trained engineers, surveyors, and other users to more accurately determine positions for projects consisting of multiple survey locations, such as when tying together tidal and geodetic networks in coastal areas. Project users will be able to easily share tasks from any browser, using intuitive map and tabular data visualizations and simple processing menus. OPUS Projects may simplify, improve, and lower the cost of aeronautical surveys, Global Navigation Satellite System-derived height surveys, network surveys, and more.

Contact: Rick Foote

Could Future Land Use Changes Increase Storm Surge Flooding?

NCCOS-funded scientists have found that projected changes in coastal Gulf of Mexico land use and land cover could increase the extent of storm surge flooding by up to 70 percent above flooding from projected sea level rise alone. Using a newly developed predictive model, the University of Central Florida team examined the interaction of land use and land cover, sea level rise scenarios, and topography on storm surge from Hurricane Katrina for past (1960), present (2005), and future (2050) conditions. Land use and land cover changes—particularly increased urbanization—exacerbate storm surge flooding. Conversely, changes in coastal topography had mixed effects, ranging from an 80 percent increase in flooding over projected sea level rise in some regions to more than a 100 percent decrease in other regions. The study was published in the Jan. 16, 2014, issue Geophysical Research Letters.

Contact: David Kidwell

New Interactive Chart Catalog Serves Up Free PDF Nautical Charts and More

Coast Survey recently released a new interactive chart locator that vastly improves the user's ability to find the correct nautical chart in the desired format. Whether the task is to download one of the new PDF nautical charts, select a chart to order from a "print-on-demand" vendor, or find an electronic chart, the interactive catalog presents a highly integrated suite of navigation products for immediate use. Users can pick a spot on a map or enter a search term and have instant access to information (like chart numbers, scales, and notices to mariners) and to several charting products. The interactive catalog is Coast Survey's latest innovation in making navigational information more accessible to all maritime professionals and recreational boaters.

Contact: CAPT Shep Smith

IOOS Supports Community-Based Resource Management Effort in Hawaii

The Pacific Island Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), a region of IOOS, in partnership with the University of Hawaii's Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE), recently deployed two new water quality sensors and ten PacIOOS pressure sensors on the island of Lanai to help a local non-governmental organization investigate coastal inundation from storms. The goal is to assess impacts of storm water on coastal resources; identify practices to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation on local reefs; and enhance local food security for Lanai residents. PacIOOS also partnered with C-MORE to deploy a new water quality sensor in nearshore waters on Oahu's south shore. These sensors help scientists track ocean conditions at four-minute intervals, expanding the network of PacIOOS observations across the Pacific.

Contact: Jennie Lyons

ONMS Holds First Meeting of the Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council

After nearly a year in development, ONMS convened the first meeting of its Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council on Jan. 29. Founded to help ONMS better engage corporate partners, the program-level advisory council is the first of its kind. The meeting included representatives from TripAdvisor, Royal Caribbean, Johnson Outdoors, Maersk, Hess, Disney, National Geographic, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Council members were introduced to the sanctuary system through a series of presentations and interactive discussions with ONMS staff, including what they hoped to gain from being members of the council, ways that ONMS could engage the corporate sector as partners, and how the council should operate in the future. This council will explore new ground in building cooperative and productive relationships between NOAA's sanctuaries and the corporate sector.

Contact: Elizabeth Moore

Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit with Monterey Bay Aquarium

On Jan. 25, NOAA Marine Debris Program staff participated in the second of three Ocean Plastic Pollution Summits hosted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Aquarium staff members are working closely with about 60 local teachers and their students who are implementing action projects. These student-led projects include collecting data on single-use water bottles before and after installation of water filling stations, getting involved in local politics to shape single-use plastics-related policy, and creating art out of debris collected during cleanups. Teachers and students will return to the aquarium in May to present their results. The NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation fund this project. Sessions focus on content background into the science behind plastics issues, project ideas for the classroom, and networking opportunities.

Contact: Sherry Lippiatt

NOS Assistant Administrator
NOS Assistant Administrator Holly Bamford

NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Holly Bamford

Quick Links

We regret that we inadvertently left off a recipient of NOAA's Distinguished Career Award in last week's edition:

Frank Aikman III: For sustained leadership, development, and implementation of coastal ocean forecasting capabilities in NOAA throughout more than 20 years of service.

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Visit our image gallery to see NOS staff in action! From installing air gap sensors to deploying ocean current meters, NOAA staff collect critical information to keep maritime transportation safe. 

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