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Explore the health of coral reefs, the threats our reefs face, and what you can do to help in today's podcast with John Christensen, director of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program.

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NOS Communications & Education Division

NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Newsletter

December 5, 2013

Hi all,

I've asked Zdenka Willis, the director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) Program, to take up the pen this week.


Zdenka Willis (seated, third from left) with students..

Zdenka Willis (seated, third from left) with students from the Rutgers University Coastal Ocean Observation Lab, and one of the gliders that has collected thousands of ocean observations.

Hi Everyone!

The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) provides the right information to the right people at the right time, which strongly aligns with the NOS priority to develop a Coastal Intelligence Network.  

National Ocean Service programs significantly contribute to the federal backbone of IOOS. Today's focus is on the robust Regional Component made up of 11 Regional Associations (AOOS, CariCOOS, CeNCOOS, GCOOS, GLOS, MARACOOS, NANOOS, NERACOOS, PacIOOS, SCCOOS and SECOORA) resulting in IOOS increasing the number of observations and tools available for informed decision making.

IOOS Regions operate 99% of the nation's 130 high frequency radars and have flown more than 30,000 underwater glider days, providing hundreds of thousands of ocean profiles. By leveraging observing assets — from state, local, and tribal governments, academia, and the private sector — IOOS's 105 buoys doubles our coastal observing capability and expands wave measurements to the Caribbean, Alaska and Pacific. IOOS Regions, with NOAA's Ocean Acidification Program, set up the California Current Ocean Acidification Network, which is expanding to the Northeast and Chesapeake Bay.

IOOS means easy access to data; each region operates an excellent data portal. The Regions, often in partnership with NOAA, provide diverse products. Examples include inundation forecasts to the street level caused by flooding, safe movement of ships, bycatch avoidance, salmon runs, support to sanitation districts on effluent outflow, and seasonal hypoxia forecasts.    

IOOS cross-cutting functions also advance NOS priorities. The Alliance for Coastal Technologies has been evaluating new PH sensors. The Coastal Ocean Modeling Testbed (COMT) is up and running with four new projects awarded in FY13 that will advance NOAA's Storm Surge and Ecological Forecasting Roadmaps.

The IOOS Regions complement the capabilities of NOS, so I encourage you to learn more about them through the websites noted above and the U.S. IOOS Program site.

Thank you,

Zdenka Willis
NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System Program

Web Highlight

Web Highlight

Explore the health of coral reefs, the threats our reefs face, and what you can do to help in today's podcast with John Christensen, director of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Around NOS

Sanctuary Staff Receive Nextgov Bold Award for Whale Alert App (ONMS)

Three members of NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Research Team were presented with a Nextgov Bold Award for their work on Whale Alert, a mobile app that helps vessels avoid collisions with critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whales. Nextgov, an information resource for federal technology decision makers, created the awards to recognize federal employees who have taken risks to implement innovative programs and emerging technologies that make government more effective. For more information, contact David Wiley.

New Training Unveiled on Fostering Behavior Change (CSC)

The newest online training from the NOAA Coastal Services Center, "Fostering Behavior Change for Coastal Management: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing," was recently unveiled. This 90-minute introduction, designed for coastal resource management and community planning, covers a five-step process for designing projects that foster specific behavior changes among a target audience. For more information, contact Zac Hart.

Memorandum of Understanding with Canada's Department of Natural Resources (NGS)

On November 25, NOS Assistant Administrator Holly Bamford signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NOS and the Natural Resources Canada Earth Sciences Sector. The MOU establishes a framework for cooperation in joint earth sciences studies between the National Geodetic Survey and the Canadian Geodetic Survey. Of particular interest is the continued collaboration between the offices in developing a high-accuracy vertical datum reference surface for the entire North American continent, as well as adopting an official vertical datum for the two countries. Both Canada and the U.S. are pursuing similar improvements to their respective national spatial reference systems. For more information, contact Brett Howe.    

Incident Creation Added to the Environmental Response Management Application (OR&R)

Incident Creation was recently unveiled as part of a major software update for the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®). Incident Creation, accessible in all ERMA regions, allows users to either "drop a point" on the ERMA map interface or enter the coordinates of an incident in order to create a point on the map. Once an incident is created it will appear in the "Incidents & Drills" folder in ERMA. For more information, contact Kari Sheets.

New Shark Tracking Page Gains Popularity in Hawaii (IOOS®)

A new website is now available for tracking sharks near Hawaii. The Hawaii Tiger Shark Tracking project page received nearly 85,000 page views within just days of launch (16,000 unique visitors).  Funded by the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, researchers at University of Hawaii's Institute of Marine Biology tagged several tiger sharks in late 2013 to research the recent shark attacks around Maui. The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), a U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System region, presents this data on both the PacIOOS Voyager and the shark tracking page. Visitors may choose a shark ID number on the left sidebar to watch the animation of each tagged shark's voyage. For more information, contact Jennie Lyons.

New Research in the Gulf of Maine Improves Red Tide Forecasting (NCCOS)

Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science recently teamed with sponsored partners to collect sediment samples in the Gulf of Maine needed to find cysts of the harmful algae Alexandrium fundyense. The data collection took place aboard NOAA's research ship Okeanos Explorer. This was the first time a NOAA ship has been used for such an effort and was in collaboration with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, whose research has made Alexandrium forecasting possible. Data collected during the mission are expected to improve forecasting red tide events along the New England coast in the coming year. State managers use the forecasts to monitor the Alexandrium toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. For more information, contact Terry McTigue.

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