2020 National Ocean Service Science Report
Selected scientific projects undertaken by NOS program offices during Fiscal Year 2020.
This report includes summaries of select scientific projects undertaken by program offices of the National Ocean Service during Fiscal Year 2020. All of the projects in this report were submitted by each program office for consideration in the annual NOAA Science Report (2020), within which many are also featured. Each project summary includes a short description of the research conducted by NOS staff, major accomplishment(s), links to published materials, and online project information.
This product was assembled by the National Ocean Service Coastal Science Board, which serves as the forward-thinking science advisory group to NOS. The board provides a forum to strengthen internal connections between program offices, resulting in better service to NOS constituents and greater support of NOAA’s mission. Additionally, the board provides assistance to all NOS Program Offices in establishing and addressing priorities for coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes science, as well as in identifying current and future science and research requirements in support of NOS program offices, associated stakeholders, and statutory mandates. The board reports to the director of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, who serves as the NOS representative to the NOAA Science Council. The Board also provides annual updates of its progress to NOS program office leadership.
The National Ocean Service is the nation’s premier science agency for oceans and coasts. NOS delivers the applied science, modeling, tools, and services needed to understand, predict, and respond to the challenges we face along America’s 95,000 miles of shoreline and 3.5 million square nautical miles of coastal, Great Lakes, and deep-ocean waters. Additionally, NOS oversees the definition, maintenance, and access to the National Spatial Reference System for all federal geospatial activities. This enables NOS to better manage the sea/shore boundary for coastal resilience and planning.
This report includes summaries of select scientific projects undertaken by program offices of NOAA’s National Ocean Service during Fiscal Year 2020. Each project summary includes a short description of the research conducted by NOS staff, major accomplishment(s), links to published materials, and online project information.
NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) is the authoritative source for accurate, reliable, and timely tides, water levels, currents and other oceanographic information. CO-OPS data, products and services support safe and efficient navigation, sound ecosystem stewardship, coastal hazards preparedness and response, and the understanding of climate change. Included are two highlighted scientific projects by CO-OPS researchers and their partners.
The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) is the focal point for NOAA’s coastal ocean science efforts. NCCOS helps NOAA to meet its coastal stewardship and management responsibilities, and provides coastal managers with the scientific information necessary to decide how best to protect environmental resources and public health, preserve valued habitats, and improve the way that communities interact with coastal ecosystems. NCCOS major focus areas include coastal change: vulnerability, mitigation, and restoration; marine spatial ecology; social science, and stressor impacts and mitigation. NCCOS additionally funds external research through its Competitive Research Program. Included are ten highlighted projects by NCCOS, NCCOSsupported researchers, and their partners.
NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS) provides the framework for all positioning activities in the Nation. The foundational elements of latitude, longitude, elevation, and shoreline information impact a wide range of important activities. NGS’ mission is to define, maintain and provide access to the National Spatial Reference System to meet our nation's economic, social, and environmental needs. Included below are six highlighted scientific projects by NGS researchers and their partners.
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey (OCS) maintains the nation’s nautical charts and publications for U.S. coasts and the Great Lakes. OCS creates and maintains over a thousand charts covering 95,000 miles of shoreline and 3.4 million square nautical miles of water. OCS supports the 1.3 billion metric tons of cargo valued at $1.8 trillion that comes in and out of U.S. ports every year. In addition, OCS conducts hydrographic surveys to collect depth measurements for nautical charts, and to aid in navigation, provides regional navigation support, develops models for storm surge and hurricane prediction, and develops and tests new technologies to improve mapping efficiencies. Included are five highlighted scientific projects by OCS researchers and their partners.
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters. The network includes a system of 14 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. The system works with diverse partners and stakeholders to promote responsible, sustainable ocean uses that ensure the health of our most valued ocean places. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries also leads the National Marine Protected Areas Center, the nation's hub for building innovative partnerships and tools to protect our special ocean. In addition, ONMS staff conduct and support research and monitoring programs tailored to the information needs of each sanctuary. Included are four highlighted scientific projects by ONMS researchers and their partners.
NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) is a center of expertise in preparing for, evaluating, and responding to threats to coastal environments, including oil and chemical spills, releases from hazardous waste sites, and marine debris. OR&R’s mission is to develop scientific solutions to keep the coasts clean from threats of oil, chemicals, and marine debris. To fulfill its mission of protecting and restoring NOAA trust resources, OR&R provides scientific and technical support to prepare for and respond to oil and chemical releases; determines damage to natural resources from these releases; protects and restores marine and coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs; and works with communities to address critical local and regional coastal challenges. OR&R comprises four divisions: Emergency Response, Assessment and Restoration, Marine Debris, and the Disaster Preparedness Program. Collectively, OR&R provides comprehensive solutions to marine pollution. Included are eight highlighted scientific projects by OR&R researchers and their partners.
NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management (OCM) is the federal agency tasked with implementing the Coastal Zone Management Act, which is the guiding legislation for the decisions and actions taken to keep the natural environment, quality of life, and economic prosperity of coastal areas in balance. As a scientific organization, NOAA provides access to the science and environmental intelligence communities need for these tasks. Four major programs make up the Office for Coastal Management, and each counts on active partnerships with all sectors to be successful. They include the National Coastal Zone Management Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserves, the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, and NOAA’s Digital Coast web-based resources. Included are two highlighted scientific projects by OCM researchers and their partners.
The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) is a national-regional partnership working to provide new tools and forecasts to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect our environment. Integrated ocean information is available in near real time, as well as retrospectively. Easier and better access to this information is improving our ability to understand and predict coastal events - such as storms, wave heights, and sea level change. Such knowledge is needed for everything from retail to development planning. IOOS’ mission is to produce, integrate, and communicate high quality ocean, coastal and Great Lakes information that meets the safety, economic, and stewardship needs of the Nation. IOOS’ Operations Division coordinates the contributions of Federally-owned observing and modeling systems and develops and integrates nonfederal observing and modeling capacity into the system in partnership with IOOS regions. Included is a highlighted project by IOOS-supported researchers and their partners.