Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Report
Integrated Ocean Observing System Program

U.S. IOOS Summit Sets Recommendations for the Next Decade

U.S. IOOS Summit Report

U.S. IOOS Summit Report.

Ten years after the first Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) meeting, the community met again in November 2012, for the first-ever IOOS Summit, under the leadership of the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC). During the summit, the IOOS community reviewed the accomplishments of the past decade and discussed the vision for the next 10 years. The community signed onto a declaration that stated that "building upon the progress our nation has made since first laying plans for an IOOS 10 years ago, we must continue to expand, improve, and sustain the system to address the growing societal needs for ocean and coastal observations and information."

The summit confirmed that the U.S. IOOS enterprise is strengthened by its ability to integrate observations, data management, modeling and analysis, research and development, and education and outreach. The final IOOS summit report distilled recommendations received from the ocean observing community leading up to and during the summit as well as set the path to 2022. Recommendations include enhancing the focus on regional, national, and global integration; creating new research and operational models; building public-private partnerships; strengthening outreach and communications strategies; incorporating additional observations (e.g., biological); and capitalizing on and integrating across existing infrastructure and activities.

IOOS Reaches Major Milestones in Integrating our Nation’s Marine Data

Over this past year, the U.S. IOOS program made great strides leading the nation's ocean observing community in data management. In 2013, IOOS completed templates that enable providers to serve data to customers in a common format, even when the data are collected and stored with different software. As a result, users may access data from any IOOS region using a single set of tools. Through this effort, for the first time, all 11 IOOS regions will serve data in one format, therefore making the data easier to both access and use.

Also this year, IOOS published the first three in a series of manuals addressing standard Quality Assurance (QA) practices for oceanographic data variables. Each manual is designed to improve QA practices and related metadata collection to enhance the accuracy of tools, models, and forecasts that affect decisions concerning our nation's safety, economy, and environment. U.S. IOOS released the first manual in January 2013, focusing on dissolved oxygen measurements collected with commonly used sensors. Dissolved oxygen is a critical measure of ecosystem health and one that often influences public decision makers. In June, IOOS published two manuals featuring best practices for wave and current measurements, data that are increasingly important as impacts of climate change gain more attention and more severe storms occur.

Federal Advisory Committee Issues IOOS Vision

The U.S. IOOS Advisory Committee (formed in 2012) developed its first recommendation for the NOAA Administrator and the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee this year. The IOOS Advisory Committee issued a vision for IOOS. The goal of this vision is to empower IOOS to promote the growth and development of the network, encourage increased interagency and non-government engagement (especially private sector and non-profit), and foster excellence by expecting commitment to and from stakeholders to ensure maximum value and return on investment.

IOOS Regions Expand Nation's Observing and Modeling Capabilities

New buoy deployed in Caribbean region (Image credit: EfraPhoto)

New buoy deployed in Caribbean region (Image credit: EfraPhoto).

Throughout 2013, U.S. IOOS increased ocean observation capabilities for the nation. For example, the Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CariCOOS), one of 11 IOOS regions, deployed a new buoy and two new weather stations this year, for a total of four buoys and 15 weather stations in CariCOOS. The new buoy, located in Vieques Sound, measures a multitude of meteorological and oceanographic parameters such as wave heights, wave direction, wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, salinity, barometric pressure, and ocean currents. This buoy will aid U.S. Coast Guard operations as well as inform the boating community of daily conditions.

Also in 2013, CariCOOS delivered a number of new modeling products, including current forecasts based on U.S. Navy models and high resolution current forecasts in the Virgin Islands and San Juan Bay. IOOS scientists also developed storm surge inundation maps for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. CariCOOS is working with state emergency managers for publication of these maps. In addition, IOOS scientists are using satellite imagery from the European Space Agency to evaluate suspended sediments and display them online for water management applications. Over this past year, the CariCOOS data pages received more than one million views from links on the NOAA National Data Buoy Center and CariCOOS websites.