GCOOS News and Updates for June 2014

Greetings from GCOOS

In addition to the news items below, please visit our Website, http://gcoos.org, our real-time Data Portal, http://data.gcoos.org and Products page, http://gcoos.org/products/ for more information, data and products information.


Gulf of Mexico Regional News 

The GCOOS-RA Selects Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick as Executive Director

The GCOOS-RA is pleased to announce Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick as GCOOS Executive Director. Dr. Kirkpatrick has been a member of the GCOOS-RA, representing Mote Marine Laboratory, since 2005 and has been serving in her second term on the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors. Dr. Kirkpatrick brings a wealth of expertise in Gulf of Mexico public health issues, such as Harmful Algal Blooms and water quality monitoring. GCOOS-RA leaders are enthusiastic about Dr. Kirkpatrick's selection. Dr. Worth Nowlin says,"As Chair of the Search Committee for this position, I express the feelings of all Committee members that we were very fortunate to have an applicant with Dr. Kirkpatrick's experience and familiarity with the GCOOS-RA and the U.S. IOOS. I anticipate that she will make a fine Executive Director." Dr. Ann Jochens adds, "The selection of Dr. Kirkpatrick is an excellent one. I know I am leaving the Execution Director position in good hands, and I will enjoy seeing the GCOOS-RA be grown under her excellent direction." Dr. Kirkpatrick responds, "I am excited to continue in Dr. Jochen's footsteps in the continued growth and success of GCOOS. The needs for an integrated observing system in the Gulf of Mexico are huge. Stakeholders such as the shipping industry, to gas and oil, to tourism, to public health- all can benefit from GCOOS observations and products."
Read more at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=6516

GCOOS Will Receive IOOS Funds to Upgrade High-Frequency (HF) Radar in the Northern Gulf

GCOOS will receive additional funds from the U.S. IOOS Office to upgrade existing HF radar, which monitor surface currents in near real-time, in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. The HF radar stations are operated by the University of Southern Mississippi. The funds will be used to add a second transmit antenna to the HF Radar station at Singing River Island in Pascagoula, MS, and at Gulf State Park in Orange Beach, AL. The additional antennae should provide an additional 25 km of coverage from both stations (see image). The funds will also be used to upgrade the software for the HF radar stations. For more information, contact [email protected]. For more, please see http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=6616 .

GCOOS Posts Build-out Plan V.2.0 for a Comprehensive Gulf of Mexico Observing System

Over the past 10 years, the GCOOS-RA has been working with many stakeholders.  The collective expertise of these stakeholders has informed the development of a plan that includes the necessary elements for a comprehensive Gulf of Mexico Observing System.  Version 2.0 of the plan is now available at
http://gcoos.tamu.edu/BuildOut/BuildOutPlan-V2.pdf . The plan includes: Observing and monitoring; data management and communications serving real-time, near real-time, and legacy data as well as data-based products and model output; modeling and analysis; outreach and education; and estimated costs.


Lightning Strike and a Clear Gulf: Recent Satellite Images from Louisiana State University's Earth Scan Laboratory 
Recent satellite imagery provided by the Louisiana State University's (LSU) Earth Scan Laboratory (ESL), a GCOOS partner, captures a lightning strike on 13 May 2014 and a completely clear sky image of the Gulf, Caribbean Sea, Loop Current, Florida Current, and Gulf Stream on 20 May 2014.  Chet Pilley, the ESL products manager, developed the lightning strike image .. He created a novel Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellite image from the early hours of 13 May 2014 by combining the day-night band over land with sea surface temperature (SST) over the Gulf. The day-night band caught a lightning strike!  ESL also provided a rare, clear sky satellite image of the Gulf, Caribbean Sea, Loop Current, Florida Current, and Gulf Stream on 20 May 2014 from the NOAA Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor. The image clearly shows the location of the warm Loop Current, Florida Current, and Gulf Stream. Read more at

GCOOS at the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Priority Issue Team Meetings May 2014

On 19-21 May 2014, GOMA held its Annual Priority Issue Team (PIT) meetings in Mobile, AL. The purpose of the PIT meetings was to assess the status of the objectives from the GOMA Governors' Action Plan II for each priority issue (coastal community resilience, ecosystem integration and assessment, environmental education, habitat conservation and restoration, nutrient reduction, and water quality) and identify objectives to continue pursuing. These re-assessed objectives and priorities will be included in a Regional Collaborative Blueprint, which will be developed over the next six months. GCOOS-RA staff and Board members participated in several of the GOMA PIT meetings. Read more about GCOOS at the GOMA meeting at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=6609 


GCOOS-RA Hosts Workshop for Gulf Non-governmental Organizations

The GCOOS-RA hosted a workshop for Gulf non-governmental organizations to identify their ocean observing and monitoring needs and to identify possible new data streams for the regional Data Portal. Held 10-11 June 2014 in Houston, TX, 24 participants representing 22 organizations attended. Following an overview by Dr. Worth Nowlin, GCOOS Board Member, which included the history of the Global Ocean Observing System, establishment of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), and the GCOOS-RA as one of 11 Regional Associations of the IOOS, participants each gave an overview of their program, including the organization's mission, audience, data needs, and workshop goals. Facilitated by Ann Weaver, NOAA Coastal Services Center, participants discussed the information presented in the talks and identified areas of common data and information needs. Ensuing small-group discussions allowed for more detailed descriptions of the desired information. In addition to using the information to guide development of products that the GCOOS-RA can develop for the Gulf NGO community, it will be used to inform the GCOOS Buildout Plan and be used at an upcoming workshop hosted by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. The full workshop report, with links to presentations will be available soon.


Charlene Mauro, GCOOS OEC Co-Chair Receives Presidential Innovation Award!

The GCOOS-RA extends its congratulations to GCOOS Outreach and Education Council Co-Chair Charlene Mauro, Director of the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station (NBMSS), for receiving a 2014 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators! Charlene, the only recipient of this prestigious award from the southeast region, was recognized for the innovative programs she has created at NBMSS. The award is given on behalf of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As an awardee, Charlene will receive a commemorative plaque, $2,000 to be used to further her professional development in environmental education, and another $2,000 to fund environmental education programs at NBMSS. Charlene was instrumental in establishing NBMSS which opened to the Santa Rosa County (SRC) community in August 2009, after marine science K-12 students and community members petitioned the SRC Board of Commissioners and School Board for a dedicated educational and environmental science station. Since the official opening, the NBMSS has hosted over 4,000 students and community members for programs and activities concerning the local marine environments in SRC. Programs operated at NBMSS address on-going environmental issues and current major impacts, such as oil spills, beach and dune renourishment efforts, beach cleanups, ethical fishing labs, and water quality monitoring. The basis for NBMSS programs is to give participants a feeling of true responsibility and connection to the Gulf of Mexico and local Florida waters that support their lives and livelihoods. Leading by example, the award comes as no surprise to those having the pleasure of sharing in Charlene's innovative ideas. http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=6649 .   

USM Weather Lab Ocean Weather Lab at the University of Southern Mississippi Department of Marine Science

The University of the Southern Mississippi's (USM) Department of Marine Science at Stennis Space Center, MS, has established an Ocean Weather Laboratory (OWL), characterizing real-time conditions of the ocean ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico using satellites, model ensembles, and observations for a 4-D view. The integration of these data in real-time highlights the interaction of physics and biogeochemistry in complex ecosystems, and facilitates understanding of inherent uncertainties. Products from these sources are integrated using Google Earth for a user-friendly interface that enables users to utilize real-time data. Numerous applications for ocean weather products include positioning gliders, planning ships surveys, "adaptive sampling", and defining uncertainty in ocean nowcasts by using multiple data sources. Example products can be found online at
www.usm.edu/marine/research-owx . The laboratory brings together a suite of ocean products to provide an integrated approach to help researchers and managers recognize ocean events and respond to the dynamic nature of the riverine filaments impacting the Gulf coastal waters and offshore Loop Current eddies. The OWL is working closely with National Marine Fisheries Service,
National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) program, Naval Research Lab (NRL), National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), National Ocean Data Center (NODC) and National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA)-Goddard to assemble data. Read more at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=6630  .      


GCOOS-RA Co-Sponsors Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico Workshop

Two U.S. IOOS regional associations (RAs), the GCOOS-RA and SECOORA, are working together to support the integration of biological data into the IOOS enterprise.  On 29-30 May 2014, they co-sponsored the Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico (iTAG) workshop at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, FL.  Approximately 40 participants, representing state and federal government agencies, academia, NGOs and the animal acoustic telemetry industry, gathered to articulate guidelines for sharing animal telemetry data.  The goals were to strengthen coordination among the animal telemetry community in the Gulf and share examples of successful collaborations.  Outcomes from the workshop include increased awareness about the synergies offered through coordinated data sharing, examples of how the GCOOS-RA and SECOORA might serve this stakeholder community and ideas for collaborations that demonstrate the value of a coordinated network of arrays in the Gulf of Mexico.  The group was eager to continue engaging with the RAs and each other and suggested a second meeting in 2015 to continue coordination and collaboration efforts.  

University of South Florida (USF) Holds Webinar on QC Control Tests for In Situ Current Data (from IOOS Z-Gram 30 May 2014)

USF College of Marine Sciences researchers, Drs. Jeff Jeff Donovan and Michael Lindemuth, demonstrated how to implement QC tests to ADCPs attached to moorings that are part of the Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System deployed on the West Florida Shelf. Funds for the ADCP work come from the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association.  A recording of the presentation is available here


E/V Nautilus 2014 Mission in the Gulf of Mexico Starting 11 June 2014

Dr. Robert Ballard and his Corps of Explorers will start the 24/7 live video stream from their 2014 E/V Nautilus mission in the Gulf of Mexico on 11 June 2014 through October 2014. The purpose of the mission is to explore the oceans and seek out the unknown in regions the scientific community has deemed a high priority for exploration. The 2014 mission will include the Dry Tortugas, Straits of Florida, and the Northern Gulf of Mexico.

For more information, see http://www.nautiluslive.org/ and

http://nautiluslive.org/blog/2014/05/26/nautilus-2014-season-overview .


Hypoxia Monitoring Plan for Gulf of Mexico Released by NOAA

 The Glider Implementation Plan for Hypoxia Monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico is available to inform the application of autonomous underwater vehicles for enhanced monitoring of hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The need for improved hypoxic zone monitoring has been repeatedly emphasized by the Interagency Gulf Hypoxia Task Force (HTF) to better characterize the spatial and temporal relationship to Mississippi River nutrient loading.  The use of gliders as part of a broad Gulf hypoxia monitoring strategy to complement ongoing ship surveys and observing systems was first identified in the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Monitoring Implementation Plan and later included as a priority objective in the HTF Gulf Monitoring and Assessment Framework.  For more on this please see http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=6458  


Deputy Secretary Connor Visits Gulf Coast to Meet with Industry, Conservation Groups to Discuss Offshore Production, Gulf Restoration

As part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor travelled to New Orleans for a two-day visit, where he participated in the Administration's Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), visited oil and gas production facilities, and joined a roundtable discussion on Gulf Coast restoration.  "The Gulf of Mexico is a critical component of our nation's domestic energy portfolio, and we are committed to working with industry, state officials and local communities to improve and safeguard the infrastructure that supports the region's production and distribution systems," Deputy Secretary Connor said. "I look forward to continuing to work with the various stakeholders as we identify threats, reduce vulnerabilities, increase resilience and strengthen response and recovery efforts." For more click here .

IOOS/National/Legislative News 

IOOS Publishes Final Rule on Regional Association Certification

The final rule to certify Regional Information Coordination Entities has been published in the Federal Register.  This is the last step in a long process that began with the development and approval of the Interagency Ocean Observing System Committee (IOOC) Certification Criteria, and opens the opportunity for Regional Associations, like the GCOOS-RA, to become certified entities of the U.S. IOOS�. Certification provides Regional Associations with some civil liability protection and is directed by the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009. The final rule can be viewed here .


IOOS Office launches a Biodiversity page on its website.

The IOOS Office has launched a Biodiversity page on its website.

The page is intended as the future home for information about Marine BON demo projects. The page can be viewed at 
HF Radar Surface Currents 1.1 Released into Production (from IOOS Z-Gram 30 May 2014) 
The newest version of the High Frequency (HF) Radar Surface Currents web product has been released into production.  This new release significantly improves the accessibility of the product on a wide range of mobile devices.  Using the bootstrap technology and Google Web Toolkit the product is now responsive and optimized to the user's screen size and resolution.  This is the final update to the product under CRR #98; however surface currents within an additional region (New York Harbor) will be added through a separate effort over the coming months.  The new version can be found at: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/hfradar/.  For more information contact [email protected].


QARTOD: Quality Assurance and Control Standards for Ocean and Great Lakes Water Level Measurements Released (from IOOS Z-Gram 30 May 2014)

This week, the nation's ocean observing community received a new report on recommended quality assurance and control standards for real-time water level measurements. This manual, highlighting water level data, includes commonly used sensors in all coastal regions, including the Great Lakes. These manuals are developed in close collaboration with community experts and provide valuable guidance for the processing and distribution of high quality ocean observations. This manual is the fifth in a series of similar quality control manuals, each focused on a different oceanographic variable. NOAA's Center for Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) led this effort, which reflects best practices within CO-OPS augmented with input from other water level observing system operators in industry, academia, and other federal agencies. Find the report at: http://www.ioos.noaa.gov/qartod/water_level/welcome.html

Senator Brown (D-OH) Announced New Federal Resources to Help Farmers Reduce Run-off

U.S. Sen.SherrodBrown (D-OH), a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced $33 million in new federal resources available to farmers and producers to make necessary conservation improvements in areas with high priority watersheds, including the Great Lakes, Ohio River, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake and Mississippi River. The funding will be made available through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) administered by the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)."Increasing the tools and resources available to farmers to improve conservation methods is important to the overall vibrancy of our watersheds," Brown said. "These new federal resources will help expand conservation practices, while bolstering the overall efficiency of our producers." For more, click here

Employment Opportunities 

NOAA; Environmental Education and Stewardship Specialist



Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Environmental Administrator



Duke University; Director, Ocean and Coastal Policy Program


NOAA Navigation Response Branch; Hydrographic Assistant, Panama City, FL/Mobile, AL  


Current Events and Meetings 


"Ocean Global Change Biology Gordon Research Conference", 6-11 July 2014, Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire

http://www.grc.org/progr ams.aspx?year=2014&program=oceanglob 


"Advancing Ecological Modeling for Diversions and Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico", 14-16 July 2014, Stennis Space Center, MS, sponsored by NOAA.




"Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration", 28 July-1 August 2014, Hilton Riverside, New Orleans, LA.




GCOOS Board of Directors Meeting, 11-12 September 2014, Houston, TX, Details TBD.


"IEEE/OES/MTS Ocean's 14", 14-19 September 2014, Delta St. John's Hotel, St. John's Convention Center, St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada. http://www.oceans14mtsieeestjohns.org/index.cfm 



"Restore America's Estuaries 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and 24th Biennial Meeting of the Coastal Society", 1-6 November 2014, Gaylord National Convention Center, Washington, DC.





"Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference", 16-19 February 2015, Westin Galleria Hotel, Houston, TX. 

GCOOS is the Gulf of Mexico regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).  Our mission is to provide timely, reliable, and accurate information on the open and coastal ocean waters of the Gulf of Mexico to ensure a healthy, clean, productive ocean and resilient coastal zone. Your input, guidance, support, and membership are important to the development of the data, products and services that you need. Contact the  GCOOS Business Office  ([email protected]), to become a GCOOS member and for more information. We welcome your feedback and ideas for relevant news items.  Please email your feedback and ideas to Laura Caldwell (l[email protected]). 
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