NFRA News April 2012

National and Regional
Coastal and
Ocean Observing News



Senate Restores Funding for Regional IOOS in FY 13
The House and Senate released their FY13 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Bills last week.  The Senate Bill increases the Regional IOOS line from $29.52 million to $31.1 million, which will restore funding to the competitive regional grants.  The details of the House bill are not yet available.





FY 12


FY 13  


FY 13


FY 13


Regional IOOS Total


$23 m




Competitive funding for the national network of regional systems






Real Time Surface Current Mapping






Technology Innovation Grants






Modeling Test Bed and Sensor Verification






National IOOS Total






Total U.S. IOOS







ICOOS Act Reauthorization Working Group

It's hard to believe but the Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing System (ICOOS) Act is up for reauthorization in 2013.   A working group has been formed to oversee the process.  The members include Jenifer Rhoades (IOOS Office), Mike Jarvis (NOAA Legislative Affairs), Staci Lewis (Ocean Leadership), Peter Hill (WHOI Leg Affairs) and RA representatives including Julie Thomas, Molly McCammon, Chris Cohen, Bob Weisberg, Roy Watlington, Ann Jochens, Heather Kerkering and Josie Quintrell.  The initial call held April 4th focused on overall strategy, timing, and political considerations.  The November elections will be a major factor in refining the political strategy.  The next call of the Working Group is on April 25th and will focus on the rationale behind the original Act and thoughts on changes to the bill.


Regional Association Representatives to Co-Chair IOOS Summit

Ru Morrison (NERACOOS)and Jan Newton (NANOOS) have bee appointed as co-chairs for the IOOS Summit.  They will serve alongside Eric Lindstrom (NASA) and Paul Digiamoco (NOAA/NESDIS) as co-chairs for the IOOS Summit being planned for the week of November 13-16 in Herndon, VA. 



Congratulations to Eoin Howlett who has been appointed to the NOAA Science Advisory Board's Data Archiving and Access Requirements Working Group (DAARWG). Eoin is CEO of Applied Sciences Associates (ASA) has worked on a number of IOOS data management projects including providing data management services to MARACOOS and GLOS.


Regional Spotlights
This section of the newsletter highlights various activities across the regions. 



Working to Improve Hurricane Intensity Forecasting

MARACOOS, as part of its focus on coastal inundation, is at the forefront of groundbreaking research that could improve forecasts of hurricane intensity. Last August, Hurricane Irene hit the U.S. east coast, affecting millions of people and causing billions of dollars in damages. Although forecasts for the hurricane's track were accurate, the intensity forecasts were consistently over predicted. The result set off a media panic along with evacuations from areas that ended up with little wind/rain, to areas that had major flood damage. Using high frequency radar, autonomous underwater gliders, and satellite data collected as Hurricane Irene passed through the Mid-Atlantic region, MARACOOS partners, Dr. Scott Glenn and his team at Rutgers University, showed that forecasts had not adequately factored in the effect of the vertical mixing in the water column caused by the hurricane winds, which resulted in a rapid and significant drop in surface temperatures that quickly weakened the hurricane into a storm. Great potential exists for the National Weather Service to improve its underlying models and, ultimately, its hurricane forecasts in the future by collaborating more closely with MARACOOS. These results were presented at the AGU/ASLO/TOS 2012 Ocean Sciences meeting in Salt Lake City in February. Dr. Glenn's presentation can be found here
on the MARACOOS Web site.


Figure 1. Hurricane Irene GOES satellite image and forecasted track as it approaches the Mid-Atlantic in August 2011. The MARACOOS HF-RADAR network surface current data is shown here.



MARACOOS Hosts Fisheries Workshop

MARACOOS, NOAA's North Atlantic Regional Team (NART) and the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy sponsored a workshop on March 1-2, 2012 focused on developing a collaborative approach to developing a regional seascape ecological model. The workshop brought together a diverse group of physical oceanographers, habitat ecologists, fisherman, and ecosystem scientists. The data sharing and provision of real time data by IOOS is enabling the development of models on the marine ecology that links regional hydrographic and hydrodynamics to habitat and fisheries data. The meeting used a collaborative approach to assess existing information and such information could be integrated into a holistic description of the seascape.  The workshop concluded with breakout groups focusing on four future seed projects: 1) Squid/butterfish research (bycatch), 2) Acoustically racking sturgeon, 3) Study of black sea bass inhabiting reef structures, and 4) Collaborative modeling of physical and biological processes.

 MARACOOS Fish Workshop

Attendees at MARACOOS Fish Workshop.  Image Credit: MARACOOS


GLOS News:  Water Quality Project

The Cleveland Division of Water (CDW) operates four drinking water treatment plants that serve approximately 1.5 million people in Northeast Ohio. During the summer of 2006, three of the four water treatment plants were exposed to hypoxic waters from Lake Erie, which compromised water quality in the system. As a result of these conditions, plant operations were disrupted, treatment costs increased, and customer complained about discolored water.


In partnership with NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, GLOS is supporting monitoring activities that provide oxygen levels, water temperature, and wave heights to the CDW. This information acts as a warning system to prevent the CDW from taking in hypoxic waters or to treat affected water appropriately.

GLOS Landsat

The Landsat-5 satellite image above was taken in October 2011, the worst algal bloom in decades. Excess nutrients, in particular phosphorus enrich Lake Erie, which results in frequent seasonal algal blooms.
Image source: NASA Earth Observatory


"...Hypoxic water is not a good source of raw water due to the high organic content, taste, odor and the tendency for manganese to dissolve in low or no oxygen conditions...mean that costs for treatment are greatly increased.  Since 2009, GLOS, through its federal partner at NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), has provided a near shore buoy dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles proximate to our water intakes. The oxygen information tells us when we are in danger of taking in hypoxic water and the temperature information warns us that there is the potential for internal waves, allowing us to shut down our intakes in order to avoid taking in low quality raw water or adjust treatment appropriately. "




-Rolfe Porter, Acting Commissioner of Water, City of Cleveland

About NFRA
NFRA is a non-profit organization formed by the Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observing in support of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). 


The NFRA mission is to:

  • Develop Regional Associations for coastal and ocean observing to deliver scientific data and information on the nation's oceans;
  • Promote the integration and coordination the regional systems into a integrated national system to enhance observational and predictive abilities in ocean science;
  • Develop regional programs through capacity building, exchange of technical information, and sharing of facilities and infrastructure; and
  • Educate the public about ocean observing and its importance to the nation.

Please contact Josie Quintrell, NFRA Director, for more information.

Upcoming Events

2012 National Water Quality Monitoring Conference,

April 30-May 4, 2012 Portland, OR


AGU Science Policy Conference,

April 30-May 3, 2012 Washington, DC

SECOORA Annual Meetings

May 7-9, 2012

Miami, FL


NERACOOS Board Meeting

May 9, 2012

Rye, NH


CeNCOOS/SCCOOS Annual Meeting

June 4, 2012


Capital Hill Ocean Week

June 5-8, 2012

Washington, DC


National Marine Educators Conference,

June 24-28, 2012 Anchorage, AK


GCOOS Annual Meeting

Sept 26-27

Corpus Christi, TX



October 14-19, 2012
Hampton Roads, VA


IOOS Summit

November 13-16, 2012

Herndon, VA