The OOI’s primary mission is to make its data widely available to multiple users. One way it achieves this, on a broad scale, is by establishing partnerships with other organizations that also distribute ocean observing data. For example, OOI currently partners with the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), which provides integrated ocean information in near real-time and tools and forecasts to apply the data, the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), which maintains a network of data collecting buoys and coastal stations as part of the National Weather Service, the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), which uses international data to document the status and progress of ocean acidification, and Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a consortium of over 120 US universities dedicated to the operation of science facilities for the acquisition, management, and distribution of seismological data.
NANOOS: Making data relevant for decision-making
NANOOS, the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, which is part of IOOS, has been operational since 2003, establishing trusting, collaborative relationships with those who use and collect ocean data in the Pacific Northwest. NANOOS has been an exemplary partner in ingesting and using OOI data. Part of its success lies in advance planning. NANOOS, for example, had determined that OOI assets, in addition to achieving the scientific goals for which they were designed, could fill a data void in IOOS assets running north and south in an area between La Push, WA, and the Columbia River, well before the OOI assets came online.
According to Jan Newton, NANOOS executive director at the University of Washington, “One of the reasons NANOOS is so effective is that our guiding principle is to be cooperative and not compete. If the public is looking for coastal data, for example, we want to make sure they can access it and use it, rather than having them trying to sort through whether it is a product of IOOS or OOI. We operate with the philosophy of maximizing the discoverability and service of the data and OOI has been a great partner in our mission. We’ve been really happy about how this partnership has played out.”
NANOOS has made a huge effort on its data visualization capabilities, so people can not only find data, but look at it in a relative way to use it for forecasting, modeling, and solving real-world problems. OOI data are integral in helping support some of these visualization and modeling efforts, which commonly play a role in situations facing a wide cross-section of society.
An example of this applicability played out in improved understanding of hypoxia (oxygen-deficient conditions) off the coast of Oregon, which had resulted in mass mortality events of hypoxia-intolerant species of invertebrates and fish, in particular, Dungeness crabs. Allowing access through NANOOS to near real-time oxygen data from OOI assets has allowed the managers and fishers to come up with some plausible solutions to maintaining this valuable resource. The Dungeness crab fishery is the most valuable single-species fishery on the U.S. West Coast, with landed values up to $250 million per year, and plays an enormous cultural role in the lives of tribal communities in the region, as well.
Researcher Samantha Siedlecki, University of Connecticut, reports that in late June of 2018, for example, fishers in the region were pulling up dead crabs in pots without knowing the cause. Scientists accessed near real-time OOI observations through the NANOOS data portal and found that the Washington Inshore Surface Mooring of the Coastal Endurance Array (EA) had measured hypoxia from June 7th onwards. So, the data confirmed real-life conditions and explained the crab mortalities.
This is important because such occurrences are helping to confirm models and enhance forecasting to better manage these events by providing guidance to fishers and resource managers. In this instance, the forecast indicates what regions will likely require reduced time for crabs to remain “soaking,” caged in the environment during hypoxia events, to ensure crabs are captured alive, and also aid in spatial management of the fishery itself. OOI data will play a role in continual improvements in forecasting in this region and the fishery by providing data during winter months, ensuring historical data are available and quality controlled for use in forecasting, and continuing to serve data in near real-time.
Adds Newton, “I can’t tell you how many OOI and other PIs come up and tell me how they love that their data are having a connection to real world problems and solutions. It makes their research go farther with greater impact by being part of this NANOOS network.”
Explains Craig Risien, Coastal Endurance Array senior technician at Oregon State University, “OOI is collecting an incredible wealth of data, offering a treasure chest of material to write papers, write proposals, include in posters, and now it is being used in practical ways for finding scientific solutions to environmental problems. Every time we look at the data, there’s a new story to tell. We always find something new, something interesting, and encourage everyone to have a look and experience the same usefulness and excitement about OOI data.”
Sharing OOI data
The OOI is in talks with the IOOS regions serving the Northeast Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic to see how OOI data might enhance their networks, as well. The OOI also has been providing data to the National Data Buoy Center since 2016, supplementing the data collected by NDBC’s 90 buoys and 60 Coastal Marine Automated Network stations, which collectively provide critical data on unfolding weather conditions. And, the OOI has been providing data to Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), since mid-2019, ground-truthing on site conditions in real to near real-time, which is critical to understanding conditions contributing to ocean acidification and improving modeling capabilities to determine when it might occur. OOI’s Regional Cabled Array has been providing seismological, pressure and hydrophone data to Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) since 2014, providing a wealth of data from Axial Seamount and on the Cascadia Margin. For example, on April 24, 2015 a seismic crisis initiated at the summit of Axial Seamount with >8,000 earthquakes occurring in 24 hrs, marking the start of the eruption. Starting at 08:01 that same day, the network recorded ~ 37,000 impulsive events delineating underwater explosions, many of which were associated with the formation of a 127 meter thick lava flow on the northern rift.
If you would like to test drive some of the OOI data in NANOOS, NDBC, and GOA-ON, here are some examples below:
· Global Irminger Array data (Station 44078)
· Regional Cabled Array (While searching within IRIS for OOI data, use the two-letter IRIS network designator “OO.”)