Example of Integrated Ocean Observing System

The potential of sharing ocean observations to determine ocean conditions in real-time was highlighted in last week’s update of the Environmental Monitors on Lobster Traps and Large Trawlers (eMOLT) project.  EMOLT is a non-profit collaboration of industry, science, and academics focusing on monitoring the physical environment of the Gulf of Maine and Southern New England shelf.

 

Explained in the update, observers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were watching oceanographic activity at the Southern New England shelf edge as a warm core ring impinged on an area south of Nantucket. As shown by the purple worm in the animation above a drifter (deployed off F/V Lady Rebecca  back in June on Jeffreys Ledge) had drifted near the Great South Channel and seemed confused on which way to go.  After traveling along a fairly normal track, it had been affected by “eddies off eddies, off eddies.”  Earlier last week, a sensor-laden  Central Falls, RI,  High School miniboat, deployed by the University of Rhode Island’s R/V Endeavor, was entrained in the outer fringes of the actual Gulf Stream ring.The NOAA team used Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) moorings, which are just downstream of this area, to explore multiple variables throughout the water column to get a better idea of ocean conditions that aligned with the drifter’s movements. The animation also shows the current velocity (red arrow) near 400 meters as reported by OOI’s moored profiling instrument.

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NERACOOS Makes Case for Ocean Observations

In an editorial opinion piece that ran in the Cape Cod Times and The Maritime Executive, Jake Kritzer, Executive Director of OOI’s partner organization Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), clearly and succinctly laid out the case for why ocean observing systems are so important and worthy of federal support. “Ocean infrastructure generates information that underpins our maritime economy, supporting navigation, safety and coastal resilience. We’re talking about the lighthouses of the 21st century.”

OOI data from the Pioneer Array are accessible on NERACOOS’ Mariner’s Dashboard, helping to provide a better picture of both current and long-term conditions on the New England Shelf. Together, this network of ocean observing systems is working to improve forecasting, enhance mariner’s safety, and ultimately helping to advance scientific understanding of ocean processes.

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Pioneer Relocation Update 2021-09-29

The Pioneer Array, currently sited on the New England Shelf (NES), was conceived within OOI as a re-locatable, coastal array (OOI Science Plan, 2001; OOI Science Prospectus, 2007). At the Fall 2020 American Geophysical Union meeting, the National Science Foundation announced the start of a process for relocation of the Array.  After a variety of community engagement activities and two intensive Innovations Labs, it was determined that the Pioneer Array will be relocated to the southern Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB). Existing infrastructure, with some modifications, will be utilized to create a new Array to address compelling science questions at the new site.

The OOI Program is consolidating the community input and preparing for Pioneer relocation activities. The overall effort is complex, and will span roughly 30 months. In order to provide a window for these efforts within the existing operational budget, there will be a pause in Pioneer field activities. Preliminary plans are for the final recovery of the NES Pioneer Array in the fall of 2022 and the initial deployment of the MAB Array in the spring of 2024. The figure below shows the anticipated timeline, with three main phases. Phase 1 will focus on preparatory activities, including environmental and engineering assessments, and a study of regulatory requirements. During Phase 2, the bulk of the engineering and design effort will be conducted. During Phase 3, environmental compliance and permitting will be completed, along with the preparation of the infrastructure for deployment.

 

 

 

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Seaweed May Be a Solution to Faster Climate Mitigation

Scott Lindell wants to explore the potential to sequester carbon dioxide and help mitigate the climate crisis by growing seaweed and sinking it to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Lindell, a researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, studies how marine aquaculture can be used for sustainable production of food and fuel. He started his scientific career studying fish farming, and “I’ve been working my way down the food chain ever since,” he says. With funding from the Department of Energy, Lindell’s team has already developed breeds of sugar kelp that yield four times the biomass of typical commercial production.

[media-caption path=”https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Scott-and-Dave-diving-in-Kodiak-1-scaled.jpg” link=”#”]Scott Lindell (l) and David Bailey post-dive on their demonstration kelp farm in Kodiak, AK. Credit: Domenic Manganelli[/media-caption]

Seaweeds, like trees, uptake carbon dioxide and convert it into biomass. Oceanographic models predict that if humans sink that seaweed biomass to depths of 1000m or greater, then depending on microbial activity and dissolved oxygen in the water, it may take years or even decades for that carbon to break down. And, because the seaweed would be submerged at great depths, it would take centuries for that carbon to recirculate to surface water and re-equilibrate with the atmosphere.

Seaweed farming, like planting forests, could thus be a natural solution to taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. But compared to planting forests, seaweed farming has the potential to scale up much more rapidly, with the added benefit of not competing for land used for farming crops.

“It would take an area on the order of twice the size of Texas and 40-50 years to create a forest that takes one gigaton of CO2 out of the atmosphere,” says Lindell. “And that forest might only store the carbon for another 40-50 years depending on forest fires, windfall, how fast the trees grow, and other factors.”

But with seaweed farming, Lindell says, “that same one gigaton removal of CO2 could be achieved by an operation as small as the state of Iowa in a year or two’s time, once the farms are developed.”

Lindell and his colleagues have already submitted proposals to study sinking kelp on the U.S. Pacific Coast, where the continental shelf drops off much faster and experiments can be done closer to shore. But he’s also interested in running experiments on the U.S. Atlantic Coast, where commercial farming of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) is growing rapidly.

“Our simple demonstration would be to bundle up a ton of seaweed and get it to the deepest parts of the OOI Pioneer Array, about 500 m deep. Then we’d surround it with a benthic lander equipped with cameras and sensors to monitor the rate of degradation and understand the environmental and ecosystem effects,” Lindell explains. He also plans to compare microbial activity and oxygen profile habitability in the sediments around the experimental site with those in sediments from an unimpacted site.

Lindell has started the process of user engagement with the OOI team to find ways to align these experiments with operations at the Pioneer array. “This works better if there’s already some environmental monitoring going on,” he explains. Since most seaweed farming operations on the East Coast are situated in New England waters, the area where Pioneer is currently deployed may be similar to the environments where sequestration efforts might take place.

Lindell believes it’s important to have thorough research on using seaweed as a carbon sequestration method before it becomes a larger operation.

“Iron fertilization has also been considered a climate solution, but early experiments were not carried out very carefully. That was a missed opportunity to learn more about how these solutions could work,” Lindell clarifies. “We want to get ahead of what’s become a building movement and make sure that early efforts are well monitored. We want to do it responsibly.”

Although it will take time to research and develop this carbon sequestration strategy into a commercially scalable operation, Lindell is optimistic about this method’s potential.

“We’ve got to do something,” he says. “I’m excited that this could be a short-term and expedient climate solution.”

 

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CGSN Webinar 15 September

An informational webinar on the OOI Coastal and Global Scale Nodes (CGSN) will be presented on 15 September 2021 from 3:00-4:00 pm EDT. A presentation by the CGSN Team will be followed by a Q&A session.

Topics covered will include infrastructure making up the CGSN Arrays (Coastal Pioneer, Global Irminger Sea, and Global Station Papa), the current status of deployments, how to access near real-time data, and how to engage with the OOI.

Register here so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet the OOI CGSN Team and learn how you can work together.

 

 

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Scoping the New Pioneer Array in the Southern Mid-Atlantic Bight

A very engaged group of participants spent the week of June 21st thinking about how to optimize the Pioneer Array for its relocation to the southern Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) in 2024. The five-day Innovations Lab, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) was led by the OOIFB (Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board), a talented team of “Sparks”, Knowinnovation, Inc. (KI), and expertly supported by the OOI Facility. The group identified a range of representative interdisciplinary science questions that can be addressed using the Pioneer Array within the MAB and proposed optimum locations and potential configurations for the array.

Science question topics included air-sea interactions;  the influence of estuarine plumes and the Gulf Stream on cross-shelf and shelf-slope exchanges and their impacts on ocean chemistry and biology; benthic-pelagic coupling; and canyon processes. Participants converged on a general region (see boxes in Figure 1 below) that would best address the science questions.

[media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Google-earth-map.png" link="#"]Figure 1. Southern MAB Pioneer Array regions. The red box indicates the region where moorings would be located and the larger green box indicates the region where mobile assets (gliders and AUVs) would operate.[/media-caption]

“The Innovations Lab was very successful, and we really appreciate the community sharing their innovative ideas with us in this essential first step,” said Kendra Daly, chair of the OOIFB. “The Innovations Lab provides an excellent start to a long process of fleshing out the details to ensure that the array provides data to investigate a broad range of interdisciplinary science questions, while also being robust enough to weather the challenging environmental conditions in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.”

The OOIFB will continue to engage with the OOI community to refine the array’s design for implementation over the next two years. The Innovations Lab showed that there is strong community interest in coastal science, the potential for new partnerships, and excitement about implementing the Pioneer Array in its new location.

 

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Pioneer Array to Move to Southern Mid-Atlantic Bight in 2024

Planning and Implementation Updates

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A very engaged group of participants spent the week of June 21st thinking about how to optimize the Pioneer Array for its relocation to the southern Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) in 2024. The five-day Phase 2 Innovations Lab, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), was led by the OOIFB (Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board), a talented team of “Sparks”, Knowinnovation, Inc., and expertly supported by the OOI Facility. The group identified a range of representative interdisciplinary science questions that can be addressed using the Pioneer Array within the MAB and proposed optimum locations and potential configurations for the array.

Science question topics included air-sea interactions;  the influence of estuarine plumes and the Gulf Stream on cross-shelf and shelf-slope exchanges and their impacts on ocean chemistry and biology; benthic-pelagic coupling; and canyon processes. Participants converged on a general region (see boxes in Figure 1 at right) that would best address the science questions.

“The Innovations Lab was very successful, and we really appreciate the community sharing their innovative ideas with us in this essential first step,” said Kendra Daly, chair of the OOIFB. “The Innovations Lab provides an excellent start to a long process of fleshing out the details to ensure that the array provides data to investigate a broad range of interdisciplinary science questions, while also being robust enough to weather the challenging environmental conditions in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.”

[/toggle] [toggle title_open="June 21-25, 2021: OOI Community Members Guide Pioneer Relocation" title_closed="June 21-25, 2021: OOI Community Members Guide Pioneer Relocation" hide="yes" border="yes"style="default"]
From 21-25 June, 37 members of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) community participated in the National Science Foundation-sponsored Phase 2 Innovations Lab to identify the best location within the recently designated geographic region of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) between Cape Hatteras and Norfolk Canyon for the Pioneer Array relocation.

During the week, participants worked to identify the observatory opportunities that can be offered by the new Pioneer Array location. They explored how the Pioneer Array sensors and platforms can be optimized to achieve science and education goals at a new site, based on environmental, logistical, and infrastructural considerations. The group also evaluated challenges presented by deployment of Array infrastructure at a new location, and discussed the potential for partnerships and collaborations at a new site.

The MAB region offers opportunities to collect data on a wide variety of cross-disciplinary science topics including cross-shelf exchange, land-sea interactions associated with large estuarine systems, a highly productive ecosystem with major fisheries, and carbon cycle processes. This geographic region also offers opportunities to improve understanding of hurricane development, tracking and prediction, and offshore wind partnerships. The relocation of the Pioneer Array will take place in 2024.

The Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board (OOIFB), in partnership with KnowInnovations, facilitated the Phase 2 Innovations Lab. “We selected a diverse mix of Lab participants to achieve a broad range of disciplines and professional expertise, career stage (from early to senior), gender, cultural background, and life experience. By involving such a wide range of people in the conversations this week, the innovative quality, outputs, and outcomes of the Lab were enriched,” said Kendra Daly, chair of the OOIFB.  “And, throughout the year, we will continue to work with the community on the exciting optimization process via scientific meetings, seminars, and other means to ensure we receive broad input.”

[/toggle] [toggle title_open="May 31, 2021: Applications for the Pioneer Array Phase 2 Innovations Lab" title_closed="May 31, 2021: Applications for the Pioneer Array Phase 2 Innovations Lab" hide="yes" border="yes"style="default"]

Applications to apply for the Pioneer Array Phase 2 Innovations were due on May 31st. The Lab was held each day during the week of June 21-25 (about 5-6 hours each day). During this Lab, participants worked to identify the observatory opportunities that can be offered by the Pioneer Array at its new location at the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Application details are provided below.

The application form for the Pioneer Array Innovations Lab 2 was available here. Other details were provided here.

[/toggle] [toggle title_open="April 30, 2021: NSF Selects Mid-Atlantic Bight for new Pioneer Array Location" title_closed="April 30, 2021: NSF Selects Mid-Atlantic Bight for new Pioneer Array Location" hide="yes" border="yes"style="default"]
The National Science Foundation (NSF) made it official the next location of the OOI Coastal Pioneer Array is the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) and the move will take place in 2024. The geographic footprint championed during the NSF-sponsored Phase 1 Innovations Lab was the region of the MAB between Cape Hatteras and Norfolk Canyon. This region offers opportunities to collect data on a wide variety of cross-disciplinary science topics including cross-shelf exchange, land-sea interactions associated with large estuarine systems, a highly productive ecosystem with major fisheries, and carbon cycle processes. This location also offers opportunities to improve our understanding of hurricane development, tracking and prediction, and offshore wind partnerships.

As background, the OOI has been in full operations since 2016. The OOI Pioneer Array was designed to be relocatable, and in 2020 the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board (OOIFB) and the NSF launched a process to select the next OOI Pioneer Array location. A Phase 1 Innovations Lab was held in March 2021 to explore possible locations based on scientific questions of interest. The inputs received helped NSF make its decision to select the MAB.

A Phase 2 Innovations Lab is scheduled for the week of June 21-25.  During this Lab, participants will work to further identify and refine the opportunities afforded by the new Pioneer Array location. Selected participants will be exploring how the Pioneer Array sensors and platforms can be optimized to achieve science and education goals at the new site, based on environmental, logistical, and infrastructural considerations. Partnership and collaboration potentials at the new location will also be discussed.  The OOIFB, in partnership with Knowinnovations, Inc., will again be facilitating the Phase 2 Innovation Lab.

The ocean community was invited to help identify new design considerations that can enable exciting research endeavors at the chosen location.  Scientists, educators, and other stakeholders were encouraged to apply for the Phase 2 Innovations Lab. An open-to-all Microlab was held May 12, 2021 for those interested in participating.

[/toggle] [toggle title_open="March 15-19 2021: Phase 1 Innovations Lab Considers Pioneer Array Location" title_closed="March 15-19 2021: Phase 1 Innovations Lab Considers Pioneer Array Location" hide="yes" border="yes"style="default"]

In 2021, the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board (OOIFB) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a process to consider whether to move the Pioneer Array from its current location, on the New England shelf and slope south of Martha’s Vineyard, to a new site. Selection of the next OOI Pioneer Array location, or decision to maintain the Array at its current location, was to be driven by community input on the important science questions that can be addressed by the Pioneer Array.

The OOI community was invited to weigh in on this important decision during a two-phase sequential lab approach that brought together scientists, educators, and other stakeholders together virtually to evaluate 1) future location options for the Pioneer Array and 2) new design considerations that can enable exciting research endeavors at the chosen location.

The Phase 1 Innovations Lab was held on March 15-19to explore possible locations for the Pioneer Array based on multiple factors, driven by scientific questions that require an ocean observatory to advance knowledge. At the Lab, interdisciplinary teams worked together to ideate and develop a roadmap of possible locations including exploring new scientific, educational, and partnership opportunities.  Participation was open to the all, and 32 applicants were selected to participate in this important decision.

The Lab’s findings were considered by an NSF review panel, which will report to NSF in early fall on the new Pioneer Array location and how it can be optimized for science and education.  The findings of both Innovations Lab will be shared with the OOI community.

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On Wednesday 13 January, 2021, the National Science Foundation and the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board held a microlab to answers questions about the process for deciding if, and if so, where, the Pioneer Array might be relocated.  The microlab was designed to provide potential applicants with information about the selection process as well as technical details about the Pioneer Array to be considered for potential new locations.

All feasible location options are to be considered – new geographic areas, as well as maintaining the Pioneer Array in its current location – during a two-phased Innovation Labs, which all were invited to apply to participate in. Selection of a new OOI Pioneer Array location is to be driven by community input on the important science questions that can be addressed with observations from a new Array location.

The answers to the questions posed during the microlab can be found here.

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Pioneer Data Sheds Light on Massive Plankton Blooms

“The big mystery about plankton is what controls its distribution and abundance, and what conditions lead to big plankton blooms,” said Dennis McGillicuddy, Senior Scientist and Department Chair in Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Two new papers explore this question and provide examples of conditions that lead to massive plankton blooms with vastly different potential impacts on the ecosystem, according to McGillicuddy, co-author of both papers. Both papers also point to importance of using advanced technology—including video plankton recorders, autonomous underwater vehicles, and the Ocean Observatories Initiative’s Coastal Pioneer Array—to find and monitor these blooms.

In one paper, Diatom Hotspots Driven by Western Boundary Current Instability, published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), scientists found unexpectedly productive subsurface hotspot blooms of diatom phytoplankton.

In the GRL paper, researchers investigated the dynamics controlling primary productivity in a region of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB), one of the world’s most productive marine ecosystems. In 2019, they observed unexpected diatom hotspots in the slope region of the bight’s euphotic zone, the ocean layer that receives enough light for photosynthesis to occur. Phytoplankton are photosynthetic microorganisms that are the foundation of the aquatic food web.

It was surprising to the researchers that the hotspots occurred in high-salinity water intruding from the Gulf Stream. “While these intrusions of low‐nutrient Gulf Stream water have been thought to potentially diminish biological productivity, we present evidence of an unexpectedly productive subsurface diatom bloom resulting from the direct intrusion of a Gulf Stream meander towards the continental shelf,” the authors note. They hypothesize that the hotspots were not fueled by Gulf Stream surface water, which is typically low in nutrients and chlorophyll, but rather that the hotspots were fueled by nutrients upwelled into the sunlight zone from deeper Gulf Stream water.

With changing stability of the Gulf Stream, intrusions from the Gulf Stream had become more frequent in recent decades, according to the researchers. “These results suggest that changing large‐scale circulation has consequences for regional productivity that are not detectable by satellites by virtue of their occurrence well below the surface,” the authors note.

“In this particular case, changing climate has led to an increase in productivity in this particular region, by virtue of a subtle and somewhat unexpected interaction between the physics and biology of the ocean. That same dynamic may not necessarily hold elsewhere in the ocean, and it’s quite likely that other areas of the ocean will become less productive over time. That’s of great concern,” said McGillicuddy. “There are going to be regional differences in the way the ocean responds to climate change. And society needs to be able to intelligently manage from a regional perspective, not just on a global perspective.”

The research finding demonstrated “a cool, counterintuitive biological impact of this changing large scale circulation,” said the GRL paper’s lead author, Hilde Oliver, a postdoctoral scholar in Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering at WHOI. She recalled watching the instrument data come in. With typical summertime values of about 1-1.5 micrograms of chlorophyll per liter of seawater, researchers recorded “unheard of concentrations for chlorophyll in this region in summer,” as high as 12 or 13 micrograms per liter, Oliver said.

Oliver, whose Ph.D. focused on modeling, said the cruise helped her to look at phytoplankton blooms from more than a theoretical sense. “To go out into the ocean and see how the physics of the ocean can manifest these blooms in the real world was eye opening to me,” she said.

Another paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (JGR: Oceans), A Regional, Early Spring Bloom of Phaeocystis pouchetii on the New England Continental Shelf, also was eye opening. Researchers investigating the biological dynamics of the New England continental shelf in 2018 discovered a huge bloom of the haptophyte phytoplankton Phaeocystis pouchetii.

However, unlike the diatom hotspots described in the GRL paper, Phaeocystis is “unpalatable to a lot of different organisms and disrupts the entire food web,” said Walker Smith, retired professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science William and Mary, who is the lead author on the JGR: Oceans paper. The phytoplankton form gelatinous colonies that are millimeters in diameter.

When Phaeocystis blooms, it utilizes nutrients just like any other form of phytoplankton would. However, unlike the diatoms noted in the GRL paper, Phaeocystis converts biomass into something that doesn’t tend to get passed up the rest of the food chain, said McGillicuddy.

“Understanding the physical-biological interactions in the coastal system provides a basis for predicting these blooms of potentially harmful algae and may lead to a better prediction of their impacts on coastal systems,” the authors stated.

Massive blooms of the colonial stage of this and similar species have been reported in many systems in different parts of the world, which Smith has studied. These types of blooms probably occur about every three years in the New England continental shelf and probably have a fairly strong impact on New England waters, food webs, and fisheries, said Smith. Coastal managers need to know about these blooms because they can have economic impacts on aquaculture in coastal areas, he said.

“Despite the fact that the Mid-Atlantic Bight has been well-studied and extensively sampled, there are things that are going on that we still don’t really appreciate,” said Smith. “One example are these Phaeocystis blooms that are deep in the water and that you are never going to see unless you are there because satellites can’t show them. So, the more we look, the more we find out.”

Both of these studies were carried out as part of the National Science Foundation-funded Shelfbreak Productivity Interdisciplinary Research Operation at the Pioneer Array involving partners at WHOI, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Wellesley College, and Old Dominion University. Additional support has been provided by the Dalio Explorer Fund.

For more information, see the video “Life at the Edge: Plankton Growth at the Shelf Break Front,” produced by ScienceMedia.nl for WHOI.

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Applications for the Pioneer Array Innovations Lab 2 due May 31st

Applications to apply for the Pioneer Array Innovations Lab 2 are due on May 31st. The Lab will be held each day during the week of June 21-25 (about 5-6 hours each day). During this Lab, participants will work to identify the observatory opportunities that can be offered by the Pioneer Array at its new location at the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Details are provided below.

The application form for the Pioneer Array Innovations Lab 2 is available here.

To learn more or to apply, please visit here.

 

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Expanding Reach of OOI Data

[caption id="attachment_21045" align="alignnone" width="640"] Pioneer Array data is now available on NERACOOS’ new Mariner’s Dashboard. This is but one example of how OOI data are integrated into other data repositories to maximize their benefit and use.[/caption]

OOI shares data with partner repositories and institutions that host similar data but have different user bases. These partnerships expand the data available for forecasting models, help provide insight into current ocean conditions, and serve as important resources for many ranging from fishers and other maritime users to land-based researchers and students.

With the exception of the Station Papa Array, the OOI Coastal and Global Arrays maintain surface buoys. Instruments deployed on these buoys measure meteorological variables such as air temperature, barometric pressure, northward and eastward wind velocities, precipitation, solar radiation, and surface water properties of sea surface temperature and salinity. Other instruments on the moorings collect wave data, such as significant wave height, period, and direction. These data are then consumed by national and regional networks to improve accuracy of weather forecasting models.

The Regional Cabled Array (RCA) consists of fiber-optic cables off the Oregon coast that provide power, bandwidth, and communication to seafloor instrumentation and moorings with instrumented profiling capabilities. A diverse array of geophysical, chemical, and biological sensors, a high-definition camera, and digital still cameras on the seafloor and mooring platforms, provide real-time information on processes operating on and below the seafloor and throughout the water column, including recording of seafloor eruptions, methane plume emissions and climate change. These data are available for community use. Since 2015, the RCA has fed data into Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), the primary source for data related to earthquakes and other seismic activity. In addition, data including zooplankton sonar data, are being utilized within the Pangeo ecosystem for community visualization and access and pressure data are incorporated into NOAA’s operational tsunami forecasting system.

Helping Improve Models and Forecasting

One of the recipients of OOI data is the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service. NDBC maintains a data repository and website, offering a range of standardized real-time and near real-time meteorological data. Data such as wind speed and direction, air and surface water temperature, and wave height and direction are made available to the broader oceanographic and meteorological community.

“Many researchers go to NDBC for their data, “said Craig Risien, a research associate with OOI’s Endurance Array and Cyberinfrastructure Teams, who helps researchers gain access to and use OOI data. “NBDC is a huge repository of data and it’s easy to access. So there’s a low barrier for researchers and students who are looking for information about wind speed, water temperature and a slew of other data. OOI contributing to this national repository significantly increases its data reach, allowing OOI data to be used by as many people as possible. “

OOI sea surface temperature data also make their way into the operational Global Real-Time Ocean Forecast System (RTOFS) at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), another part of NOAA’s National Weather Service. RTOFS ingests sea surface temperature and salinity data from all available buoys into the Global Telecommunications System (GTS). OOI glider data also are pushed in near real-time to the US Integrated Ocean Observing System Glider Data Assembly Center (DAC). From there, the data goes to the GTS where it can be used by the operational modeling centers such as NCEP and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

The GTS is like a giant vacuum sucking up near real-time observations from all sorts of different platforms deployed all over the world. On a typical day, the GTS ingests more than 7,600 data points from fixed buoys alone. As a result of this vast input, researchers can go to the GTS, pull available data, and assimilate that information into any model to improve its prediction accuracy.

Advancing Forecasting of Submarine Eruptions

As the first U.S. ocean observatory to span a tectonic plate, RCA’s data are an invaluable contributor to IRIS’s collection. Since 2015, the user community has downloaded >20 Terabytes of RCA seismometer data from the IRIS repository. Fourteen different sampling locations include key sites at Axial Seamount on the Juan de Fuca mid-ocean ridge spreading center, near the toe of the Cascadia Margin and Southern Hydrate Ridge. RCA data are catalogued and available on the IRIS site, using the identifier “OO.”

[caption id="attachment_21046" align="alignleft" width="300"] Data from short period seismometers installed at RCA’s Axial Seamount and Southern Hydrate Ridge sites are streamed live to IRIS. Credit: UW/NSF-OOI/Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility, V13.[/caption]

“RCA is a critical community resource for seismic data. Axial Seamount, for example, which erupted in 1998, April 2011, was the site of more than 8,000 earthquakes over a 24-hour period April 24, 2015 marking the start of large eruption,” explained Deb Kelley, PI of the RCA. “Being able to witness and measure seismic activity in real time is providing scientists with invaluable insights into eruption process, which along with co-registered pressure measurements is making forecasting possible of when the next eruption may occur. We are pleased to share data from this volcanically and hydrothermally active seamount so researchers the world over can use it to better understand processes happening at mid ocean ridges and advance forecasting capabilities for the first time of when a submarine eruption may occur.”

Providing Data with Regional Implications

[caption id="attachment_21047" align="alignright" width="203"] Data from Endurance Array buoy 46100 are fed into WCOFS, where they are accessible to maritime users. Credit: OSU[/caption]

OOI also provides data to regional ocean observing partners. Data from two Endurance Array buoys (46099 and 46100), for example, are fed into a four-dimensional U.S. West Coast Operational Forecast System (WCOFS), which serves the maritime user  community.  WCOFS generates water level, current, temperature and salinity nowcast and forecast fields four times per day. The Coastal Pioneer Array is within the future Northeastern Coast Operational Forecast System (NECOFS).  Once operational, Pioneer’s observations will potentially be used for WCOFS data assimilation scenario experiments.

Coastal Endurance Array data are shared with the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS), which is part of IOOS, and the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON). Endurance data are ingested by the NANOOS Visualization System, which provides easy access to observations, forecasts, and data visualizations.  Likewise, for GOA-ON, the Endurance Array provides observations useful for measuring ocean acidification.

Data from three of the Pioneer Array buoys also are part of the Mariners’ Dashboard, a new ocean information interface at the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS). Visitors can use the Dashboard to explore the latest conditions and forecasts from the Pioneer Inshore (44075), Central (44076), and Offshore (44077) mooring platforms, in addition to 30+ other observing platforms throughout the Northeast.

“We are working hard to distribute the OOI data widely through engagement with multiple partners, which together are helping inform science, improve weather and climate forecasts, and increase understanding of the ocean,” added Al Plueddemann, PI of the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes, which include the Pioneer, Station Papa, and Irminger Sea Arrays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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