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August 2008 SECOORA Newsletter

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Spotlight * Regional * Subregional

Demonstrating the Value of the Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System ::: Executive Director Search ::: HF Radar Plan ::: Website Upgrades ::: SECOORA 2008 RCOOS Grant ::: Ocean Data Partnership ::: Storm Surge Modeling Workshop ::: Asset Report ::: Board Retreat ::: FLCOOS Updates ::: Carolinas RCOOS ::: News To Contribute?

SPOTLIGHT: Demonstrating the Value of the Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System

On July 18, 2008, a low pressure system was sitting off the Georgia coast. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) relied on near real-time information from sensors installed by the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (SkIO) on an offshore Navy tower (M2R6) to upgrade the area of low pressure to Tropical Depression Number 3. See the NHC discussion below:

WTNT43 KNHC 190257 TCDAT3
TROPICAL DEPRESSION THREE DISCUSSION NUMBER 1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL032008
1100 PM EDT FRI JUL 18 2008"

"OVER THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS...CONVECTION ASSOCIATED WITH THE AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OFF THE GEORGIA COAST HAS BECOME MORE CONCENTRATED WITH AMPLE MID-LEVEL ROTATION. PERSISTENT NORTHWESTERLY WINDS FROM A SKIDAWAY INSTITUTE OF OCEANOGRAPHY 50 METER TOWER A SHORT DISTANCE WEST OF THE MAIN AREA OF CONVECTION INDICATE THAT THE CIRCULATION HAS BECOME BETTER DEFINED SINCE THIS AFTERNOON. CONSEQUENTLY...ADVISORIES ARE INITIATED ON TROPICAL DEPRESSION THREE. THERE ARE NO INDICATIONS...EITHER FROM COASTAL RADAR OR SURFACE OBSERVATIONS...THAT THE SYSTEM HAS ACQUIRED MUCH IN THE WAY OF STRONG WINDS YET...AND THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS SET AT 25 KT."

This success story highlights, according to Steven Taylor of the National Weather Service's Charleston Office, "how important those observation platforms are to the National Weather Service." The M2R6 tower is one of eight towers off Georgia that are part of a Navy flight training range (operated from the Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina). Although the towers underwent a major renovation in 2003-2004 (nominally a 20-year refit for the M2R6 and R2 towers), plans for the long-term use of the platforms by the Navy changed. Following introduction of a new satellite-based system in the fall of this year, the range will be decommissioned. Power and communications are scheduled to be shut-down at the end of 2008. The towers will then transfer to a DOD surplus pool for disposal and will likely be dismantled unless an alternative arrangement can be made, such as transferring responsibility for the towers to another Federal agency. SECOORA will continue to promote re-use of the GA Navy tower range (and other ranges around the SE) for ocean observing.

SECOORA NEWS:

Executive Director Search – The Executive Director Search Committee will begin reviewing applications it has already received in the coming weeks. We appreciate the interest in the position and the efforts by many to distribute the announcement widely. The search remains open until filled; the original position description can still be viewed.

HF Radar Plan – A review panel is meeting in Colorado the week of August 18 to review input from all the Regional Associations to the IOOS Plan for a National HF Radar Surface Current Capability. The Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) is a plan partner and is helping to facilitate the plan's development. This is a working meeting whose task is to refine the Draft Plan in real-time with a new version being produced by meeting's end. Development of the plan is on a fairly tight schedule with a final inter-agency-approved Plan being delivered by 31 December 2008. Prof. Nick Shay from the University of Miami will represent SECOORA.

Website Upgrades – The SECOORA Staff, along with stakeholders and personnel from member institutions, is actively revising the SECOORA web site. Upgrades will include graphic enhancements, theme-based elements, revised member options, and an expanded data portal. Publication of the new site is expected by the end of 2008. If you have any comments on the SECOORA web site, please send them to the Program Coordinator, Susannah Sheldon.

SECOORA 2008 RCOOS Grant – SECOORA has officially received the award ($400,000) that was the result of a successfully re-scoped 2008 RCOOS proposal. These funds will provide continued support of regional HF radar systems and region-wide data management operations. Principal Investigators represent a wide range of SECOORA members, including: University of Miami, University of South Florida (IMaRS), University of South Florida (CMS), Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and University of South Carolina. Prospects for increased funding for Years 2 and 3 depend on the federal budget for IOOS in 2009 and 2010.

Ocean Data Partnership (ODP) – The SECOORA ODP continues to actively engage regional partners in an effort to support and enhance our data products, services, and integration efforts. Currently, the ODP is collaborating directly with five new partners who are contributing near real-time and/or archived data assets to the regional data sharing initiative. These partners include: University of Miami, Florida Atlantic University, NOAA-AOML, University of North Florida, and the Georgia Coastal Research Center. For questions about the Ocean Data Partnership please contact the Information Management Coordinator, Sam Walker.

Storm Surge Modeling Workshop – Recently, Dr. Peter Sheng (a member of SECOORA’s Board of Directors), hosted a regional storm surge modeling workshop at the University of Florida. The focus of this initial workshop was an evaluation of various modeling efforts in the region with an ultimate project goal of comparing the merits of specific approaches. This collaborative, two-day event was very well attended. Questions regarding access to the presentations and discussions should be directed, via email, to Dr. Peter Sheng.

Asset Report - Caro-COOPS buoy losses: Due to reductions in funding, there has been a significant reduction in monitoring locations in South Carolina. SUN1, CAP1, and FRP1 (water level and met stations located in Sunset Beach, Capers Island and Fripp Island) have been decommissioned. The SUN2, SUN3 and CAP3 buoys were also removed from service in May 2008. We are pleased to report that CAP2 and FRP2 have undergone bi-annual servicing and continue to report data on ocean and atmospheric condition. For more details, contact Dr. Madilyn Fletcher.

Due to reduced funding the NCCOOS program has decommissioned its meteorological installation on the GA Navy Tower R4 (NDBC designation SECG1) that was first instrumented in 2004. Any re-installation must await resolution of the fate of the towers range (see Spotlight above).

The UNCW Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program deployed a CDIP Wave Rider buoy approximately 5 miles off of Wrightsville Beach, NC on May 24, 2008. This buoy is providing near shore wave height, period and direction every 30 minutes. The buoy data is being used by the Wilmington NWS office to validate the coastal waters forecast as well as to assist with RIP current prediction along the beach. For more information, contact Dr. Lynn Leonard.

Upcoming SECOORA Events - A Board retreat is being planned for the Fall. Details will be available shortly.

SUBREGIONAL NEWS

FLCOOS Updates - The next Florida COOS caucus (#14) will be held at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. Further details will be announced shortly and made available via the FLCOOS web site.

The new FLCOOS video is available from YouTube (keyword 'flcoos') or from the FLCOOS web site (www.marine.usf.edu/flcoos). In addition to listing Meetings, Workshops and Conferences of interest to the COOS community, FLCOOS has started to list Job Opportunities on the website as well. If you wish to post a job advert or meeting announcement, please send an email with the relevant information to Jyotika Virmani.

The Florida Coastal and Oceans Economics Report was funded by the Florida Oceans and Coastal Council and has been published and is available on-line at http://www.floridaoceanscouncil.org/reports/economies.htm. The report outlines the economic value of Florida's Oceans and Florida's coastal communities.

Carolinas RCOOS – In partnership with the Carolinas RCOOS, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), has upgraded a NERR platform at Zeke’s Basin, NC to transmit real-time water quality data via satellite. This station will also be linked to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher so visitors can monitor water quality and learn why this information is critical to coastal communities.

News to Contribute? The SECOORA newsletter is published in the middle of each month and focuses on regional, subregional, and national ocean observation topics, events, and success stories. Please email your comments or suggested new items to SECOORA's Program Coordinator, Susannah Sheldon by the tenth day of each month.

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