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September 2008 SECOORA Newsletter

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Spotlight * SECOORA * Subregional * National

Spotlight: Analyzing Ocean Swell ::: Executive Director Search ::: South Atlantic Sea Grant Survey ::: SECOORA Incorporation Status ::: New COMPS Shell Point Installation ::: ACT Evaluation of Salinity Sensors ::: USF OCG Update ::: UNC-CSI ADCP Deployment Video ::: NFRA E&O Committee ::: ACT Releases a Request for Technologies ::: Tests of New Flooding Observation System Successful During Hanna ::: News To Contribute?


SPOTLIGHT: Analyzing Ocean Swell

The Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) was established in 1989 to promote a better understanding of mesoscale meteorology and to maximize the benefits of new weather technologies. The COMET Program recently published Analyzing Ocean Swell ( This one-hour module describes the main elements to consider when analyzing wave model and buoy data. The module focuses on data products available from NOAA, including spectral plots, maps, and text bulletins, and features wave-masking exercises from both the East and West Coasts. The content in this module is an excerpt from the previously published COMET module Rip Currents: Forecasting. However, its relevance to more general wave and surf forecasting warranted publication as a standalone module. Please contact Alan Bol ( with any comments or questions regarding the content, instructional approach, or use of this module.



Executive Director Search – The SECOORA Search Committee has reviewed applications for the position of Executive Director. and is currently conducting telephone interviews of several applicants for the position. The results of these interviews will determine the process for in-person interviews by the Selecting Committee.

South Atlantic Sea Grant Survey – Sea Grant programs of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida are collaborating to develop the South Atlantic Regional Research Plan (SARRP). The goal of this effort is to identify priority research needs for the region's coasta and to foster productive cooperation among state Sea Grant programs, other NOAA offices, and state and federal agencies operating in this region. Similar projects are being organized for other coastal regions around the U.S. The first step in identifying research needs is to discover the priorities. To help with this discovery, SARRP organizers have created an online survey for coastal stakeholders. All who are interested in helping presereve and protect the regions coastal resources are encouraged to take the survey at:

SECOORA Incorporation Status - On August 19th, the Regional Association received a letter from the IRS that the application for tax-exempt status as a 501(c) (3) non-profit was accepted, effective September 4, 2007. Any dues submitted on or after this date are tax-exempt for the submitting organization or individual. Please contact Susannah Sheldon if your organization has not received a receipt for dues submitted on or after September 4, 2007.


New COMPS Shell Point Installation – The University of South Florida/College of Marine Science recently completed the installation/relocation of the 12th Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPS) coastal tidal weather station on 6/12/2008. The station is physically located within the Shell Point Beach Park at 30° 03.498' N (30.058° N) and 84° 17.432' W (84.290° W) - just south of Tallahassee. A full suite of meteorological and water level sensor data from this site is web available at:

This historical COMPS site (NOS # 872-8229) had to be relocated due to new construction in the marina where it has been continuously operating since 2001. Funding for the reconstruction was provided thru a grant from our state Division of Emergency Management in collaboration with Wakulla County Emergency Management. The water level gauge is surveyed in to NAVD88 datum by the FL DEP Bureau of Survey and Mapping. View the press release here.

Water level data from the original Shell Point station provided the only instrumental record of the storm surge that occurred there during Hurricane Dennis in 2005. Consequently, the National Hurricane Center modified the way they run SLOSH computations in large part due to the data from this site. Please contact Susannah Sheldon at for an MTS Journal publication documenting this outcome.

ACT Evaluation of Salinity Sensors – ACT is conducting a Performance Verification of in situ salinity sensors. As part of their service to the coastal community, ACT Partner Institutions and Stakeholder Council have chosen the performance verification of commercially available, in situ conductivity/temperature sensors that provide a derived measurement of salinity. There are a number of challenges in assessing salinity in coastal aquatic systems that point to the value of sustained in situ observatins. High spatial horizontal variability is typical of many coastal, estuarine and fresh water systems, as are strong depth gradients. High temporal variability in natural background concentrations are typical of many locations, often in response to short-term forcing (e.g., vertical mixing) or input events (e.g., runoff, river discharge).

This ACT Technology Evaluation is examining individual sensor performance both in the lanoratory and across different field conditions in moored and vertically profiled applications. Specific focus is on commonly used inductive, conductive, and electrode based conductivity sensors with measuring ranges from 0-100 mS/cm.

ACT partners in SECOORA, the USF College of Marine Science and Skidaway Institute of Oceanography have completed field testing of sensor packages from 8 different manufacturers in both estuarine and open coastal ocean environments. All test results will be made available to the public in summary reports in January 2009.

For additional information on ACT, visit

USF OCG Update – The USF-CMS Ocean Circulation Group, under the direction of Dr. Robert Weisberg, continues to maintain six surface moorings with telemetry on the West Florida Shelf (WFS), all with in-water sensors and five with surface met. In addition, the group has HF-radar (CODAR) sites on the WFS coast. The Venice site was down due to a lightening strike, but HF-radar repairs are nearly complete and it is anticipated that all three sites will be running again very soon. A WERA system purchased on separate funding is ready for shipment and is anticipated to complement the CODAR by late fall. This will result in an HF radar test bed on a low energy coast with CODAR and WERA overlooking a suite of moored buoys. Gliders, also purchased on separate funding are on order and these will join the existing glider and Bottom Stationed Ocean Profilers for future T/S (and other variables) mapping missions. All of these data sets are intended to support nowcast/forecast modeling, and the WFS regional model (using ROMS) nested in the Global HYCOM continues to be maintained and served on a daily basis at Following tests of HF-radar data assimilation, this will be implemented in the Nowcast/Forecast model later this fall. Similarly, they continue to update their daily cloud-free SST and ocean color products along with weekly geostrophic currents and simulated deep-water drifter trajectories (via the geostrophic currents), all available at the same web site. Despite numerous sources, funding is insufficient to keep assets active for much longer, and a long-term funding source of adequate magnitude needs to be secured.>

UNC-CSI ADCP Deployment Video - The UNC-Coastal Studies Institute, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue, recently deployed two ocean observing instruments off of Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head in North Carolina. The Acoustic Doplar Current Profilers (ADCPs) will assist life-saving agencies in improving beach safety by providing a better understanding of beach hazards and rip current formation. The link for the ADCP video is Click on the video clip under the Research: Nearshore Processes and Beach Hazard Study.


NFRA Education and Outreach Committee - The National Federation of Regional Associations (NFRA) recently formed an Education and Outreach Committee and has solicited representation from all of the RAs. This group will discucss E&O activities in their regions and share lessons learned from their RAs. The SECOORA NFRA representatives for this committee are: Dr. George Maul, Chair of the SECOORA E&O Committee, Lundie Spence, Director of COSEE-SE, and Jennifer Dorton, Special Projects Coordinator.

ACT Releases Request for Technologies/Methodologies for pCO2 and HABs - The Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) is accepting RFTs related to in situ pCO2 sensors and harmful algae detection technologies and methodologies. The applications will be accepted through December. For additional information and related forms, please click here.

Tests of New Flooding Observation System Successful During Hanna - Tropical Storm Hanna's track along the southeast U.S. coastline took the storm into an area where a flood observation and warning project has been under development for several years. North Carolina Sea Grant and NOAA's multi-agency CI-FLOW Coastal and Inland Flooding Observation and Warning) project is intended to demonstrate improved forecasts of inland and coastal floods and flash floods in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse River basins. That area suffered devastating human and economic losses from Hurricanes Floyd and Dennis in North Carolina in 1999.

Rainfall and storm surge from Hanna provided critical data for ongoing preliminary testing of CI-FLOW. Post-event verification, available on the Q2 home page, indicated a high level of correlation between the CI-FLOW model component estimates and traditionally measured rainfall and storm surge recordings. The CI-FLOW research item will continue to investigate and use all the data sets gathered in Tropical Storm Hanna to demonstrate how linking inland streamflow models to coastal/ocean models can improve the accuracy of NOAA's hydrologic information for citizens located in coastal watersheds.

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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