Establishing a NOAA Operational Data Center for Surface Currents Derived from Satellite Altimeters and Scatterometers; Pilot Study for the Tropical Pacific Including the Hawaiian Islands and US Territorial Islands

Lead PI: Dr. Gary S. E. Lagerloef, Earth and Space Research

This project develops a processing system and data center to provide operational ocean surface velocity fields from satellite altimeter and vector wind data. The regional focus is the tropical Pacific, where the value of this data is demonstrated for a variety of uses, specifically fisheries management and recruitment, monitoring debris drift, larvae drift, oil spills, fronts and eddies, as well as large scale climate diagnostics and prediction. Additional uses in search and rescue, and naval and maritime operations will also be encouraged. The data is subjected to extensive validation and error analysis, and applied to various ocean, climate, and dynamic basic research problems. The user base derives from the NOAA CoastWatch and climate prediction programs, the broad research community, the Navy’s operational ocean analysis program, and other civilian uses. The end product will to leave in place a turnkey system running at NOAA/NESDIS, with an established user clientele and easy internet data access.

The method to derive surface currents with satellite altimeter and scatterometer data is the outcome of several years of NASA-sponsored research. This project transitions the capability to operational oceanographic applications. The end product will be velocity maps updated daily, with a goal for eventual 2-day maximum delay from the time of satellite measurement. Grid resolution will be 100 km for the basin-scale, and finer resolution in the vicinity of the Pacific Islands. The team consists of private non-profit, educational, and government partners with broad experience and familiarity with the data, and the scientific and technical issues. Two partners are the original developers of the surface current derivation techniques, and two are closely tied to satellite data sources and primary processing centers. Others represent NOAA/NESDIS, Climate Prediction Center, CoastWatch, NMFS, and the Navy to evaluate uses and applications.

Number of Years: 3

Partners:

  • Florida State University – Scatterometer objective analysis and gridding
  • University of South Florida – Altimeter objective analysis and gridding, velocity analysis
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationNational Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service – Operational altimeter/scatterometer access and low-level processing, data analysis
  • National Marine Fisheries Service – User applications, management, public outreach; Hawaii Coast Watch
  • National Centers for Environmental Prediction / Climate Prediction Center – Data analysis and evaluation for climate predictionNaval Research Laboratory – Navy applications and ocean model comparisons
  • Earth and Space Research – Project Manager, Surface current data generation and analysis, data validation, user access

FY 2002 PI Report
FY 2003 PI Report


Scatterometer-Derived Operational Winds, Surface Pressures, and Rain

Lead PI: Dr. James J. O’Brien, Florida State University

A collaboration of academic, business, and Navy interests provides enhanced scatterometer-derived wind products, and three new products: surface pressure, rain rates, and surface stresses. These products are delivered to naval battle groups through FNMOC, to commercial ships through SeaScape Corporation, and to forecasters (MPC, NWS offices, and HRD). All of these products are produced in near real-time, validated, and improved through feedback from the wide range of operational users. Excessive false alarms for rain contamination have been identified as a serious problem in operational applications. The scatterometer rain flag is improved to apply only to wind vectors for which the rain contamination leads to substantial errors. Recent theoretical work indicates that only rain rates that exceed a wind speed dependent threshold will contribute to large errors in the vector wind. This goal is achieved thorugh scatterometer-based estimates of rain rates and surface pressure fields. The wind, pressure, stress, and rain products will be validated and fine-tuned, with the goal of speeding the development of high quality operational products. Regularly gridded winds and stresses will also be tested on ocean models. The technology for successfully validated products is provided to NOAA/NESDIS and the Navy (FNMOC and NAVO) for operational implementation. Scatterometer observations are asynoptic; consequently, they provide considerable information that forecasters do not receive in their routine products. Furthermore, these scatterometer-derived products are important for naval operations.

Number of Years: 3

Partners:

  • Florida State University – Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies
  • SeaScape Corporation
  • NASA – Wallops Flight Facility
  • Colorado State University – Department of Electrical Engineering
  • NOAA – NESDIS
  • Navy – Fleet Numerical Met OCN CTR
  • Microwave Remote Sensing Consultants
  • NRL – Stennis Space Center
  • Naval Oceanographic Office
  • Hofstra University – Department of Engineering

FY 2002 PI Report
FY 2003 PI Report


Real-Time Forecasting of Winds, Waves and Surge in Tropical Cyclones

Lead PI: Dr. Hans C. Graber, University of Miami

The long-term goal of this partnership is to establish an operational forecasting system of the wind field and resulting waves and surge impacting the coastline during the approach and landfall of tropical cyclones. The results of this forecasting system will provide real-time information and predictions of up to five days to the National Hurricane Center during the tropical cyclone season in the Atlantic for establishing improved advisories for the general public and federal agencies including military and civil emergency response teams. The feasibility of such a forecast system has been demonstrated with a test case of “Hurricane Georges.” Over the past decade individual modules comprising the forecasting system have been developed and independently tested for years and are now ready to be coupled in a complete forecasting system. This proposal is to establish a “node” to develop an integrative coastal model for storm wind, wave, and surge predictions. The goal for the first year is to implement and fully test the forecasting system to ensure data flow and computational efficiency. Goals for years two and three are for the testing of a prototype in a semi-operational phase. Output during this period, subject to evaluation and assessment, may be provided on a contingency basis. Full operational capability is the goal for the fourth and fifth years. The timeliness and value of the deterministic and probabilistic products are evaluated during the entire hurricane season.

Number of Years: 5

Partners:

  • University of Miami – Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
  • University of Florida – Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering
  • University of Central Florida
  • The Johns Hopkins University – Applied Physics Laboratory
  • US Army – Corps of Engineers
  • NOAA – Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
  • NOAA – National Weather Service
  • Oceanweather, Inc.
  • International Business Machines, Inc.
  • Gigantic Computer Services, Inc.
  • NASA – The John F. Kennedy Space Center
  • National Hurricane Center
  • The US Southern Command
  • US Navy – Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Facility
  • Florida State Emergency Managers

FY 2003 PI Report
FY 2004 PI Report
FY 2005 PI Report 
FY 2006 PI Report


RENEWAL OF EXISTING NOPP PROJECTS

A Renewal of the Ocean-Systems for Chemical, Optical, and Physical Experiments (O-SCOPE) Program

Lead PI: Tommy D. Dickey, University of California at Santa Barbara

The Ocean-Systems for Chemical, Optical, and Physical Experiments (O-SCOPE) project addresses the need for next-generation, autonomous, near real-time, nearly continuous, long-term, time-series measurements in critical regions of the world ocean. The program’s overall objective is to improve the variety, quantity, quality, and cost-effectiveness of observations in anticipation of a global ocean observing network of strategically placed moorings and other ocean platforms. Benefits of O-SCOPE include the development of technologies that can be used to quantify seasonal, inter-annual, and decadal changes in upper ocean biogeochemical, bio-optical, and physical variables. These variables bear on understanding and predicting global climate change and its impacts on ocean chemistry and ecology. Considerable progress and several breakthroughs have been made thus far, with some sensors already utilized in other NOPP projects and being commercialized. The present O-SCOPE proposal requests funding for an additional year to fulfill some of its objectives involving sensor evaluations, data analyses, data synthesis, and preparation of publications. The National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) initially sponsored the O-SCOPE project beginning August 13, 1998 for a period of two years.

Number of Years: 1

Partners:

  • University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Inc.
  • University of South Florida
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium for Research Institute
  • NOAA – Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
  • WET Labs, Inc.
  • NOAA – Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

For more information on this project, click here.


Renewal of South Atlantic Bight Synoptic Offshore Observational Network (SABSOON)

Lead PI: Dr. James R. Nelson, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography

The South Atlantic Bight Synoptic Offshore Observational Network (SABSOON) is a real-time coastal ocean observing system located on the US Southeastern continental shelf. Offshore towers that are part of a flight training facility for the US Navy have been equipped with oceanographic and meteorological instruments. On several platforms, the Navy has provided access to existing power and high-bandwidth communications systems. Instrument, data acquisition and communications systems have been designed, installed, and tested in extended operation. Two-way, real-time communications (T1 bandwidth) has been established. Instrument systems are operational at two locations (about 50 and 70 km offshore, 26 and 33 m depth) has been established. Installations of power, communications and instrument systems at a third location (about 90 km offshore, 45 m depth) are underway. Artificial reef structures and an underwater video system were also deployed for fisheries studies. The network accommodates additional sensors and access to real-time communications by other researchers. A prototype data assimilative, nowcast/forecast model for the region was developed during the initial funding. This will provide one component for a coupled ocean/atmosphere forecasting model presently being developed in a separate NOPP project that will utilize the SABSOON observations in a data assimilative mode. This renewal proposal allows further system development, maintenance of continued operation in support of the NOPP modeling program, and a transition of the program to an operational status.

Number of Years: 3

Partners:

  • Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
  • US Navy – Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System
  • University of North Carolina – Department of Marine Sciences
  • NOAA – Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
  • South Carolina Marine Resources Research Institute

FY 2002 PI Report
FY 2003 PI Report


Completion and Field Demonstration of a Portable Coastal Observatory

Lead PI: Daniel E. Frye, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The goal of the original funded NOPP proposal, “Low Cost Modular Telemetry for Coastal Time Series Data,” was to develop an affordable, easy to use technology for the real time collection and dissemination of data from instruments deployed in the coastal ocean. The observing system that has been developed consists of four elements: a low-cost acoustic data link that transfers data from instruments on the bottom or in the water column to a nearby surface buoy; a lightweight, easy to deploy surface buoy (and mooring); a radio-frequency modem to send data to shore; and a web-based automatic data distribution system. The system was deployed in Massachusetts Bay for four extended periods during the initial NOPP effort utilizing a Utility Acoustic Model for the acoustic link during development of the low-cost transmitter. The mechanical components of the system performed extremely well. However, the performance of the acoustic link was not as robust as expected. Modifications to the telemetry scheme have been made to improve data transmission, and the low-cost transmitters are completed.

The new technology is currently undergoing full implementation and evaluation for routine use in the field. The tasks are to test and demonstrate the low-cost acoustic modems, to utilize the modems in a multiple instrument array as originally envisioned for a coastal observatory, and to complete the development of the automated data distribution and display system. Based on the experience to date, there is optimism that this additional testing will result in a demonstrated capability for reliable, real time collection and delivery of data from instruments deployed in the coastal ocean to researchers, regulators or the general public over the Internet.

The technology of the portable coastal observatory has the potential to enable real time, in situ measurement systems to become standard operational tools for a wide range of applications including coastal zone and regulatory monitoring, naval observations, and scientific investigations. The capability to make widely distributed observations at reasonable cost is essential for ocean forecasting, process studies, naval operations, and long-term monitoring. His distributed communications technology complements the intensive , localized observations made using coastal observatories that are linked to shore via cable. This project is a focused effort to demonstrate technology that has the potential to allow implementation of a distributed ocean measurement system at a modest cost.

Number of Years: 1

Partners:

  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • US Geological Survey
  • RD Instruments, Inc.
  • Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
  • US Coast Guard

FY 2002 PI Report


Ocean Acoustic Observatory Federation – Renewal

Lead PI: Catherine de Groot-Hedlin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The field of ocean acoustics has evolved (largely as a result of ONR support) to the point that acoustic signals from volcanoes, earthquakes, and slumping are an effective means of investigating these geological and geophysical phenomena remotely. However, we are not anywhere near the limits of exploiting the information inherent in acoustic signals from these processes. The renewal period has two main objectives: first, to extend the progress made during the past two years on the excitation of ocean acoustic phases (T-waves) by sub-seafloor earthquakes and volcanoes; and second, to continue data collection and analysis of hydroacoustic data, specifically to monitor earthquakes and volcanoes in the North Pacific. The complementary approaches are combined to understand the excitation and propagation of T-waves that have been developed at SIO and UW/APL, to predict amplitude and travel times arriving at a hydrophone. This will open up many new opportunities for research into oceanic earthquakes and volcanic activity, including the development of improved source location estimates, and determination of fault type based on T-wave arrivals. Efforts involve the development of new numerical methods which will be made available for wide user access.

Number of Years: 1

Partners:

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • University of Washington – APL
  • NOAA-PMEL
  • Oregon State University

Oceanographic and Fisheries Data Collection and Telemetry from Commercial Fishing Vessels

Lead PI: Ann Bucklin, New Hampshire Sea Grant Program

FleetLink, a partnership comprising oceanographers, engineers, private entrepreneurs, commercial fish harvesters, and federal agency representatives, has worked since 1998 to develop a system to collect, telemeter, manage, and distribute high-quality, synoptic environmental (hydrographic, meteorological, and fisheries) data from commercial fishing vessels. Three FleetLink sensor systems have been produced and installed on fishing vessels from Maine to Massachusetts. During field demonstrations over the past six months, ocean and weather data have been collected, telemetered to shore-based servers, and integrated into the US GLOBEC database (an internet-accessible, distributed data management system). In addition, confidential fisheries catch data have been exchanged between vessels and their cooperatives, in order to improve fishing and product marketing practices. The significance of this project lies both in technical functions, aimed at uniting distinct constituencies into functional partnerships for data collection and information exchange. Having surmounted the technical challenges associated with producing, installing, and demonstrating integrated sensor systems, the field demonstration phase is extended and the FleetLink partnership is expanded by identifying additional data users and customers. The FleetLink concept – based on the use of commercial fishing vessels as flexible, adaptable, and cost-effective ocean observing platforms – can be expanded from this pilot phase to become a useful element in long-term monitoring and research efforts needed for implementation of an Integrated Ocean Observing System.

Number of Years: 1

Partners:

  • New Hampshire Sea Grant
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Clearwater Instrumentation, Inc.
  • NOAA – Fisheries Northeast Science Center
  • Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance

For more information on this project, click here

FY 2002 PI Report


Innovative Coastal-Ocean Observing Network (ICON) Renewal

Lead PI: Jeffrey D. Paduan, Naval Postgraduate School

Research and development partners from around Monterey Bay and the country have cooperated to deploy a coastal-ocean observing network designed to track critical upwelling circulation patterns. The in-water and remote sensing instrumentation has been combined with a high resolution, nested model of the coastal circulation as part of the NOPP/ICON project. Extensive observations were collected during the two-year project duration. At the same time, a large number of year-long model case studies have been conducted to assess the impact of various model forcing, nesting, and data assimilation alternatives. The current effort focuses on publication of results from the ICON project, with particular attention given to the model-data comparisons and data assimilation studies.

Number of Years:
1

Partners:

  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • University of Michigan
  • California State University Monterey Bay
  • University of Southern Mississippi
  • Naval Research Laboratory
  • HOBI Labs
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Codar Ocean Sensors

For more information on this project, click here.

FY 2002 PI Report