South Atlantic Bight Synoptic Offshore Observational Network

Lead P.I.: Harvey Seim, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (The grant was awarded when Dr. Seim was with the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (SkIO). SkIO therefore remains the lead institution.)

A real-time observational network on the U.S. Southeastern continental shelf is being developed. Eight large offshore platforms, currently operated by the U.S. Navy for flight observations, are being instrumented to provide a range of oceanographic and meteorological observations on a continuous, real-time basis. The tower grid covers an area of 115 km X 50 km and a depth of 25 m to 45 m. An existing communications network allows high bandwidth, real-time data transmission to shore. Real-time and archived data are made available via the world wide web. The network observations provide important information on cross-shelf exchange, storm effects, and atmospheric transport, and contribute to regional fisheries management. The network is being designed to facilitate additions of instrumentation and access to the communications system by other researchers. This unique observational network represents a significant resource for the oceanographic community, providing synoptic observations of larger scale oceanographic processes in a continental shelf setting in real-time, and allowing the development of an interannual to decadal database on ocean-atmosphere interactions.

For more information on this project, click here.


  • Skidaway Institute of Oceanography – Day-to-day study coordination; instrumentation, installation, data analysis, archiving and distribution of in situ data. Science topics: cross-shelf exchange, storm effects, plankton biology, bio-optical variability, and atmospheric nutrient transport.
  • University of Georgia, Department of Marine Sciences – Photochemistry and microbial utilization of dissolved organic matter.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Overall study coodination; air-sea interact., numerical modeling.
  • NOAA personnel of the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary – Diving support.
  • SE TACTS – Tower and communications maintenance, helicopter service.
  • South Carolina Department of Natural Resources – Fisheries’ life history and behavior.
  • U.S. EPA (Athens, GA) – Photochemistry.

Ocean Acoustic Observatory Federation

Lead P.I.: John A. Orcutt, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The discovery of the oceanic sound channel more than fifty years ago led to the construction of a large suite of acoustic SOSUS arrays. The arrays worked so well that it was largely unnecessary to investigate the limits of ocean acoustics to sense ocean phenomena. We are not anywhere near the limits of what can be done with underwater acoustics and the key to exploiting these capabilities is to work with and not against the ocean environment. At a time when the operational surveillance systems are being disbanded under severe budget pressure, this study is establishing and maintaining a sparse network of acoustic receivers and sources with data available for research. These observatories serve a dual purpose: one is to capitalize on their proven potential as an oceanographic and geophysical observatory; the other is to maintain the momentum towards unveiling the ultimate limits to underwater surveillance. The two goals are very closely related. The field of ocean acoustics has evolved to where the detection of things in the sea, be they submarines, volcanoes, earthquakes, slumping, whales and other mammals, near-surface processes, or global warming, is tantamount to studying the sea itself.


  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography – Study coordination; outfitting of additional retired SOSUS stations; research in Pacific basin earthquake and volcano seismicity; monitoring of whale behavior near ATOC source in Kauai with portable stations; archiving Pacific SOSUS data; integration of SOSUS and satellite data.
  • University of Washington / Applied Physics Lab – Outfitting of additional retired SOSUS stations, research in Pacific ocean basin phenomenology using SOSUS, ATOC source monitoring in Kauai, integration of SOSUS and satellite data.
  • Naval Postgraduate School Ocean Acoustic Laboratory – Operation of the NPS ocean acoustic observatory, ocean margin tomography.
  • NOAA / Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory – Real-time monitoring of NE Pacific marine mammals, integration of SOSUS and satellite data, use of portable stations in monitoring, ocean margin tomography.

Oceanographic and Fisheries Data Collection and Telemetry from Commercial Fishing Vessels

Lead P.I.: Ann Bucklin, University of New Hampshire

This partnership between oceanographers, engineers, private entrepreneurs, commercial fish harvesters, and federal agency representatives is developing a system to collect, telemeter, analyze, assimilate, and distribute high-quality, synoptic environmental (hydrography, meteorology, biology) data from the coastal ocean. The data is being integrated into the U.S. GLOBEC database, which is a distributed data management system with open access via the Internet. In addition, assessments of fish stocks and proprietary fisheries catch data are collected and distributed to some partners, and incorporated into some data sets, as appropriate. The goal is to create shared, real-time data management systems that may be used by any individual, program, or agency for a wide variety of purposes: research, education, assessment, management, marketing, regulation, modeling, and/or prediction. The significance of this study lies both in the integrative functions, aimed at uniting these distinct constituencies into functional partnerships for data collection and information exchange, and in the technical functions, aimed at producing an integrated sensor system for deployment on commercial fishing vessels.


  • Alphatron Manufacturing – Onboard sensor system design; fabrication, installation, and evaluation of prototype systems.
  • Clearwater Instrumentation, Inc. – Design of portable sensor system; integration of sensors.
  • Portland Fish Exchange – Shore-based data distribution; placement of a data server; use of telemetered data in marketing.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant Program – Onboard sensor system; software customization.
  • University of New Hampshire Sea Grant – Program coordination; partnership building with coastal resource agencies; outreach to commercial fishermen; placement of data server; Portland fishing vessel demonstration.
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – Coordination with ocean research community; consultant for software customization; data telemetry; data management and distribution.
  • NOAA / National Marine Fisheries Service – Coordination with environmental assessment and vessel monitoring activities.

Demonstration of a Relocatable Regional Ocean-Atmosphere Modeling System with Coastal Autonomous Sampling Networks

Lead P.I.: Scott M. Glenn, Rutgers University

This study involves technical enhancement and initial transitioning of the ONR/NSF/NOAA/NOPP-supported Coastal Ocean Modeling and Observing Program (COMOP) forecasting system developed at the LEO-15 National Littoral Laboratory. COMOP goals include demonstration and improvement of coastal ocean forecast models via assimilation and adaptive acquisition of ship-towed and AUV-based subsurface data sets beneath more spatially extensive surface satellite and radar observation. This research seeks to understand and improve boundary condition controls on the COMOP forecast system (a) at the surface, by inclusion of high-resolution atmospheric predictions verified by new HF-Radar algorithms; (b) at the bottom, by incorporation of a Bottom Boundary Layer Model verified with high-resolution, AUV-based surveys of bottom stress; and (c) offshore, by optimal estimation of lateral boundary conditions verified by AUV Gliders patrolling at midshelf.

For more information on this project, click here.


  • CODAR Ocean Sensors – Development of radar adaptive resolution algorithms for field program.
  • RD Instruments – Development of multi-mode ADCP systems for REMUS to support field program.
  • Webb Research Corporation – Integration of fluorometer and support of field program with two WRC Glider AUVs.
  • Rutgers University – Study coordinator, shared shiptime and housing; ROAMS submodels and forecasts during 1999 Coastal Predictive Skill Experiment.
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) – Integration of fluorometer and multi-mode ADCPs into REMUS AUVs; support of field program with 3 WHOI REMUS Survey AUVs and 1 docking station.
  • Naval Undersea Warfare Center – Multi-mode ADCP and support of field program with one NUWC REMUS micro-structure AUV.
  • United States Geological Survey / Woods Hole Field Center (USGS) – Relocation of ROAMS to ECOHAB-GOM region and test with 1998 Source Dynamics Experiment data.

FY 2002 PI Report

The Prediction of Wind-Driven Coastal Circulation

Lead P.I.: John Allen and Jack Barth, Oregon State University

The goal of this study is the development of nowcast and forecast systems for wind-driven coastal ocean flow fields. This study includes combined modeling and data assimilation efforts and a closely coordinated observational program off Oregon built around deployment of the existing OSU Coastal Radar System. The major focus is on wind-driven mesoscale processes (2-50 km) as influenced by the temporal and spatial variability of the atmospheric forcing, by spatial variability of the continental margin, and by internal mixing. Time scales for these mesoscale processes are generally in the 2-10 day band. Mesoscale variability typically involves the most energetic motion over the shelf and includes the physical processes associated with alongshore coastal jets, upwelling and downwelling fronts, and eddies. The partnership involves modelers, data assimilation experts and observationalists from Oregon State University, fisheries’ scientists from NOAA NMFS Newport, radar specialists from NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory Boulder, and industrial partners using satellite (Ocean Imaging) and radar (CODAR Ocean Sensors) remote sensing techniques.


  • CODAR Ocean Sensors, Ltd. – Development of radar technology for measuring ocean surface currents.
  • Ocean Imaging Corporation – Satellite imagery (AVHRR, SAR); coordination of observations from fishing vessels.
  • Oregon State University – Study coordination; data assimilating ocean and atmosphere model development; hydrographic velocity and microstructure surveys; moorings; radar-derived surface currents.
  • NOAA / Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETD) – Wind profiles; radar derived surface currents.
  • NOAA / National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS, Newport laboratory) – Long-term hydrography; nutrient, phyto- and zooplankton biomass estimates.

Coastal Marine Demonstration of Forecast Information to Mariners for the U.S. East Coast

Lead P.I.: Leonard Walstad, University of Maryland, Horn Point Laboratory

This study has been established to demonstrate the capability of providing coastal marine environmental information to a selected group of marine customers. The study is essentially a demonstration to showcase the current state-of-the-art in coastal marine forecasting. It integrates new nowcast and forecast products and new methods to disseminate and display coastal environmental information. The integrated system that is demonstrated employs existing operational and experimental ocean circulation models including NOAA’s Coastal Ocean Forecast System (COFS) and the Chesapeake Area Forecast Experiment (CAFE) system.


  • Weather Services International – High resolution products, user-friendly displays, dissemination methods, user interface, multiple data stream integration and implementation.
  • TASC, Inc. – Study Coordinator, System Engineering/System Integration and project management support, architecture/communications options, end-user support and implementation with WSI. Evaluation, development, implementation, and reporting.
  • Commercial Fisheries, Sealand Corporation, AT&T Long Lines, Maryland Pilots, Virginia Pilots – Evaluation of products and feedback for requirements.
  • Princeton University – COFS data assimilation and error analyses.
  • Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies – Assistance in developing evaluation tools and graphical user interface, evaluation of products, feedback for requirements.
  • University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science – CAFE data assimilation, COFS/CAFE coupling, wave data analysis and wave model evaluation.
  • University of Rhode Island – COFS Gulf Stream data assimilation.
  • National Ocean Service, Coastal Services Center – Ocean feature analysis and model product evaluation, evaluation of products for Coastal Zone Management.
  • National Weather Service / National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Environmental Modeling Center – COFS operational data assimilation; OTIS utilization.
  • National Weather Service / National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Marine Prediction Center – Quality control/evaluation of model output and observations.
  • National Weather Service, Weather Forecast Offices – Forecast guidance and model evaluation, LAPS implementation, integration of CMD product suite into NWS forecast operations.
  • NOAA / Coast Survey Development Laboratory – CAFE operations, CAFE 3D development, CAFE data assimilation, LAPS development.
  • NOAA / Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research / Air Resources Laboratory – Test and implementation of LAPS high resolution forecast model.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Operations Center – Evaluation of products, feedback for requirements.
  • USN, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command – Development of forecast discussion, evaluation of products and requirements.
  • USN, Naval Research Laboratory (Stennis Space Center) – Generation of synthetic profiles of temperature and salinity from altimeter data of COFS.
  • USN / COMNAVSURFLANT (ship) – Evaluation of products.
  • USN, Office of Naval Deputy to NOAA – Study management and coordination.

A Near-Real-Time, High-Resolution, Ocean-Surface-Current Mapping System

Lead P.I.: Thomas M. Georges, Environmental Technology Laboratory and Jack Harlan, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The purpose of the study is to develop and demonstrate a new technology for mapping surface currents in near real time, with high resolution, over very large ocean areas – a capability that does not now exist. The new technology exploits the largely untapped potential of two existing high-frequency over-the-horizon (OTH) radars, which are operated by the U.S. Navy for the Defense Department’s counter-drug surveillance program. By virtue of their surveillance mission, the operational OTH radars happen to cover a semi-enclosed sea of considerable economic and environmental importance to the U.S., Mexico, and numerous Caribbean nations. Ocean-current data can be acquired in “piggyback” fashion, with no radar modifications. Only minimal demands on radar time and appropriate software for mapping the currents are required.


  • Raytheon Electronic Systems – Acquisition of radar data and optimize current mapping.
  • University of Colorado – Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research – Interpretation and integration of satellite altimetry (sea-surface height).
  • NOAA / Environmental Technology Laboratory – Coordinator, development of current-mapping algorithms, interpretation and dissemination of data on the Web.
  • U.S. Navy Fleet Surveillance Support Command – Access to ROTHR radars.