Effective ecosystem management depends on increasing the speed and accuracy of detecting changes in key variables within the ecosystem and on reducing the uncertainty of predictions that such changes will occur.
This requires both improved models of ecosystem dynamics, and more rapid detection of changes in the variables needed for models. The emergence of integrated ocean and coastal observing systems is helping fulfill these needs through,
- The establishment of new platforms and sensors that deliver near-real time observations of physical, biological, and chemical parameters; and
- The integration of the wide range of monitoring programs and modeling efforts targeting coastal and ocean waters.
In October 2000, the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) established Ocean.US, an interagency program office charged with integrating existing and planned ocean observing systems to establish a national Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The purpose of the IOOS is to make more effective use of existing resources, new knowledge and advances in technology to provide the data and information required to achieve seven major societal goals:
- Improve predictions of climate change and its effects on coastal populations
- Mitigate more effectively the effects of natural hazards
- Improve the safety and efficiency of marine operations
- Improve national security
- Reduce public health risks
- More effectively protect and restore healthy coastal marine ecosystems
- Sustain living marine resources.
The IOOS will develop as two interdependent components, a global oceanic component and a national coastal component. The global component of the IOOS is part of an international partnership to develop a global system (the Global Ocean Observing System, GOOS) designed to improve weather forecasts and climate predictions. The coastal component is a national effort concerned with the effects of the ocean-climate system and human activities on coastal ecosystems, living resources, and the quality of life in the coastal zone. This component is conceived as a federation of regional observing systems nested in a federally supported national backbone of observations, data management, and modeling. Regional observing systems (see below) will both contribute to and benefit from the national backbone and enhance the national backbone based on regional priorities.
GOOS The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) is an international program for observations, modelling and analysis of marine and ocean variables to support operational ocean services worldwide. The main elements are the sustained collection of ocean observations and the timely distribution of those data and derived products, including analyses, forecasts, and assessments.
The Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association
The SECOORA provides current information and resources for Coastal Ocean Observation System (COOS) providers and users throughout the southeastern U.S. The SAFMC supports the SECOORA effort and has participated in preliminary association development meetings.
SEACOOS The SouthEast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (SEACOOS) is a multi-institution collaboration serving to develop a regional coastal ocean observing system for the southeastern United States (NC, SC, GA, FL). SEACOOS, which comprises subsystems of observing, modeling, data management, and extension and education activities, seeks to significantly increase the quantity and quality of environmental information from the coastal ocean and facilitate its use in a wide range of societal, scientific, and educational applications. The founding institutions are research universities within the region (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of South Carolina, the University of Miami, and Skidaway Oceanographic Institution), and expanding membership includes a range of state and federal agencies as well as private sector interests. SEACOOS is funded by the Office of Naval Research.
EFSIS The East Florida Shelf Information System (EFSIS) of the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science is a regional partner under SEACOOS (South East Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System).
COMPS The Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPS) provides additional data needed for a variety of management issues, including more accurate predictions of coastal flooding by storm surge, safety and efficiency of marine navigation, search and rescue efforts, and fisheries management, as well as supporting basic research programs.
COMPS consists of an array of instrumentation both along the coast and offshore, combined with numerical circulation models, and builds upon existing in-situ measurements and modeling programs funded by various state and federal agencies. In addition, COMPS links to the USF Remote Sensing Laboratory, which collects real-time satellite imagery via its HRPT and X-Band receivers. This observing system fulfills all of the requirements of the Coastal Module of the Global Ocean Observing System (CMGOOS).
Data and model products are disseminated in real-time to federal, state, and local emergency management officials via the internet. COMPS is designed to support a variety of operational and research efforts, including storm surge prediction, environmental protection, coastal erosion and sediment transport, red tide research (ECOHAB - Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms), and hyperspectral satellite remote sensing of coastal ocean dynamics (HYCODE). A precedent for this system already exists in the form of the Tampa Bay PORTS - itself a first for monitoring estuaries.
Presentation on potential pilot projects, SEACOOS Workshop, July 25-26, 2005. Defining SEACOOS Case Studies – Highlighting Ocean Observing Systems Role in Support of Fisheries Management Evolution to Ecosystem-Based Management.
Caro-COOPS The Carolinas Coastal Ocean Observing and Prediction System (Caro-COOPS) is based upon an instrumented array of coastal and offshore moorings, which are being deployed off of the coast of the Carolinas. The information from this observing system will be used to monitor and model estuarine and coastal ocean conditions, as well as develop predictive tools and ultimately forecasts for coastal managers. Caro-COOPS is a partnership among the University of South Carolina, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. It is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
SABSOON The South Atlantic Bight Synoptic Offshore Observational Network (SABSOON) is a real-time observational network off the U.S. Southeastern continental shelf. Eight large offshore platforms, currently operated by the U.S. Navy for flight training, have been instrumented to provide a range of large-scale synoptic oceanographic and meteorological observations in real-time, thus allowing the development of an interannual to decadal database on ocean-atmosphere interactions. As designed, the network is capable of providing important information on cross-shelf exchange, storm effects, and atmospheric transport. Real-time video observations of an artificial reef habitat provide information for fisheries management and research. SABSOON partners are the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, University of North Carolina, University of Georgia, SE TACTS, NOAA, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and EPA.
CORMP The Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program (CORMP) at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) is a research and monitoring program designed to provide an interdisciplinary science-based framework that supports sound public policy leading to wise coastal use, sustainable fisheries and improved coastal ocean ecosystem health.
The primary goals of CORMP are: to establish a regional observing network providing observations of oceanographic core variables in near real-time; to provide operationally useful information on the state of living marine resources based on user defined need; to develop and implement a permanent data management and delivery system; and to establish partnerships and to provide products and programs that meet identified and anticipated needs of regional data user-groups.
CORMP partners include the University of South Carolina, North Carolina State University, the National Weather Service, and the USMC at Camp Lejeune, NC. It is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.