In September NOAA announced through its Office of Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) 11 new five-year cooperative agreements that support the continued growth, expansion, and modernization of our nation’s climate, coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes observing capabilities. In the first year, $41 million will be distributed to cover efforts along U.S. national and territorial waters and coasts.
“More than 40% of the U.S. population lives along the coast, and even more rely on the ocean, coast, and Great Lakes for their livelihoods, weather, and services every day,” said Carl C. Gouldman, director, U.S. IOOS Office. “The IOOS Regional Associations link on-the-ground needs to our national system, ensuring its flexibility, responsiveness, and diversity while coordinating a network of regional coastal observing systems.”
The Regional Associations are federally certified to gather and manage high-quality observing data through diverse groups—including state, local, and tribal governments, national partners, academia, and local networks—a voice in shaping a responsive and flexible national observing system. This network is customized to meet regional needs that help us understand and forecast changes in our ocean and climate, prepare for and respond to coastal disasters, and balance the needs of resource use, economic development, and environmental stewardship.
One of the eleven groups is the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS). Their new funding will support: water quality monitoring for biological parameters, including harmful algal blooms; uncrewed glider operations to enhance hurricane modeling and forecasting to protect communities; and enhance high-frequency radar coverage. Their first year award is $4,294,944.
The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System is the only certified regional association focused solely on the Gulf, where it provides timely, reliable, accurate and on-demand information on the open ocean and coastal ocean waters.
GCOOS coordinates information gathered by federal, state and private partners running nearly 2,000 sensors in coastal waters to the deep ocean. They ensure that all data is timely, reliable, accurate and available to everyone — from weather forecasters to Coast Guard first responders — to ensure a healthy, productive ocean and resilient coastal communities for the Gulf’s 14 million residents and the $234 billion annual economic benefit it provides to the U.S. economy
GCOOS operates in support of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida communities, helping to ensure a healthy, clean, productive ocean and resilient coastal zone.
Photo courtesy of NOAA