July 2023

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Greetings from GCOOS!


We’ve recently had the pleasure of attending two meetings focused on the Gulf of Mexico: the Gulf of Mexico All Hands Conference in Austin and a NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team meeting at Texas A&M University (TAMU) in College Station.

All-hands was a great meeting hosted by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) that had more than 450 attendees — including me and GCOOS co-data managers Felimon Gayanilo and Bob Currier — and we had the opportunity to spend several days talking about everything from sea level rise to state-level water needs and fisheries data, and make new connections focused on ocean observing in the Gulf.

The Regional Collaboration Team (RCT) is a dynamic group representing NOAA federal programs such as Sea Grant and the National Weather Service and non-federal partners like GCOOS and TAMU’s Department of Oceanography. During the meeting, we showcased GCOOS ocean observing capabilities, including our glider and High Frequency Radar (HFR) programs and piloting dashboard, GANDALF, ocean acidification network (GCAN), and our initial work on developing a coastal climate services framework. We also had the opportunity to connect with the team to set priorities and milestones for FY2024.

While we’ve been busy traveling around Texas, it has fortunately been quiet on the hurricane front, though with Gulf temperatures so warm, it’s not too much of a surprise that Colorado State University has recently revised its forecast. They’re now calling for an above-average hurricane season (although with a larger than normal uncertainty).

The revised forecast reinforces the importance of collecting real-time and near-real-time data about the Gulf of Mexico that in-turn allows GCOOS, its PIs and members to develop products that protect lives and economies along the Gulf coast. (See one of those products in this month’s Member Spotlight below.)

It also reinforces the importance of NOAA’s recently announced $60 million funding opportunity to create a climate resilience accelerator program. As the climate continues to warm over time, ocean observing data will only grow in importance and developing key infrastructure now will help our communities weather the changes.

Until next month,

News from HQ

Save the Date: GCOOS Fall Meeting

We've set the date for the GCOOS Fall Members Meeting, so be sure to mark your calendar for 1-5 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Oct. 10! The meeting will be virtual.

Please help to spread the word by sharing the news with your Gulf colleagues!

Member Spotlight

University of Miami’s Upper Ocean Dynamics Laboratory

The sea surface is a critical link that couples oceanic and atmospheric processes for both weather and climate events. The University of Miami’s Upper Ocean Dynamics Laboratory for the Gulf of Mexico has been developing a suite of daily ocean heat content (OHC) products based on satellite-derived Sea Surface Temperature (SST) and Sea Surface Height Anomaly (SSHA) measurements since 1998. These data, used by forecasters and modelers, help reduce forecast intensity errors by as much as 22 percent.


Studies have shown that understanding sources and sinks of OHC (relative to thef 26 C isotherm) in front of hurricanes is important to intensity forecasting. This daily product suite resolves the Loop Current (LC) complex that includes both warm and cold core eddies and is central to understanding physical processes and the linkage to the Intra-Americas Seas (IAS) and fisheries oceanography.


  • Click here for the most recent Gulf of Mexico image


Sources of high OHC also have provided additional thermal energy to hurricanes observed over the past two decades during intensification — examples include Lili, Katrina, Rita, Ivan, Ike, Laura, Ida, Michael and Ian. In regimes associated with the LC complex, the depth of the 26 C isotherm tends to be three-to-four times deeper compared to the background Gulf common water. Mixing and cooling tend to be minimized and, instead, the ocean is providing more heat.


Based on this rationale, it’s important to deploy ocean sensor packages capable of measuring levels of ocean mixing induced by currents and their shear.


In support of the Gulf of Mexico Marine Research Initiative (GoMRI), a float was developed using the APEX-ElectroMagnetic (EM) platform that is capable of measuring both physical and biophysical structure simultaneously. EM sensors allow measurement of ocean current as deep as 2000 m. The Upper Ocean Dynamics Laboratory combines these physical profile data directly to the SSHA and SST variability. The synergism of the various sensing devices allows even higher-resolution OHC variations for use in basic and applied research as well as operational forecasting for weather and climate events.



Dr. Lynn. K. (Nick) Shay is a GCOOS Board Member and Associate Dean and Professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (UM-RSMAS) and directs the Upper Ocean Dynamics Laboratory 


Dr. Benjamin Jaimes de la Cruz, is an Associate Scientist in the Department of Ocean Sciences, UM-RSMAS

This data visualization shows the APEX-EM float and measurements of currents and vertical shear during the rapid intensification of Hurricane Michael in 2018. Video provided by the Upper Ocean Dynamics Laboratory for the Gulf of Mexico at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science.

Data Spotlight

More BSEE/NTL Data Now Available

GCOOS continues adding new data collected by the energy industry under the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), Notice to Lessees and Operators (NTL) to our portal. Currently, 42 stations are sending data to the BSEE/NTL repository managed and hosted by GCOOS. There are a total of 142 stations (buoys, platforms, mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs)) registered by 13 organizations.

Data from Beacon Offshore Energy is the newest addition with the activation of data from the Deepwater Atlas. BP’s Mad Dog Spar has also submitted an update as they replaced their ADCPs and associated sensors in June.

Other new platforms added to the repository in the first half of 2023 include:

Long-Term Change

Study Quantifies a Warming Gulf

A recent study published in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate shows that the Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperature (SST) increased by approximately 1 C (1.8 F) between 1970 and 2020 — equivalent to a warming rate of approximately 0.19 C (0.34 F) per decade. That means that the SST of the Gulf of Mexico warmed at twice the rate of warming in the global ocean.

To estimate the change in the study “Upper-Oceanic Warming in the Gulf of Mexico between 1950 and 2020,” the study’s authors — including co-author and GCOOS Board Member Dr. Patrick Hogan — analyzed 192,890 temperature profiles collected between 1950–2020 (publicly available in the World Ocean Database) via gliders, Argo floats and CTDs (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth), which provided a snapshot of oceanographic conditions over multiple depths at single time and location.

The study’s authors, from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI), a NOAA Cooperative Institute, write that these changes could cause a series of environmental issues — including more stratification, acidification, hypoxia and more intense hurricanes causing loss of wetlands and damage to coastal communities.

  • Study Citation & link: Wang, Z., T. Boyer, J. Reagan, and P. Hogan, 2023: Upper-Oceanic Warming in the Gulf of Mexico between 1950 and 2020. J. Climate,  36, 2721–2734,  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-22-0409.1.

Temperature profiles’ spatial distribution for every five-year period between 1951 to 2020. The color shows different measurement types. Some data points may not be shown due to data overlap.

Changing Climate is Changing Ocean Color

A new study published in the journal Nature shows that the changing climate is also changing the color of our oceans — making them greener over the past 20 years. The color change could indicate an increase in detritus or a change in the makeup of the plankton community. Because light is a key driver of phytoplankton communities, any change in the light environment — whether due to changes in optical constituents or light availability entering the ocean — will lead to a change in the surface-ocean ecosystem.

Funding Opportunity: Building Coastal Resiliency

NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management has $575 million available through the Inflation Reduction Act for collaborative projects that build the resilience of coastal communities to extreme weather (e.g., hurricanes and storm surge) and other impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and drought.

  • Letters of intent due Aug. 21
  • Learn more


In a related opportunity made possible through the Inflation Reduction Act, NOAA is also investing $60 million to build a climate-ready workforce. The next informational webinar is scheduled for July 20. Learn more about the funding opportunity and important dates here.

Marine Operations

August UG2 Webinar: Passive Acoustics

Mark your calendar for the next webinar in the Underwater Glider User Group (UG2) series, which will include UG2 updates and a main focus on passive acoustics.

  • 2-3:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, Aug. 3
  • Webinar link


Speakers and topics:

  • Archival and Near Real-Time Passive Acoustic Monitoring from Slocum Gliders Using the Digital Acoustic Monitoring (DMON) Instrument, Mark Baumgartner, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Piaquo Project: Detection and Location of Marine Mammals in the Pelagos Sanctuary using Four SeaExplorer Gliders, Laurent Beguery, Alseamar, Head of the SeaExplorer Survey Department


Not yet a member of UG2? Join now

Call for Topics: Oceans ’23

UG2 has been accepted to host a town hall meeting on Monday, Sept. 25, during the Oceans '23 Gulf Coast Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi, and is seeking suggestions for topics. Please email info@underwatergliders.org with suggestions.

Gulf Aquaculture Assessment Pilot Study is Complete

NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) has completed a pilot study assessing the potential for offshore aquaculture zones along Florida’s Gulf coast. NCCOS partnered with Florida’s Department of Agriculture to investigate coastal areas that might be suitable for offshore aquaculture and identified 34 potential zones between Pensacola and Sarasota.

  • Learn more and read the report

New Real-Time Buoy in Flower Garden Banks

The research team at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) has installed a new SO-FAR buoy at the East Bank, which is now providing real-time information on wave height, wind speed and temperatures from the surface and at the reef cap. Support for the buoy is provided by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and Dr. Xinping Hu, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and a member of GCOOS’s Gulf of Mexico Coastal Acidification Network (GCAN) science working group.

  • Current report from the buoy
  • More info on offshore conditions at the FGBNMS

Photo by Taylor Philip/CPC

Human Health and Safety

Help Track Sargassum Inundation

GCOOS, SECOORA and CARICOOS are teaming up with the University of South Florida’s Dr. Chuanmin Hu and colleagues to develop models that can support response and mitigation for sargassum inundation events in the Southeast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. They’re also working with the Marine Macroalgae Research Lab at Florida International University, coordinated by Lowell Iporac, which hosts the Sargassum Watch Epicollect 5 Citizen science project.

Through the project, they're asking citizens to report sightings of Sargassum landings in Florida and the Caribbean.

  • Read more about sargassum tracking efforts
  • To report sargassum sightings download the Epicollect5 app. Once on the Epicollect5 home page, go to "add project" then search for "Sargassum Watch" (or "Monitoreo de Sargassum") then follow the steps to fill out the form. (Don't forget to add data and photos.)
  • You can view collected data here  


Healthy Ecosystems & Living Resources

Best Practices for Data About the Ocean Floor

The Deep Ocean Observing Strategy and Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) have published new guidelines in Limnology Oceanography Letters that aim to standardize data about organisms on the ocean floor so it can be better collated on a global scale.

The goal is to develop a better understanding of the influence of natural variation, climate change and human activity on these organisms.

Sea spider (Collossendeidae) at 1,495 meters (4,905 feet). Photo by NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

Read more about the need for establishing the “Benthic Invertebrate Abundance and Distribution as a Global Ocean Observing System — Essential Ocean Variable.”

Furthering Development of MBON

Congratulations to Dr. Cara Estes who successfully defended her dissertation Time-Series Analysis of Coral Reef and Reef Fish Biodiversity in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Her research, conducted at the University of South Florida under the guidance of her Major Professor, Dr. Frank Muller-Karger, is an important step in advancing development of the U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network.

By analyzing coral data from the Coral Reef Evaluation and Monitoring Project (CREMP), and fisheries dependent (NOAA landings) and independent (Reef Visual Census/NOAA NCRMP-CRCP) data, she examined indices for coral reef health and resilience. She studied whether reef health patterns differed inside and outside protected areas along the Florida reef tract. Patch reefs had the highest percent coral cover compared to offshore shallow and deep sites. Her summary results on fish, coral and macroalgae cover, and how these are distributed in different habitats provide useful insight to managers.

Also successfully defending under Muller-Karger’s leadership was Dr. Savannah Hartman. Hartman’s dissertation Meta-Analysis of United States Seabird Populations Based on Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS) Records (1965–2018) provided detailed analyses of spatial and temporal trends in marine and shore-bird communities and their biodiversity.

Because of their broad distributions, seabirds are ideal candidates as indicators of ecosystem perturbations and long-term environmental trends. GCOOS Executive Director Dr. Jorge Brenner served as a dissertation committee member for this research. The works of Drs. Estes and Hartman are valuable contributions to the developing IOOS Marine Life Program.

Nutrient Reduction in Louisiana

Through its Gulf Hypoxia Program, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 directs funding to each of the 12 Hypoxia Task Force states. For Louisiana, this funding will help implement the state's Nutrient Reduction and Management Strategy through the application of agricultural best management practices (BMPs) in northeast Louisiana and transect monitoring on the coast.

Coastal Hazards

Targeting Marine Debris

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium is administering a new $1.9 million waste plastic program with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Marine Debris Challenge that will support a regional project to reduce marine microplastic along the Gulf Coast.

The project, being led by Dr. Shengwua Wu, University of South Alabama assistant professor of engineering, is one of 10 selected nationwide and will leverage resources in three states along the Gulf Coast, including 10 wastewater treatment facilities in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The project aims to measure microplastic concentration, improve microplastic understanding on the environment and enhance collaboration in reducing microplastics pollution.

Partner News

Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS)

GLOS Welcomes New CEO

Jennifer Boehme has been named new Chief Executive Officer for GLOS. Boehme has served on the GLOS board since 2015, as the chair since 2017 and currently works as an environmental scientist at the International Joint Commission (IJC). She has also served on the board of the International Association for Great Lakes Research and is the co-chair of the Association's IDEA+ Committee. She has worked at the IJC over the past over a decade to address Great Lakes water quality and pollution issues to protect human health, collaborating across borders, organizations, and agencies.

Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA)

Call for GOMCON 2024 Sessions

GOMA has opened a call for sessions for the 2024 Gulf of Mexico Conference (GOMCON 2024).

  • When: Feb. 19-22, 2024
  • Where: Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.


Sessions should establish dialogue, facilitate collaboration, and/or identify needs and gaps around the proposed area of interest. Organizers also encourage session proposals that promote the integration of science and management into decision-making.

  • View conference topics and their full descriptions and submit session suggestions here
  • Submission deadline: July 28, 2023
  • Meeting registration details available Aug. 1
  • Call for abstracts opens Sept. 1


Showcasing New Ocean Observing Tools

NOAA recently hosted members of the media at its Lakeland, Florida, Aircraft Operations Center to showcase some of the tools used to gather ocean observations and develop better hurricane models and forecasts. In addition to showcasing NOAA’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft and the sensors it carries, NOAA also showcased some of the new and emerging uncrewed systems it will be deploying including:

  • The Blackswift S0 is a smaller, more lightweight uncrewed aircraft system than NOAA has used in the past with sensors that measure temperature, pressure and humidity. NOAA will also test the use of other small uncrewed aircraft systems, working with Andruil – Altius 600 which was flown into the eye of Hurricane Ian last year, and Dragoon, which offers a land-launched small uncrewed aircraft system.)
  • Streamsondes, a new lightweight weather dropsonde developed by Skyfora.
  • Saildrones — NOAA will be deploying 12 this year in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf
  • Gliders
  • Read more about the event and NOAA’s deployment plans for hurricane season

Input Needed on Ocean Justice

The U.S. Ocean Policy Committee is seeking input as it develops the Ocean Justice Strategy — equitable and just practices to advance safety, health and prosperity for the country and communities residing near the ocean, coasts and Great Lakes. The Strategy will describe the vision, goals, and high-level objectives for coordinating and guiding ocean justice activities across the federal government. It may also serve as a reference for tribal, territorial, state, and local governments, regional management bodies, and non-governmental groups.

  • Deadline: July 24
  • Read the full notice and submit comments

The Water Institute

New Decision-Support Tool: Louisiana FloodID

The Water Institute and partners have developed a new user-friendly app called Louisiana FloodID to support a wide range of emergency management functions and decision makers in preparation of and in response to storms.

The Institute leveraged some of its existing technology — including MetGet and the Floodwater Simulation System — to create a sophisticated system that combines multiple meteorological datasets and numerical models to forecast coastal and compound flooding, as well as operational decision support tools for pre-, during, and post-storm conditions. The decision support tools found within FloodID include dashboards for search and rescue, roadway inundation, impacts to critical response infrastructure, and damage estimates.

Enhancing Benefits Evaluation for Water Resources Projects

The Water Institute was tasked with analyzing existing policies and providing guidance on improving federal practice around the country to better consider the economic, environmental and social benefits of nature infrastructure and nature-based solutions through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering With Nature® Initiative, which works toward better integration and alignment of traditional “grey” infrastructure approaches with nature-based infrastructure approaches.

The Capstone Report outlining the analysis of six case studies and providing recommendations for future action was released in June 2023.

For Students

Ocean Observing for Campers

GCOOS Volunteer Coordinator Grant Craig took ocean observing on the road during a presentation to high school students participating in the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute’s residential Seacamp in the Florida Keys.

During camp, the students learn to scuba dive and take classes such as shark biology, coral reef ecology and introduction to sailing. Craig introduced students to platforms and technologies used to collect physical and biological ocean data and taught them how data is used to create products and solutions that support coastal resiliency. They covered topics like hurricane intensity forecasts, red tide forecasts and information about ocean acidification.

“The students were very engaged and asked great questions about ocean observing relevant to things they had seen while diving and snorkeling,” Craig said. “It was really cool to connect the importance of ocean observing and data collection to the students’ field experience at Seacamp.”

  • For more lessons about ocean data and marine science, visit the GCOOS “Resources for Educators” page on our website.

NOAA Student Opportunities Database

Whether you have a K-high school student or are in college or are a post-doc, NOAA has a database that offers a listing of learning opportunities. The database includes one-day events, summer internships at NOAA, multi-year fellowships and more.

Science on a Sphere App Update

NOAA’s Science On a Sphere (SOS) team has released an update for the SOS Explorer™ (SOSx) mobile app, which lets anyone with a smartphone or tablet engage with NOAA Earth and space science data visualizations. The new release fixes bugs and features support for Chromebooks and access to the app in the Spanish and Chinese languages.

Jobs & Felllowships

GCOOS maintains a jobs listing for positions and fellowships in the ocean observing community. Want to advertise a position? Email Laura Caldwell.

View Details/Bookmark This Page

  • The University of Southern Mississippi: Associate Marine Instrumentation Specialist
  • The University of Massachusetts Boston: Assistant Professor of Coastal Oceanography
  • The University of Miami (RSMAS): Tenure or Tenure-Track Professor
  • GOOS Biology: Data Manager
  • USACE Jacksonville District, Engineering Division: Coastal Design Section - Civil Engineer
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Program Director
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Staff Scientist, Coastal Resilience
  • Mote Marine Laboratory: Staff Chemist, Physical and Chemical Ecology, Staff Biologist, Grazers, Mote Science Education Aquarium (SEA) Education Coordinator

Postdoctoral Positions:

  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Sciences, NRC Research Programs
  • National Research Council: Research Associateship Programs Postdoctoral and Senior Research Awards


  • Susan L. Williams National Coral Reef Management Fellowship
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration - Coastal Management Fellowship
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering and Mathematics: Early Career Fellowships
  • Department of Defense: Visualization of Coastal Data, Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Fellow
Funding Opportunities

GCOOS maintains a listing of funding opportunities. Have an opportunity you'd like to advertise? Email Laura Caldwell

View Details/Bookmark This Page

  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration – Translating Coastal Research into Application
  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – Early Career Research Fellowship
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: American the Beautiful Conservation Initiative
  • Gulf of Mexico Alliance

Meetings & Conferences

25-28: Oceans Conference and Exposition 2023 Gulf Coast, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi
12-16: CERF 2023 Conference, Portland, Oregon
14-17: 2023 International Ocean Colour Science Meeting, St. Petersburg, Florida
19-22: Gulf of Mexico Conference, Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, Florida

Have meeting or workshop info you want to share? Email Laura Caldwell.

Contact Us
GCOOS is the Gulf of Mexico regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and the only certified system dedicated solely to the Gulf of Mexico. Our mission is to provide on-demand information about the Gulf’s coastal and open ocean waters that is accurate, reliable and benefits people, ecosystems and the economy.
Dr. Jorge Brenner, Executive Director • Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, Senior Advisor  Bill Lingsch, Underwater Glider User Group Coordinator  Dr. Chris Simoniello, Outreach & Education Manager  Felimon Gayanilo, Systems Architect, Co-Data Manager • Bob Currier, Product Developer, Co-Data Manager • Dr. Uchenna Nwankwo, Oceanographer  Marion Stoessel, Senior Research Associate • Tuomo Saari, Scientific Computing Specialist • Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson, Research Associate, GCAN Coordinator • Grant Craig, Program & Volunteer Coordinator • Laura Caldwell, Program Assistant • Nadine Slimak, Public Relations & Content Marketing, Vetted Communications, LLC
In Memoriam: Matt Howard, 1952-2018