NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

The latest news and information about NOAA research in and around the Great Lakes


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Sounds of the storm and coral reef recovery following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico

By Dr. Doran Mason (NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory) and Felix Martinez (National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science)

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University of Puerto Rico grad students servicing a hydrophone at the Weinberg site at La Parguera Natural Reserve on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico.  Photo Credit:  Rebecca Becicka, Ph.D. student at University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

Researchers at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) are exploring the use of sound to monitor and assess the health of coastal ecosystems, most recently focusing on the soundscape created by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. In collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Purdue University (a partner university in the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research consortium), and the National Centers for Coastal Science (NCCOS), GLERL has launched a pilot study on developing the long-term use of soundscape. To implement this new approach to monitoring, hydrophones, an instrument in measuring sound, are used to track the response of ecosystems to natural (e.g., tropical storms) and human-induced (e.g., stressors such as excess nutrients, sedimentation, fishing pressure, climate change) disturbances.

In this pilot project, hydrophones have been in place for six months at three sites (see below for Google Earth Map of Magueyes Island, La Parguera, Puerto Rico) at La Parguera Natural Reserve on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico prior to and during the two category 4 hurricanes that pummeled the island. Miraculously, the recorders and data survived the storms and were recovered, providing us with a unique opportunity to listen to the hurricanes and to evaluate how quickly reefs recover from a natural disaster.  

What is a soundscape?  Soundscapes are created by the aggregation of sounds produced by living organisms (invertebrates, fish, marine mammals), non-biological natural sounds (waves, rain, movement of the earth), and sounds produced by humans (boats, coastal roads). Changes in the biological portion of soundscape can provide us with the quantitative data to assess the health of the ecosystem in response to natural and human-induced disturbance.  Thus, our overall goal is to develop quantitative indices of coastal ecosystem health, based on the soundscape to assess the state of the environment, and to understand and predict changes, with application towards ecosystem restoration and conservation efforts. The utility of this approach is the use of a low-cost, remote autonomous technology that holds potential in expanding NOAA’s long-term observational capacity to monitor and assess coastal habitats.

Why GLERL?  As part of a long history of monitoring and research in the Great Lakes, GLERL scientists have cultivated a unique expertise in the development of autonomous remote sensing technology. In the last two decades, Purdue University (a CIGLR partner) has been one of the leaders in the development of terrestrial soundscapes as a critical tool to monitor ecosystem change. More recently, interest has grown in expanding this approach into the aquatic realm.  Building on our relationship with Purdue, GLERL and partners are well positioned to advance use of soundscape ecology to meet NOAA’s mission to protect, restore, and manage the use of coastal and ocean resources. In addition to the pilot study, GLERL is partnering with NCCOS to reach out to other NOAA Line Office programs in efforts to formalize the use of soundscapes within NOAA as a scientific program.  For example, efforts are underway to plan an international workshop to establish the foundational principles and identify research and technology gaps for the use of soundscape ecology.

Why Puerto Rico? Original support for this pilot study came from a congressional allocation for enhancing relationships with the cooperative institutes for the benefit of coral reef restoration and conservation. Given the scientific knowledge accrued from NCCOS’ prior investments in La Parguera, GLERL and its NCCOS partner recognized that Puerto Rico would be a prime location to test and develop the use of soundscapes technology to track and quantify the health of coastal ecosystems.

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Google Earth Map of Magueyes Island, La Parguera, Puerto Rico showing coral reef locations where the hydrophones were deployed at different depths: Weinberg (shelf-edge) – 75′; Media Luna (mid-shelf) – 45′; Pelotas (inner-shelf) – 35′.  Provided by: Prof. Richard Appeldoorn, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

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Colleagues from Purdue University and University of Puerto Rico deploy Media Luna reef site hydrophone for the first time.  Photo credit: Steve Ruberg, NOAA GLERL

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View of La Parguera from Media Luna reef site. Photo credit: Steve Ruberg, NOAA GLERL


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New algorithm to map Great Lakes ice cover

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GLERL researcher, George Leshkevich, drilling through the ice in Green Bay, Lake Michigan.

NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) is on the cutting edge of using satellite remote sensing to monitor different types of ice as well as the ice cover extent. To make this possible, an algorithm—a mathematical calculation developed at GLERL to retrieve major Great Lakes ice types from satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data—has been transferred to NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) for evaluation for operational implementation.

Once operational, the algorithm for Great Lakes ice cover mapping holds multiple applications that will advance marine resource management, lake fisheries and ecosystem studies, Great Lakes climatology, and ice cover information distribution (winter navigation).  Anticipated users of the ice mapping results include the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. National Ice Center (NIC), and the National Weather Service (NWS).

For satellite retrieval of key parameters (translation of satellite imagery into information on ice types and extent), it is necessary to develop algorithms specific to the Great Lakes owing to several factors:

  • Ocean algorithms often do not work well in time or space on the Great Lakes
  • Ocean algorithms often are not tuned to the parameters needed by Great Lakes stakeholders (e.g. ice types)
  • Vast difference exists in resolution and spatial coverage needs
  • Physical properties of freshwater differ from those of saltwater

The relatively high spatial and temporal resolution (level of detail) of SAR measurements, with its all-weather, day/night sensing capabilities, make it well-suited to map and monitor Great Lakes ice cover for operational activities. Using GLERL and Jet Propulsion Lab’s (JPL) measured library of calibrated polarimetric C-band SAR ice backscatter signatures, an algorithm was developed to classify and map major Great Lakes ice types using satellite C-band SAR data (see graphic below, Methodology for Great Lakes Ice Classification prototype).

ICECON (ice condition index) for the Great Lakes—a risk assessment tool recently developed for the Coast Guard—incorporates several physical factors including temperature, wind speed and direction, currents, ice type, ice thickness, and snow to determine 6 categories of ice severity for icebreaking operations and ship transit.  To support the ICECON ice severity index, the SAR ice type classification algorithm was modified to output ice types or groups of ice types, such as brash ice and pancake ice to adhere to and visualize the U.S. Coast Guards 6 ICECON categories. Ranges of ice thickness were assigned to each ice type category based on published freshwater ice nomenclature and extensive field data collection. GLERL plans to perform a demonstration/evaluation of the ICECON tool for the Coast Guard this winter.

Mapping and monitoring Great Lakes ice cover advances NOAA’s goals for a Weather-Ready Nation and Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies, and Safe Navigation. Results from this project, conducted in collaboration with Son V. Nghiem (NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory), will be made available to the user community via the NOAA Great Lakes CoastWatch website (https://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov).

 

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Measuring different ice types on Green Bay used to validate the ICECON (ice type classification) Scale in a RADARSAT-2 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) scene taken on February 26, 2017.

 


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Embracing Collaboration and Partnerships: A Way of Life at GLERL

The science community in the Great Lakes region holds a long history of partnership building, extending across jurisdictional, institutional, and disciplinary lines. These partnerships have been evolving in the region for decades as a means to leverage the intellectual capital and financial resources needed to address the environmental challenges (sediment and nutrient loading, toxic pollution, invasive species) threatening the integrity of the Great Lakes.  Agreements and programs established in the region—such as the Great Lakes Water Quality (1972), Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (2005), and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (2010)—are celebrated for their unique partnerships of federal, state/provincial, and tribal and local governments.

GLERL has embraced the Great Lakes tradition of collaboration and partnership building in the development and implementation of its scientific research program since the laboratory’s inception in the mid-1970s.  As a primary organizational goal, GLERL envisions partnerships as a way to strengthen capacity in the conduct of its interdisciplinary research. One way that we accomplish this is by providing a hub for collaboration at GLERL’s Ann Arbor facility—such as space for meetings and workshops to help in the coordination of scientific research and policy—as well as at GLERL’s Lake Michigan Field Station in Muskegon where vessels and laboratory space are made available to support scientific investigations.

Also notable is GLERL’s historical partnership with the NOAA Cooperative Institutes (CIs). The CIs are academic research institutes, frequently co-located within NOAA research laboratories, to create a strong, long-term collaboration among government scientists in the laboratories and the associated academic institutions. Currently, there is great excitement at GLERL for the newly established Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR), formerly known as the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research. CIGLR, hosted by the University of Michigan’s School of Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), collaborates with nine university partners as part of the institute’s Regional Consortium. This collaborative arrangement expands the research capacity, intellectual expertise, and geographic reach of CIGLR and all its partners, while increasing GLERL’s ability to fulfill NOAA’s mission in the Great Lakes.

In keeping with the Great Lakes tradition of collaboration and partnership building, we are pleased to announce the creation GLERL’s new webpage, Collaborating with GLERL. Provided on the webpage is specific guidance on how to pursue collaboration and partnerships with GLERL in areas such as research partnerships, data access, event hosting, vessel operations, as well as internships and fellowships. Through this webpage, we hope to enable our partners to benefit from the valuable resources offered by NOAA GLERL.  We invite you to browse this webpage so you are fully aware of the opportunities that GLERL offers to help keep the Great Lakes great.

Visit the new webpage at https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/about/collaborating.html.


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A message from the Director – Hearts of GOLD: An opportunity for leadership training on diversity and inclusion

By Deborah H. Lee, Director, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory Heartsof GOLD_Logo

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Hearts of GOLD (Geosciences Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity) in Colorado Springs, Colorado on July 24-25. Hearts of GOLD is a National Science Foundation sponsored project led by a group of six investigators including NOAA’s LaToya Myles of the Office of Oceanic Research, Air Resources Laboratory. The goal of the project is to help leaders in geosciences become champions for diversity by teaching new tools, skills, and attitudes that include learning how to work with colleagues “different” from ourselves.

The driving question posed at the training was, “Why should we value diversity?”  In answering this question and others, we learned that social science research reveals that a diverse workforce can advance core elements for organizational success, such as enhanced innovation through creativity, increased diligence and a committed work ethic, more balanced decision making, robust problem-solving, as well as boosting a company’s bottom line. In looking beyond our organizational boundaries, diversity essentially produces a healthier society by including all of its members.

Our instructors, Drs. Dena R. Samuels and Stephany Rose of University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, led us through two days of often emotional and soul-searching discussion as we examined inclusivity, diversity, and social justice. We learned about implicit bias—a term that describes when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge. This bias often prevents us from achieving diversity by choosing to work with people most like ourselves or associated with positive stereotypes. To get a better sense of what is meant by this, you can assess your implicit biases at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/.

We also learned that even if we can overcome implicit bias to achieve a diverse organization, it may not be enough to drive innovation without a culture of genuine inclusivity.  Inclusivity is an intention or policy of including people who are considered “different,” resulting in them being excluded or marginalized, such as those who are handicapped or learning-disabled, or racial or sexual minorities.  We were encouraged to seek out new experiences that challenge our bias, slow down and be present in the moment to catch the bias, and then act differently and practice “priming”—observing positive images of people from stereotyped groups or simply calling to mind counter-stereotypical information. We were reminded that “If you aren’t actively including, you are probably accidentally excluding.”

One topic that struck a personal chord with me was the subject of “microaggression”—an act I had experienced many times over in my career, even recently, as a woman in a non-traditional field.  Microaggressions are subtle words, cues, and/or behaviors that insult, invalidate, or exclude individuals. They are often based on a disadvantaged social identity and often cue stereotypes, labeling one as an outsider.  The recipient often feels disempowered to address the giver of these microaggressions, due to a balance of power, causing the recipient to be impacted cumulatively via a “death by a thousand cuts.”  The intent of the giver is to perpetuate systems of power—to keep those in power, in power, and those oppressed, in oppression.

Another challenging topic was the systemic impacts of privilege and its counterweight, oppression.  Privilege is being treated in ways that make you feel automatically included and valued and is generally an unearned advantage, versus a personal achievement, based on how your identity aligns with what is considered normal and accepted.  It significantly affects performance in academics, interviews, life chances and longevity. To illustrate the impact of privilege, we played a game where each player was allotted 12 pennies, which were then pooled in the center of the table.  When asked a series of questions regarding our experiences of privilege, or lack thereof, and depending on the answers, we were instructed to either to take a penny (benefited from privilege) or put a penny back in the pool (denied privilege).  By the end of the game, some players had “earned” 12 or more pennies from the pool, while others had no pennies or even “owed” pennies. The lessons learned from playing this game were profound, to say the least.

Through my experience at Hearts of GOLD, I became keenly aware that diversity and inclusion are not only important for creativity and innovation, but they are also fundamental for social justice to come to fruition.  The principle of social justice requires that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities.  This popular graphic (https://ehhsdean.com/tag/equity/#jp-carousel-959) illustrates the concepts of equality and equity, but makes the case that until barriers to entry are removed, social justice cannot be achieved.

As leaders in the geosciences, we left the class with a stronger awareness and understanding of the challenges we face both within ourselves and externally within our organizations, the skills and tools we could bring to bear, and how to remove the barriers to social justice to create the next generation of geoscientists.


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GLERL Director participates in stakeholder forum on the state of Lake Erie

Slide01NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) Director, Deborah Lee, participated in the State of Lake Erie Forum, facilitated by Ohio Congressional Representative, Marcy Kaptur. The forum—held on July 10 in a suburb near Cleveland, Ohio—provided an opportunity for stakeholders to learn about the latest environmental and economic developments impacting Lake Erie. Other regional Great Lakes leaders participating in the forum included Jeff Reutter, Ohio Sea Grant Special Advisor; Charles Wooley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Dorothy Baunach, Cleveland Water Alliance. In sharing information on NOAA’s products and services with stakeholders, Director Lee focused on a range of water forecasting tools that support public health and safety, commerce, recreation, and emergency response in communities in the Great Lakes region.

Highlighted was the NOAA Lake Erie Operational Forecast System (GLOFS) using observations and forecasts on water level, current speed and direction, and water temperature coupled with NOAA weather and water models to generate forecast guidance 4 times a day for each of the Great Lakes. Lee also discussed GLERL research on developing water models to predict meteotsunamis (large weather-induced waves that can reach 7 feet in height) to protect the safety of beachgoers from unexpected meteotsunami waves that can occur long after a storm has passed and sunny conditions have returned.  

Of particular interest to this group of stakeholders, were developments related to harmful algal blooms plaguing the western basin of Lake Erie. Director Lee briefed stakeholders at the forum on current NOAA GLERL research projects addressing HABs, highlighting the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) – GLERL’s underwater robotic “lab in a can” used to monitor and analyze blooms for algal toxins (e.g., cyanobacteria). She also shared information on NOAA’s operational HAB Bulletin and the experimental HAB Tracker, both valuable tools to keep the public informed on the status of HABs in Lake Erie as well as predicting the movement and concentration of a bloom up to 5 days into the future.  Another product reported on was the “Runoff Risk Decision Support Tool,” targeting the source of the HAB problem in Lake Erie. NOAA is working in conjunction with the Great Lakes states to develop and implement this product to reduce nutrient loading contributing to HABs. The tool focuses attention on the timing of nutrient application to help farmers decide the best timeframe to apply fertilizer and avoid times when runoff from rain or snowmelt will wash fertilizer into streams and eventually run into Lake Erie.

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NOAA GLERL Director, Deborah Lee, discusses NOAA’s role as an integral partner in the development of runoff risk tools for agriculture producers and nutrient applicators, during a July 10, 2017 public forum on the state of Lake Erie.

Director Lee emphasized the complexity of development and operation of these forecasting tools that are dependent upon NOAA’s environmental information systems—satellite images, buoy data, ship and ESP collected water samples, weather models and observations—running on supercomputers at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction.  As is the case with NOAA’s National Weather Service forecasts, water forecasting would not be possible without the long-term commitment of NOAA, partners, and other federal funding.  

Extending discussion on the use of forecast modeling, Lee explained how GLERL is using foodweb modeling to predict the potential impacts of the bighead and silver carp on Lake Erie’s commercial and recreational fishery. When running the model scenario of successful invasion of Asian carp in Lake Erie, the GLERL foodweb modeling study showed declines in most fish species, which would result in a significant impact on our Great Lakes fishery valued at $7 billion a year.

Another important NOAA program covered in Lee’s presentation was the Lake Erie restoration projects, executed with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). NOAA has awarded nearly $13.5 million in GLRI funding for restoration projects targeting habitat conservation to improve the Lake Erie fishery.

In closing, Lee acknowledged the valuable role that NOAA is playing in collaboration with partners by providing products and services based on sound, cutting-edge science to protect our Great Lakes economic and environmental assets. Through this work, NOAA is committed to maintaining the quality of life that our Great Lakes residents so deeply cherish.

A recording of the forum is available via Facebook Live.  

(Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly named the forum panel members.)


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A summer intern’s perspective on why diversity and inclusion is the way to go

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By Char’Mane Robinson, NOAA EPP/MSI Scholar

My name is Char’Mane Robinson  and I’m working this summer at NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) as a NOAA Educational Partnership Program (EPP) with Minority Serving Institutes (MSI) Scholar. I will be receiving a BS in environmental science with an emphasis in natural resources at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). The NOAA EPP with MSI is a federal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) educational program, preparing for diversity and inclusion in the workforce for NOAA and the NOAA mission-related enterprise. My program provides for two summer research experiences to undergraduate students from minority serving institutions. These summer research experiences were set up to help students further achieve their career goals through the development of enhanced academic discipline and professionalism needed for success as future NOAA employees.

My research here at GLERL has focused on modeling  the growth potential of Asian carp in Lake Michigan. I am working with guidance from Drs. Ed Rutherford (GLERL), Doran Mason (GLERL), Mark Rowe (Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR)), and Hongyan Zhang (CIGLR), Peter Alsip (CIGLR), and Henry Vanderploeg (GLERL).  This research experience is helping me to better understand how to use advanced software to make models that predict future environmental conditions used to inform management strategies for invasive species like Asian carp. Being new to modeling, it was important for me to have a great group of mentors who could teach me the fundamentals of using advanced programming software R to perform model calculations and then analysis. While it’s been a challenging project, I have learned so much, especially as I work on adjusting my model to get realistic output.

As  a NOAA EPP/MSI Scholar last summer, I worked in Silver Springs, Maryland analyzing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the fish species from Cocos Lagoon, Guam. In addition to my research studies, I am a pivotal leader in my community, mentoring lower division students in applying for STEM research opportunities. I speak to underrepresented middle school students from the local community about the importance of going to college and about careers in the STEM fields. I bring to the EPP/MSI program my education, research, leadership, and a strong commitment to becoming a future NOAA employee.

One important observation I have noticed throughout my time as a college student and as an intern in the environmental sciences is the lack of minority representation in the scientific community. This includes underrepresentation of women, racial/ethnic minorities, native Americans, people with disabilities, among others. I think it’s important to work on cultivating a more diverse workforce which is in everyone’s best interests.  In recognizing the value of diversity and inclusiveness, NOAA has created educational programs to build a more diverse workforce.  NOAA education initiatives are actively seeking accomplished underrepresented students at the undergraduate and graduate levels to develop their workforce with equal representation.

As an EPP/MSI Scholar, I view diversity in the workforce as way to embrace each other’s differences and have an open discussion with each other, no matter who we are, where we come from, and what we do in our life experiences. I am incredibly grateful to NOAA’s EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship Program for giving underrepresented students on the undergrad level, such as myself, the opportunity to work with NOAA scientists.

The world needs—now more than ever —scientists who not only conduct significant research but also can understand cultural differences to explain those results to the every single member of society.  I also strongly believe that we need to educate the public to become more environmentally aware and empower all citizens to support political initiatives that protect and preserve our planet for future generations to come.


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GLERL receives two RTAP awards for transitioning HABs and ice forecast model to operations

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The 3rd generation NOAA GLERL Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System (GLCFS) uses an unstructured grid (i.e., triangular shapes of adaptable size) to better model physical processes

GLERL’s Dr. Eric Anderson has recently been awarded funding from the Research Transition Acceleration Program (RTAP), placing two of GLERL’s FVCOM modeling projects on the fast track to transition from research to operations (R2O).  R2O is the pathway by which fundamental research is developed into a useful tool or product and implemented into an automated or operational environment accessible for use by the public. RTAP, a highly competitive grants program, prioritizes projects based on their ability to advance NOAA’s mission and benefit society with the ultimate goal of accelerating the transition of promising NOAA research to operations and applications.

Anderson focuses primarily on hydrodynamics, using computer modeling to study how forcing conditions, such as meteorological (weather) events, affect the motion and energy of a body of water. His research on the physical nature of the Great Lakes in response to natural forces is improving our ability to make predictions on currents, temperature, water levels, waves, harmful algal blooms (HABs), and ice characteristics. The RTAP awards will provide Anderson and his collaborative team of researchers the resources needed to advance the following two projects: “Implementation of a 3D HAB forecast model for Lake Erie using FVCOM” and “Implementation of the FVCOM-Ice model for the Great Lakes Operational Forecasting System (GLOFS).” Project outcomes will support services such as safe drinking water, recreation, and navigation.

GLCFS_FVCOM vs POM grid

Notably, both forecast models are built upon the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM), an open-source community model that uses an unstructured grid (triangular shapes of adaptable size) to represent the Great Lakes and connecting channels (such as the coastline illustrated above) with increased grid resolution and model accuracy.  FVCOM solves the three-dimensional (3-D), integral form of the equations of motion.   This modeling approach also provides for an established framework for coupled modules (interconnection between the biological and physical components in the ecosystem, such as biological processes, currents, sediment, ice, etc.).  The seminal research paper explaining the structure and function of the FVCOM is provided in the Oceanography journal article, “An Unstructured Grid, Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model FVCOM System” (Chen, et al., 2006) with further background on the FVCOM and its research application available on GLERL’s webpage, Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting: Next Generation.

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Example of the HAB Tracker forecast showing surface extent and intensity of the bloom from 2015

The first of the RTAP awards listed above will enable Anderson with a group of NOAA partners to accelerate the implementation of a 3-D harmful algal bloom (HAB) forecast model by at least two years— providing decision makers with unprecedented real-time information on HAB extent, vertical distribution, and concentration. The experimental version of the model, known as the “HAB Tracker,” was first developed by GLERL in 2014 and has since been improved in collaboration with the National Ocean Service (NOS) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) as a tool that combines remote sensing and modeling to produce daily 5-day forecasts of bloom transport and concentration. The HAB Tracker is based on the 3-D FVCOM Lagrangian particle model, a sub-component of the FVCOM hydrodynamic model system currently being transitioned to operations. This transition will occur on NOAA’s high performance computing system for the NOAA production suite by NOS’ Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) as part of the next-generation Lake Erie Operational Forecasting System (LEOFS).

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Example of the FVCOM-Ice model forecast of ice concentration from winter 2017

The second RTAP grant awarded to GLERL will facilitate incorporation of an ice model (FVCOM-Ice) in the Great Lakes Operational Forecasting System (GLOFS) by directly coupling it with the hydrodynamic FVCOM model.  RTAP funding will provide the personnel and infrastructure needed to support the development, validation, and implementation of the FVCOM coupled hydrodynamic-ice model and accelerate transition as part of the GLOFS upgrade. This transition to operations will provide the first-ever ice forecasts of extent/concentration, thickness, and velocity for the Great Lakes. The process will occur first for the Lake Michigan-Huron Operational Forecast System (LMHOFS) and then add to the existing Lake Erie Operational Forecast System (LEOFS). The coupled hydrodynamics-ice modeling systems for Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie will provide users with operational 120-hour forecast guidance of ice conditions, water temperature, currents, and water levels, updated four times per day during the winter as well as spring months.

Anderson recognizes the value of these RTAP awards by providing “the resources and personnel we need across Line Offices to validate and transition these models into operations, and avoid the so-called ‘valley of death’ between fundamental research and operational applications.”