A New Porthole to the Oceans

The WCODP aims to be a link of continuity between the numerous "fronds" of oceanographic data collected along the West Coast.

The WCODP aims to link the numerous “fronds” of oceanographic data collected along the West Coast.

As someone working extensively with ocean-related data sets, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of a new West Coast marine data website, the WCGA West Coast Ocean Data Portal (WCODP)! The Portal aims to aggregate the highest-quality West Coast ocean-related data available, to enable researchers, policymakers, coastal managers and community members to more easily find sources and information relevant to their marine data needs.

The front page (above) of the West Coast Ocean Data Portal is designed to provide easy access to various categories of marine-related data.

The front page (above) of the West Coast Ocean Data Portal is designed to provide easy access to various categories of marine-related dataThe WCODP provides a unique level of data access, in that it covers information at a West Coast-wide scale, as well as across a range of data types, human use, and physical and biological oceanography.

The WCODP aggregates marine-related data from several state-based data portals along the West Coast, including the California Coastal Geoportal, which provides comprehensive access to data ranging from public safety and state health to education and natural resources; and the Oregon Coastal Atlas and the Washington State Coastal Atlas, both of which provide various mapped ocean and coastal datasets for their respective states. The WCODP also compiles additional resources from federal agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, among others. This approach attempts to mirror the extent of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME), the physical ocean current and corresponding biology that function offshore along California, Oregon, Washington. The WCODP so far boasts nearly 200 resources covering human use, biological, and physical ocean-related data.

My fellowship work will take advantage of the Portal space as the discovery venue for data inventories that I create or update. As I mentioned in my previous post, one of my main fellowship goals is to update the West Coast OOS Ocean Acidification (OA) Assets Inventory to reflect current monitoring assets. As we reframe the OA Assets Inventory to become a real-time assets portal, we hope to use the WCODP site to make it more widely available as a source of OA monitoring information.

The Portal will also soon present a map-viewer feature, in collaboration with data from the WCGA Marine Debris Database. This map-viewer will allow enhanced visualization of marine debris data. One of my other main projects will be to contribute oceanographic data layers (surface currents, winds, wave movements) to this map viewer, and to the Portal in general.

Although the Portal was launched last week, it continues to accumulate sources and expand its categories and issues. If you have an idea of a data source or category that you think should be included in the Portal, feel free to leave a comment on this blog, or to contact the Portal manager, Todd Hallenbeck (Todd.r.hallenbeck@westcoastoceans.org) directly. Help us expand this Portal to be the most comprehensive west coast data aggregation possible!

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Chasing Waves and Navigating West Coast Ocean Policy

    Greetings from a new face on the team! My name is Laura Lilly and I am thrilled to have been selected as one of the 2013-2014 California Sea Grant Fellows! I recently began a one-year fellowship through the California Sea Grant Program, in which I will be working with the west coast regional Integrated Ocean Observing Systems (IOOS) and the West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health (WCGA). Throughout my fellowship, I will be blogging about these experiences and our combined progress, as an opportunity to reflect on the work I am doing and the ways in which it may help our marine ecosystems.

Setting my course - I’m ready to dive into my Sea Grant Fellowship work and navigate the seas of west coast marine policy and ocean data integration!

Setting course – I’m ready to dive into my Sea Grant Fellowship work and navigate the seas of west coast marine policy and ocean data integration!

My fellowship entails tying the extensive oceanographic data collected by the three OOS Regional Associations (NANOOS, CeNCOOS and SCCOOS) into globally-relevant issues of marine debris and ocean acidification. Marine debris and ocean acidification are growing problems along the U.S. west coast, as shellfish industries suffer from the effects of increasingly acidic upwelled waters, and more land-based debris washes into the oceans and is scattered by current movements. State, local and nonprofit agencies have been working together to reduce these on-going issues, but they are realizing the importance of better understanding how ocean processes interact with and affect marine debris and ocean acidification.

Tracking the Ocean's Current Movements - Example CORDC HF Radar current tracking data that we plan to analyze for correlations with marine debris movements (Photo courtesy of SCCOOS HF Radar Program).

Tracking the ocean’s current movements – Example CORDC HF Radar current tracking data that we plan to analyze for correlations with marine debris movements (Photo courtesy of SCCOOS HF Radar Program).

The OOS RAs collect and compile various oceanographic data parameters for their respective regions. These datasets include high-frequency (HF) radar tracks of surface currents, modeled and real-time wind data, and in situ physical and biological measurements collected via moored point stations, cruise tracks and autonomous gliders. I am working with west coast marine managers to determine their specific oceanographic needs, and to map and connect these ocean data parameters where relevant.

On the marine debris front, I am working with the WCGA Marine Debris Action Coordination Team to determine available marine debris data, and how oceanographic parameters affect debris movements. I am exploring surface currents data from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Coastal Observing Regional and Development Center (CORDC), and wind data tracked by SCCOOS, CeNCOOS and the Naval Research Laboratory, to determine best options for data tie-ins. We hope to eventually correlate marine debris movements with both oceanographic and freshwater flows, to determine land-based debris sources and to create forecasts of marine debris beach landings. These efforts will allow managers to more effectively plan beach cleanups, and to target and reduce land-based debris sources.

Taking Inventory - West Coast Ocean Observing Systems (OOS) Regional Associations Ocean Acidification Assets Inventory, compiled August 2012. Part of my work aims to update this inventory to include all current west coast OA monitoring assets (inventory available here).

Taking Inventory – West Coast Ocean Observing Systems (OOS) Regional Associations Ocean Acidification Assets Inventory, compiled August 2012. Part of my work aims to update this inventory to include all current west coast OA monitoring assets (inventory available here).

My work with ocean acidification (OA) has involved re-assessing the Ocean Acidification Assets Inventory, first initiated by the California Current Acidification Network (C-CAN) and compiled by the west coast OOS RAs in August 2012. The OA Assets Inventory maps and tracks all west coast OA monitoring methods. While I still don’t know exactly how and where I will be tying oceanographic data into the larger picture of OA monitoring and management, I am beginning to assess the oceanographic data needs of OA managers, so that I can eventually provide them with access to data that will help inform their decisions.

           I am thrilled to begin both of these projects, and look forward to developing further connections with stakeholders within the marine debris, OA and oceanographic communities!