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USGS Oceanographer Rich Signell Joins NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System Program for 1-Year Detail

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Rich Signell
Above: Rich Signell. [larger version]

Minutes after U.S. Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, a little-known government partnership began providing crucial information to emergency responders. A detailed report of near-realtime water conditions surrounding the site, weather-forecast and river-current information, and an analysis of the potential fate of the fuel onboard are a few of the contributions that facilitated the safe and timely rescue of passengers and crew and recovery of the aircraft. (To hear a podcast, visit URL http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/podcast/supp_feb09.html and select "Making Waves Episode 17.")

The partnership is the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). IOOS can be thought of as a "system of systems"—tying together observations from national systems, such as USGS stream gages, with those from regional associations of State, academic, and private-sector partners. NOAA's IOOS Program leads the effort to integrate all the ocean, coastal-water, and Great Lakes data collected by Federal agencies and regional associations around the Nation. The goal is to provide continuous data on our open oceans, coastal waters, and Great Lakes in the formats, rates, and scales required by scientists, managers, businesses, governments, and the public to support research and inform decision-making.

Rich Signell, an oceanographer at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, has joined the IOOS Program's Operations Division for a 1-year detail. The IOOS Program's goals, from streamlining maritime emergency response to improving predictions of climate change and its effects on coastal communities, involve efficiently linking observations, data communications and management, and data analysis and modeling—areas in which Signell has particular expertise. During his detail, which began in November 2008, Signell is focusing on standardized access to model data by way of Web services that include improved analysis and visualization capabilities. He is also acting as a technical liaison on ocean and coastal modeling with the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Observations (IWGOO), the IOOS Regions, and NOAA.

While Signell's expertise will benefit IOOS development broadly, his leadership will also enhance USGS science programs through persistent engagement in the community actively developing IOOS observational, data-management, and modeling systems. Signell's efforts will ensure that USGS expertise and programmatic objectives with respect to model development and integration of observations and modeling are reflected in the continued development of IOOS as an interagency priority.

Signell has had a long-standing interest in data management, analysis, and visualization and in promoting standards and standards-based modeling tools. (He coauthored a paper with Harry Jenter of the USGS Water Resources Discipline on the benefits of using the NetCDF scientific data format for ocean modeling more than 15 years ago!) He is also chair of the 2011 Gordon Research Conference on Coastal Ocean Modeling, a coauthor of the NetCDF Climate and Forecast (CF) Metadata Conventions, a member of the CF Standards Committee, a member of the Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) Steering Committee, and chair of the Gulf of Maine Ocean Data Partnership Modeling Committee. His research interests include physical-oceanographic and sediment-transport processes in estuaries and on shallow continental shelves, bottom- and surface-boundary-layer dynamics, and developing community models, methods, and tools for investigating hydrodynamics and sediment transport in the coastal ocean. During his detail, Signell is traveling to Silver Spring, Maryland, approximately every 6-8 weeks while continuing to work out of his USGS office in Woods Hole.

To learn more about the IOOS, visit URL http://ioos.noaa.gov/.

Related Web Sites
The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)
Making Waves Episode 17

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cover story:
Icebreaker Surveys in the Arctic Ocean

Modeling Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

Sediment Transport at Cape Hatteras

How Avian Influenza Spreads

Research Shorebird Recovery May Require Restrictions on Bait

Awards Research Achievements in Parasitology

Staff Woods Hole Science Center Hosts Delegation from India

Oceanographer Joins NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System Program

Publications Shifts in Killer Whale Diets

Polar Bear Habitat Distribution

April 2009 Publications List

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