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Anchorage, AK, United States

Schoch G.C.,Alaska Ocean Observing System | Chao Y.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Eos | Year: 2010

To demonstrate the utility of an ocean observing and forecasting system with diverse practical applicationssuch as search and rescue, oil spill response (perhaps relevent to the current Gulf of Mexico oil spill), fisheries, and risk managementa unique field experiment was conducted in Prince William Sound, Alaska, in July and August 2009. The objective was to quantitatively evaluate the performance of numerical models developed for the sound with an array of fixed and mobile observation platforms (Figure 1). Prince William Sound was chosen for the demonstration because of historical efforts to monitor ocean circulation following the 1989 oil spill from the Exxon Valdez tanker. The sound, a highly crenulated embayment of about 10,000 square kilometers at approximately 60N latitude along the northern coast of the Gulf of Alaska, includes about 6900 kilometers of shoreline, numerous islands and fjords, and an extensive system of tidewater glaciers descending from the highest coastal mountain range in North America. Hinchinbrook Entrance and Montague Strait are the two main deep water connections with the Gulf of Alaska. The economic base of communities in the region is almost entirely resource-dependent. For example, Cordova's economy is based on commercial fishing and Valdez's economy is supported primarily by the trans-Alaska oil pipeline terminal. Source

Schoch G.C.,Alaska Ocean Observing System | Chao Y.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Chao Y.,University of California at Los Angeles | Colas F.,University of California at Los Angeles | And 3 more authors.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2011

A prototype ocean observing and forecasting system was developed focusing on oil spill trajectories and planning for different response scenarios. The objective was to demonstrate the ability of an ocean observing system to provide information that is critical for realtime decision making in events such as Gulf of Alaska (GOA) oil spill. The results show that wind direction was difficult to predict in light and variable conditions due to topographical deflection in some mountainous areas of PWS. Wave height forecasts are found to be overpredicted for the PWS FE and forecast errors, especially for smaller waves, could be attributed to corresponding errors in the input winds. There is a rapid growth of errors in forecasting the drifter trajectories within the first 24 h, suggesting challenges and perhaps limitations of using surface current measurements derived from HF radar and relatively limited subsurface observations for data assimilation. Source

Wang X.,University of California at Los Angeles | Chao Y.,University of California at Los Angeles | Chao Y.,Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc. | Zhang H.,University of California at Los Angeles | And 12 more authors.
Continental Shelf Research | Year: 2013

In the process of developing a real-time data-assimilating coastal ocean forecasting system for Prince William Sound, Alaska, tidal signal was added to a three-domain nested model for the region. The model, which is configured from the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS), has 40 levels in the vertical direction and horizontal resolutions of 10.6. km, 3.6. km and 1.2. km for its three nested domains, respectively. In the present research, the ROMS tidal solution was validated using data from coastal tide gauges, satellite altimeters, high-frequency coastal radars, and Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) current surveys. The error of barotropic tides, as measured by the total root mean square discrepancy of eight major tidal constituents is 5.3. cm, or 5.6% of the tidal sea surface height variability in the open ocean. Along the coastal region, the total discrepancy is 9.6. cm, or 8.2% of the tidal sea surface height variability. Model tidal currents agree reasonably well with the observations. The influence of tides on the circulation was also investigated using numerical experiments. Besides tides, other types of forcing fields (heat flux, wind stress, evaporation minus precipitation, and freshwater discharge) were also included in the model. Our results indicate that tides play a significant role in shaping the mean circulation of the region. For the summer months, the tidal residual circulation tends to generate a cyclonic gyre in the central Sound. The net transport into the Sound through Hinchinbrook Entrance is reduced. Tides also increase the mixed layer depth in the Sound, especially during the winter months. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Sigman M.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Dublin R.,Alaska Center for Ocean science Education Excellence | Anderson A.,SoundView Evaluation and Research | Deans N.,Formerly of the North Pacific Research Board | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Geoscience Education | Year: 2014

During 2010-2012, three professional development workshops brought together K-12 educators and scientists conducting research in the geographic and ecological context of Alaska's three large marine ecosystems (Bering Sea/Aleutians, Gulf of Alaska, and Arctic Ocean). Educators successfully applied new scientific knowledge gained from their interactions with scientists through the collaborative development of lesson plans that were place-based and culturally responsive to Alaska Native cultures. Over the course of the three workshops, we refined a model for incorporating cultural responsiveness into workshop design, employed an innovative systemic traditional knowledge framework, and developed a rubric to evaluate the lesson plans in terms of cultural responsiveness. Key factors that increased the impact of a single professional development workshop on the ability of the K-12 educators to produce culturally responsive lesson plans included (1) participation of experienced teachers as mentors, (2) opportunities for workshop participants to interact with community members and culture bearers, and (3) embedding the training within a longer-term program of curriculum development and professional development in a school district for which cultural responsiveness was a high priority. © 2014 National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Source

Colt S.,University of Alaska Anchorage | Fay G.,University of Alaska Anchorage | McCammon M.,Alaska Ocean Observing System
Marine Technology Society Journal | Year: 2011

This article describes a simple but effective project prioritization and selection system developed and used by the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) (www. aoos.org), one of eleven regional systems within the national Integrated Ocean Observation System (www.ioos.gov). Because Alaska has 71,000 km of coastline, extreme weather, and limited existing infrastructure, developing and operating a fully functioning ocean observing system will be challenging and quite costly. With AOOS's recent annual budgets averaging only about $1.5 million (including program administrative costs), the AOOS Board must choose which projects to fund first from a long list of candidates. Working with staff, the board developed a project selection system that integrates scientific and socioeconomic criteria and seeks to balance benefits, costs, and risks. That system draws on consultation with information users and on analyses by both scientific and socioeconomic technical advisory committees. The board found the system to be efficient and effective; it may be useful to other programs and regions developing coastal ocean observing systems. Source

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