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CBIBS Science Users' Forum Recap

On February 28, the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, which manages the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS), welcomed regional scientists and observation network experts to talk about how they currently use data from CBIBS—and how they might in the future. Buoy system managers and technical experts will use this feedback to help guide future evolution of CBIBS capability. What follows is a brief summary of the day. 

NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office Director Peyton Robertson welcomed the group and highlighted why he thinks CBIBS is important. 

CBIBS Program Manager Doug Wilson provided a brief history of CBIBS and a technical overview of the CBIBS system.

Presentations by NOAA scientists showed examples of how CBIBS data are currently being used:

After the presentations, Doug Wilson asked the group how else they use CBIBS data. Examples included:

  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources and others want to incorporate CBIBS data into dynamics of a dead zone, especially with the Gooses Reef and temporarily deployed profilers that take measurements vertically, to explore how oxygen varies across the channel in response to weather events, etc. They noted that CBIBS provide critical information on weather over water. They also use it for safety for their field crews.
  • Howard Townsend (NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office ecosystem modeling) highlighted its use in predictive models for oyster restoration—how will it be affected by instances of increased freshwater flow then sedimentation.
  • Greg Garman (Virginia Commonwealth University) noted that CBIBS data will be useful in a Virginia harmful algal bloom study they are involved in along with other institutions.
  • Ming Li (National Centers for Environmental Prediction) noted the utility of CBIBS data in modeling, noting it could be used in the sea nettle model to ensure operability of the model. He mentioned they are working toward hypoxia model as well. He wants to incorporate CBIBS data into CBOFS models. He says CBIBS is critical to validate and assimilate data into ecological forecasts.

The group discussed data deliver and some issues the CBIBS team can work on.

  • Anne Wright (Virginia Commonwealth University) requested email notification when the James River buoy fish finder detects tagged sturgeon swimming by. CJ Pellerin (NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office information technology) is working on a solution. 
  • Steve Zubrick (National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Baltimore/Washington) discussed how helpful it would be to have real-time query (data updated more frequently than the currently standard 10 minutes)—not all the time, but it would be very helpful on some critical occasions when they’re hungry for actual info—e.g., if they’re on the cusp of issuing a severe weather warning, etc.

The group talked about “what do we need from CBIBS” including data accessibility, QA/QC issues, suitability of present locations, new sensors, and the potential for collaboration.

  • The concept smaller buoys would enable moving the robust buoys to deeper water/additional scientifically needed sites in the mainstem.
  • New sensors: visibility (in air), rainfall rate
  • Raleigh Hood (University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science) noted it would be useful to have automated trimming of data spikes (e.g., drops in salinity at Annapolis) that we are pretty sure are glitches and not real data. 
  • Data to study spikes (wind, wave height): one-minute resolution would really help to clear up data anomalies. This would support research possibilities. Companion for ASOs. Steve Zubrick expressed a concern of meteorologists that they have actually lost data sources over the past few months. Can buoys start recording one-minute wind and wave data when there is an active severe thunderstorm warning?
  • Bill Boicourt (University of Maryland Horn Point Lab) wants a buoy just north of Rappahannock Shoals (in about 145 feet of water)—important as it’s the oceanographic gateway to the upper Bay.
  • NCBO needs to document how the data is treated.Is it possible to contract out some of the QA work? Maybe to NESDIS or NODC? Could they create a discrete project—implementing a quality control rule?
  • Can we do these internally—need advice from users—work with people to increase the quality while we strive to keep the buoys operating.