Rutgers University
  • Early Season in the Mid Atlantic

    Posted on June 17th, 2021 Scott Glenn No comments

    One purpose of this blog is to catalog our observations as the hurricane season progresses. In the Mid Atlantic, the challenge for years in the operational models has been to reproduce the strong 2 layer structure of the summer, the warm and fresh surface layer and the cold and salty bottom layer separated by a very strong thermocline/halocline.

    For the glider operators in the Mid Atlantic, here is a quick look at the operational models from the NSF OOI Coastal Pioneer Array.  The purpose is to highlight the complex structures near the shelf break that we see in the region around the Pioneer Array.  First the temperature profiles.  The highlight here is the remarkable agreement between the glider data in blue and the data assimilative RTOFS model in green.  The background 2 layer structure is there with that main thermocline running between 20 m and 40 m – amazing agreement between green model and blue data.  Below 40 m, we see the temperature warm up.  This is a type of bottom intrusion of warm and salty water from offshore.  Glider colleagues at VIMS have been studying these intrusions for years.  Both the blue RTOFS model and the red GOFS model are seeing the intrusion, but the match between blue and green is again remarkable.  Now look at the surface, a thin layer of cool water about 5 m deep.  Definitely need to check the salinity on this.

    Below is the salinity.  The main halocline between 20 m and 40 m is again well represented by RTOFS.  The warm water intrusion at the bottom is confirmed to be salty, the signature of warm salty slope water moving up onto the shelf.   And the surface layer is indeed very fresh, so a cool and fresh layer has moved in along the surface.  The source of this water needs to be determined.  It is not in the models, so they might not help us.  Likely first stop is the satellite imagery.

    cp_583-20210403T1913_salt_profile_20210617_to_20210618.png (1273×1036)

    Bottom line message: RTOFS is doing a really good job of getting the main two layer system correct at the Pioneer array, as well as the bottom intrusion of warm salty water from offshore.  RTOFS is doing this without the bias seen in GOFS.  Both ROTFS and GOFS outperform Copernicus in this area as usual.  None of the models are doing well with the cold, fresh surface layer, although GOFS does have some of this feature in the salinity profile.  Further investigation needed to determine the transport pathways for the cold fresh surface water.

  • Disturbance in the Gulf

    Posted on June 16th, 2021 Scott Glenn No comments

    The disturbance in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is forecast to start moving north tomorrow with a 70% chance of cyclone formation in the next 48 hours.  Lets take a look at the oceanographic conditions in front of the storm.

    First we have the SST maps from our two operational models, the NOAA RTOFS on the left and Navy GOFS on the right.  The surface waters of the western Gulf are warmest, with a large area in the northwester Gulf above 29C.  GOFS looks to be slightly warmer than RTOFS at the surface. The color-filled circles represent the locations of recently surfaced Argo float profiles.

    Looking at the temperature at a depth of 200m, we see a large area of colder water below 15C in the northwestern Gulf.  Highest surface temps, lowest temps at 200 m, means significant stratification in this region.  At 200 m you can better see the mesoscale structures.  Each model has the extended Loop Current, and that band of warm water stretching diagonally across the Gulf from northeast to southwest.  The warm band exists in both models, but the mesoscale structure has differences.

    Last map comparison is the surface salinity. Lots of fresh water from the Mississippi River in both models along the northern Gulf coast, extending way offshore in the northwester Gulf, again increasing the stratification.

    Now a quick look at the Argo floats.  We’ll publish the orange float #4902916, the most western one on the map.   Here we zoom into the upper 400 m, the region where we often see the largest differences between the model profiles.  The float data is in blue, RTOFS green, and GOFS orange.  Temperature profiles are in good agreement between models and data, with GOFS slightly warmer at the surface and closer to the float observation. GOFS tends to follow the Argo profile quite closely. RTOFS tends to be a bit warmer below the surface mixed layer and a bit colder at 150 m.   Salinity is similar with GOFS tending to follow the profile more closely, and RTOFS a bit fresher at depth and a bit saltier near the surface.  Neither model is getting the very low salinity observed in the freshwater surface barrier layer.

    So what dis we learn about oceanographic conditions in the Western Gulf where the current disturbance may be headed?  The  north western Gulf surface waters are the warmest in the Gulf, above 29C, and the western Gulf is highly stratified with cold water at depth and low salinity water at the surface.  The stratification acts to inhibit mixing and cooling of the surface water.  If the winds are sufficient to overcome the stratification, there is a large source of cooler water less than 40 m below the surface that could help rapidly cool the surface water.  We have the possibility of two gliders, a Navy glider and a TAMU glider to be in place to capture the response if this develops.

  • RUCOOL Updates: April-May 20201

    Posted on June 16th, 2021 Mike Crowley No comments

    Field Campaign & Science Updates

    The spring semester for RUCOOL was a success in the classroom as well as in the proposal, funding and research areas. Thanks to several successful proposals, it looks to be a very busy summer and fall along the NJ shore!



    • The second cohort of the Operational Oceanography Masters Degree finished their final classes and are interviewing for jobs!
    • Operational Masters student Theodore Thompson submitted a code notebook to the NSF Earthcube Student Funding and Educational Opportunity. Ted is competing with students around the country in a call to “create an integrated environment for the sharing of geoscience data and knowledge in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner.” Ted utilized his training in the program to create an interactive notebook deploying ocean datasets to inform the recreational bone fishing industry in his native country the Bahamas.
    • RUCOOL contributed an ‘op-ed’ describing the Operational Oceanography Masters program to a book published in May titled “Preparing a Workforce for the New Blue Economy: People, Products and Policies” (editors Richard Spinrad, NOAA Administrator, and Liesl Hotaling, Marine Technology Society VP of Communications).
    • Mike Crowley and Kelly Knee (RPS Group) taught members of the Raritan Yacht Club to use the MARACOOS ocean data visualization website https;// The Yacht Club learned that their Zoom account maxed out at 200 people! It was an overwhelmingly positive event that we will follow up on in the fall.
    • Grace Saba co-presented an invited webinar (with Megan Rutkowski at NJDEP) entitled “Ocean Acidification Action Planning in the State of New Jersey” sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network (MACAN).
    • George H. Cook Honors students Mollie Passacantando and Marissa Guzik successfully completed and presented their Honors theses.
    • RUCOOL began hosting a monthly research update on offshore wind activities for the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).



    • Our bi-monthly updates do not usually include updates on proposals, but these past two months were unlike any we can remember over the last few years. They were dominated by numerous proposal submissions, including ones to the Department of Energy (3), Orsted (2), NOAA (2), NJDEP (2), NSF (2) and the Simmons Foundation.
    • Josh Kohut and Grace Saba were planning team members for the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum session Innovative Technologies and Approaches for Understanding Ocean Changes, for which Josh was the moderator.
    • Grace Saba and Travis Miles were active members of the Rutgers University URGE (Unlearning Racism in the Geosciences) pod and served as deliverable leaders focused on Rutgers University hiring & graduate admissions policies. (Shouldn’t this be state as URGE is a University program)
    • Grace Saba and PhD student Emily Slesinger contributed to and are co-authors on the recently released NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s 2021 State of the Ecosystem reports for the Mid-Atlantic ( and New England (
    • The RUCOOL education team posted the final set of Polar Literacy and Polar Scientist Spotlight videos. You can find them all at Additionally, in April they posted a series of essays on using Python from our Data Lab Fellows
    • Janice McDonnell provided hands-on training on the use of a suite of tools for Broader Impacts Training to professionals around the country, including most recently at the joint Broader Impacts Summit 2021, hosted by the NSF funded ARIS center and Broader Impacts Canada.
    • Grace Saba co-presented an invited talk (with Robert Chant, Nicole Fahrenfeld, and Georgia Arbuckle-Keil) entitled “Delaware Bay river plumes as a control on microplastic entry into the food chain” at the NOAA Marine Debris Program PI meeting. Grace also presented an invited talk entitled “Supplementing regional ocean acidification monitoring with glider-based measurements” at the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum: Innovative Technologies and Approaches for Understanding Ocean Changes.



    • Oscar Schofield co-Chaired an international virtual meeting sponsored by the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative (FSOI), which brought together stakeholders spanning from Fisheries Management, Ocean Carbon Budget Verification, and Environmental Forecasting and Modeling to assess what positive contributions BGC (Bio Geochemical Argo Floats) might provide. The goal was to develop a global array of 1000 BGC profiling floats, each carrying 6 new biogeochemical sensors.  The meeting was held in multiple time zones throughout the month of May and had 1008 attendees spanning over 15 countries.  The meeting entrained science ministers from across Europe (England, Germany, France, Italy) and from the United States the National Science Foundation, NASA, NOAA and the White House.
    • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems (UGOS) effort to deploy HF Radars in Yucatan and Cuba is spinning back up as COVID restrictions relax and some members of the team from Texas A&M University are allowed to travel to at least to Mexico.
    • Scott Glenn presented the NASEM OceanShot on Transformative Ocean Observing for Hurricane Forecasting, Readiness and Response in the Caribbean Tropical Storm Corridor (Caribe Corredores) to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO’s Regional Secretariat for the IOCARIBE. The project was encouraged by member states to proceed as an international co-development pilot.


    Student Awards

    • Emily Slesinger (Saba PhD student) received the Rutgers University and Louis Bevier Fellowship Award.
    • Jessica Valenti (Saba post-doc) received the Rutgers University School of Graduate Studies Excellence in Leadership and Teaching Award.
    • Lauren Cook (Saba PhD student) was awarded the 2021 Con Edison Waterfront Scholar to attend the Waterfront Alliance’s annual Waterfront Conference.


    Newly Funded Research

    • NSF Long Term Ecological Research (LTER), “LTER: Ecological Response and Resilience to “Press-Pulse” Disturbances and a Recent Decadal Reversal in Sea Ice Trends Along the West Antarctic Peninsula” Oscar Schofield ($2,374,386 over 2 years).
    • NASA Rapid Response Program. 2021-2022. “Improving our understanding in situ carbon dynamics to ocean color in the Southern Ocean by adding bio-optical instrumentation to the SOCCOM Float-based Observing System” Schofield, Riser, Tally ($471,920)


    Papers Published: (**Current or Former Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researchers)

    • Le Hénaff, M., Domingues, R., Halliwell, G., Zhang, J. A., Kim, H.-S., Aristizabal, M., Miles, T., Glenn, S., Goni, G.. (2021). The role of the Gulf of Mexico ocean conditions in the intensification of Hurricane Michael (2018). Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126, e2020JC016969
    • Martin, A.H., Pearson, H., Saba, G.K., Olsen, E.M. 2021. Integral functions of marine vertebrates in the ocean carbon cycle and climate change mitigation. One Earth 4(5): 680-693.
    • Meredith, M. P., Stammerjohn, S. E., Ducklow, H. W., Leng, M. J., Arrrowsmith, C., Brearley, A. J., Venabkes, H. J, Barnham, M., Melchiorr, Wessem, J., Schofield, O., Waite, N. Local- and large-scale drivers of variability in the coastal freshwater budget of the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Journal of Geophysical Research. DOI: 10.1029/2021JC017172
    • Murphy, S. C., L. J. Nazzaro, J. Simkins, M. J. Oliver, Kohut, M. Crowley, and T. N. Miles (2021), Remote Sensing of Environment Persistent upwelling in the Mid-Atlantic Bight detected using gap-filled , high-resolution satellite SST, Remote Sens. Environ., 262, 112487, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2021.112487
    • Saba GK, Bockus, AB., Shaw, CT., Seibel, BA. 2021. Combined effects of ocean acidification and elevated temperature on feeding, growth, and physiological processes of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Marine Ecology Progress Series 665: 1-18, Selected as a Feature Article.
    • **Schultz, C., Doney, S. C., Hauck, J., Kavanaugh, M. T. Schofield, O. 2021. Modeling phytoplankton blooms and inorganic carbon responses to sea-ice variability in the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). Journal of Geophysical Research. Geosciences. DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10505538.1
    • Beaird, N., Glenn, S., Miles, T., Saba, G., Kohut, J., & Schofield, O. (2021). Case study: RUCOOL Operational Oceanography Masters—workforce development case study. Preparing a Workforce for the New Blue Economy. Elsevier, 2021.


    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences

    RUCOOL continues to lead/attend numerous virtual meetings. Here are some meetings which our team attended and/or presented: National Ocean Science Board meeting (virtual tour of RUCOOL), Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean (MACO) Ocean Forum, OceanGliders Best Practices Workshop (hosted and presented), Mid Atlantic Telemetry Observation System Annual Meeting, New York Environmental Technical Working Group State of the Science Workshop Culmination Webinar, Raritan Yacht Club MARACOOS Meeting, G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative (FSOI), Priorities for Weather Research (PWR) Report to Congress.