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.

  • Hurricane Gliders 2021

    Posted on May 3rd, 2021 Scott Glenn No comments

    Today marks the start of our 10th year of dedicated storm glider flights, and the 4th year of the international North Atlantic hurricane glider picket lines.  Just like the hurricanes in nature, we are spinning up the hurricane glider deployments and the hurricane blog before the official start of hurricane season.  Our objective, to help keep the ocean components of the forecast models on track well ahead of any hurricane, requires us to mover to earlier and earlier underwater glider deployments.

    The hurricane blog is about the ocean, how the ocean is impacted by the intense hurricane forcing, and how the ocean feeds back on hurricane intensity.  We care about the full continuous spectrum of intensity change, including the “human-defined” rapid intensification, and also rapid weakening. Over the last few years of the hurricane glider picket line, we have defined the Essential Ocean Features that impact North Atlantic hurricane intensity, and have noted that they are regionally dependent.  Our 4 hurricane regions, based on the Essential Ocean Features they contain, are the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the South Atlantic Bight, and the Mid Atlantic Bight.  These regions roughly correspond to the U.S. IOOS Regional Association locations, with the simple caveat that nature is not constrained by national boundaries, and we must include the other national and international waters adjacent to our IOOS Regions in our hurricane analyses.

    The 2021 hurricane blog will focus on a comparison of two operational global ocean models [NOAA’s Real Time Ocean Forecast System (RTOFS) and the Navy’s Global Ocean Forecast System (GOFS)] and three regional coupled atmosphere ocean forecast models (HWRF, HMON and HAFS).  We also focus on the use of profile data from underwater gliders and Argo floats, and the evaluation of the ocean component of these models with the profile data.  This serves as another set of eyes looking at the ocean models that are already undergoing their regular evaluation processes as part of these national efforts.

    This blog is also intended to support student research. This is where we leave that trail of bread crumbs that document the research issues we discover as we move through the hurricane season, making it easier to retrace events during the end of season look-backs,  and hopefully providing students opportunities to jump right into research studies that will have an impact.

    This year we are starting the season early.  The first hurricane glider was deployed in the Mid Atlantic on May 3.  We’ll start seeing its data making it through the system in about a day.  We’ll start by looking at the general conditions for the Mid Atlantic before today’s glider is assimilated.



  • RUCOOL Updates: February – March 2021

    Posted on April 16th, 2021 Mike Crowley No comments

    The spring semester is well underway as the team works on numerous research proposals for the coming year with April deadlines. We are all looking forward to the spring warming and the fully loaded summer field season ahead.



    • In support of the SEBS Virtual Learning Experience, Josh Kohut discussed offshore wind energy development in the Mid-Atlantic Bight, the important environmental considerations, how it will affect our ocean and planet in the short and long terms, and how Rutgers is involved in delivering high tech ocean solutions to the development of this state-of-the-art industry to the U.S.
    • Mike Crowley, as Technical Director of RUCOOL and the Mid Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS), represented MARACOOS and Rutgers on capitol hill visits with the offices of Senator Cory Booker, Rep. Mikie Sherrill, Rep. Frank Pallone and Rep. Chris Smith. Discussions focused on RUCOOL contributions to NWS tropical storm forecasting, NOAA fisheries bycatch mitigation, NJ offshore wind development and mitigating interference with right whale migrations during turbine installations, NJDEP water quality monitoring and K-16 education.
    • The RUCOOL ECO-PAM glider project with Orsted’s Ocean Wind project completed its fourth scheduled deployment off of New Jersey. Detections of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale coincided with an oceanic front towards the edge of the continental shelf detected via satellite sea surface temperature and RUCOOL high frequency radar surface currents, an interesting and first-time finding. Glider deployments will resume this fall.
    • Late winter is usually a quiet time for the mid-Atlantic glider deployments, but this February and March we supported 5 deployments of gliders in the NY Bight that are doing water quality research for NJDEP, ocean acidification monitoring for NOAA, and tracking right whale migrations off of Atlantic City for Orsted. It promises to be a busy glider year ahead.
    • Operational Oceanography students have finally been able to participate in covid-safe field work through a return to research, gaining valuable hands-on experience in the field! Students are in the final stages of submitting their project abstracts to the student poster competition at the Marine Technology Society OCEANS conference, learning to effectively communicate their science.
    • Grace Saba presented an invited talk entitled “Ocean and Coastal Acidification in the Mid-Atlantic: The What, the Why, and the Risks” for the Hooked on Ocean Acidification Mini-Series sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network (MACAN) and MARACOOS.
    • RU COOL faculty continue teaching seven courses including Oceanography Seminar, Topics in Marine Science, Operational Ocean Modeling, Polar Systems, Integrated Ocean Observations 2, Science Pseudoscience and Society, and Field Laboratory Methods 2.
    • During this semester, RUCOOL faculty are working with 8 interns including George H. Cook Honors students Noah Motz, Christina Schultz, Mollie Passacantando and Marissa Guzik, SEBS Honors students Miah Manning and Emma Huntzinger, and EBE students Kiernan Bates and Aviva Lerman.



    • Brad Colman, a meteorologist with the Climate Corporation, and Scott Glenn, an oceanographer from Rutgers University, have been selected by the NOAA Science Advisory Board to co-lead the Priorities for Weather Research (PWR) Report to Congress (RtC) due in December of 2021. They will assemble and lead a group from across the Weather Enterprise that will recommend priorities for the next decade of Congressional investments in observations & data assimilation, forecasting, and information delivery to improve weather forecasts and warnings through an Earth Systems, Social, and Behavioral Sciences approach.
    • The education and outreach team was involved with numerous activities including serving as a judge in the Youth Institute, acting as a rules judge in the 2021 Shore Bowl, teaching a Broader Impacts class on effective partnerships for the ARIS Center (Advancing Research Impacts in Society), and serving as panelists for the OOI re-siting of the Pioneer Array meeting, Additionally, the education team had 3 New Brunswick HS students selected to participate in the NJSTEM Month Communities Challenge -from our 4-H STEM Ambassador program. Alesha Vega on our team mentored these youth to present a project to 10 community judges including State Assemblymen. See
    • The education team posted the 3 more articles from our 2020 OOI Data Labs fellows, which showcase the lessons they developed using the OOI Data Explorations, and the lessons they’ve learned using these resources, which many found especially helpful for adapting to the pandemic. The OOI Data Labs project has truly become a national resource for ocean science educators as we have passed 150 members: Data Labs Community Map.
    • The education team began posting more new videos for the Polar Literacy Principles, specifically 1-location, 4-food & 6-humans.
    • PhD student Elizabeth Wright-Fairbanks presented a talk entitled “Glider-based observations reveal seasonal pH and aragonite saturation state variability in coastal U.S. Mid-Atlantic shellfishery management zones” at the National Shellfisheries Association annual meeting.



    • Grace Saba presented an invited talk entitled “Toward a better understanding of fish-based contribution to ocean carbon flux” for the Joint Exploration of the Twilight Zone Ocean Network monthly meeting.
    • Grace Saba was a co-presenter with Emma Cavan and Simeon Hill of an invited talk entitled “Fish, fisheries, and carbon sequestration” at the international symposium Delivering on climate & biodiversity targets through better fisheries management.


    Newly Funded Research

    • University of Delaware, “Transport of Freshwater on Antarctic Shelves,” Josh Kohut ($22,923).
    • Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CARICOOS, NOAA), “HF-Radar Site Support,” Hugh Roarty, ($60,000)
    • 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” Oscar Schofield ($471,920)


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

    • Saba, G.K., Burd, A.B., Dunne, J.P., Hernández-León, S., Martin, A.H., Rose, K.A., Salisbury, J., Steinberg, D.K., Trueman, C.N., Wilson, R.W., Wilson, S.E. 2021. Toward a better understanding of fish-based contribution to ocean carbon flux. Limnology and Oceanography: doi:10.1002/lno.11709.
    • **Nardelli, S., Cimino, M., Conroy, J. A., Fraser, W., Steinberg, D., Schofield, O. 2021. Krill availability in Adelie and Gentoo foraging regions south of Anvers Island, Antarctica. Limnology Oceanography DOI: 10.1002/lno.11750
    • **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
    • **Brown, S., Bowman, J. S., Lin, Y., Cassar, N., Schofield, O. 2021. Low diversity of key phytoplankton groups along the West Antarctic Peninsula. Limnology and Oceanography. DOI: 10.1002/lno.11765
    • Bailey, K., Sipps, K., Saba, G.K., Arbuckle-Keil, G., Chant, R.J., Fahrenfeld, N.L. 2021. Quantification and composition of microplastics in the Raritan Hudson Estuary: Comparison to pathways of entry and implications for fate. Chemosphere 272: 129886, doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.129886.
    • Optis, M., Kumler, A., Brodie, J., Miles, T. (2021). Quantifying sensitivity in numerical weather prediction‐modeled offshore wind speeds through an ensemble modeling approach. Wind Energy. DOI: 10.1002/we.2611


    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences

    RUCOOL continues to attend numerous virtual meetings. Here is a sample of meetings which our team attended and/or presented: National Academies of Sciences and Engineering 2021 Ocean Decade Summit,  Understanding Gulf Oceans Systems (UGOS) Summit 2021, National Shellfisheries Association annual meeting, IOOS Annual Spring Meeting, SEBS Virtual Learning Experience, Underwater Glider Users Group Bi-Monthly Meeting, Navy Glider Hotwash Meeting, Ocean Decade US Launch Meeting on the UN Decade, Responsible Offshore Science Alliance (ROSA) Meeting, and the OOI Pioneer Array resiting meeting.


  • RUCOOL Updates: Dec. 2020 to Jan. 2021

    Posted on February 11th, 2021 Mike Crowley No comments

    University classes may have been closed for half of the reporting period, but as you will see, this has been a very busy time for the RUCOOL team in research, national strategic planning meetings, operations and in the virtual classroom.


    • Three days, two thesis defenses: On December 14, Sarah Murphy presented her Master’s Thesis defense entitled “Coastal Upwelling and the Offshore Wind Environment”. On December 16th, Cliff Watkins wrapped up his PhD. with his dissertation presentation on “Mixed Layer Dynamics: Exploring the Impact of Storms in the Mid Atlantic Bight.”
    • Grace Saba attended the OA Alliance (International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification) U.S. State meeting as part of her efforts with Jeanne Herb (Rutgers, Bloustein) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to develop an ocean acidification Action Plan for the state of New Jersey.
    • RUCOOL graduate student Emily Slesinger just published the second paper from her thesis, co-authored with Grace Saba. The paper is “Spawning phenology of rapidly shifting marine fish species throughout its range.”
    • RU COOL faculty completed teaching their seven courses in the fall and have begun seven new courses for the spring including: Oceanography Seminar, Topics in Marine Science, Operational Ocean Modeling, Topics Course in Polar Systems, Integrated Ocean Observations 2, Science Pseudoscience and Society, and Field Laboratory Methods 2.
    • Scott Glenn is serving as the faculty advisor to an Engineering Capstone Project team developing phone apps for underwater glider operators.
    • Beginning in January, the RUCOOL team has refocused on outreach by improving our web and social media presence. We have linked our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin pages through the web page to more efficiently get our story out to students, researchers, funding agencies and the public.
    • Josh Kohut and Joe Brodie attended the Time for Turbines ( meeting. It was a 4th annual NJ focused offshore wind conference.  The meeting was a mix of panels, plenary and keynote sessions with RUCOOL well represented, including Joe who was an invited environmental panelist.
    • RUCOOL faculty met with Monmouth University marine science faculty with a goal of establishing connections between MU undergraduates and the RU Masters in Operational Oceanography program. Our second cohort of Masters of OO students completed their first semester, which included drafts of their initial thesis proposals that they presented at the weekly RUCOOL science meeting.


    • In January, NOAA hosted a workshop entitled “Integrating Ocean Observations to Improve NOAA’s Hurricane Intensity Forecasts”. RUCOOL/DMCS faculty, staff and graduate students participated throughout the workshop, including presentations by John Wilkin on the “Current State and Future Plans of Modeling and Data Assimilation Efforts for Hurricane Intensity Forecast: ROMS ocean model and DA” and by Scott Glenn on “Observing the Upper Ocean During Hurricanes: The Value of Coordinated Ocean Observations,” in a session moderated by Travis Miles. The overarching goal for the 150+ attendees was to develop a framework for coordinated ocean observing in support of hurricane intensity science and forecasting.
    • Janice McDonnell and Sage Lichtenwaler were the lead authors on a chapter for the Ocean Observatories Initiative Science Plan released in January 2021. The chapter was entitled “Using Real-World Data from the Ocean Observatories Initiative in Teaching”.
    • In December, the RUCOOL Education Team wrapped up their first pilot test of lab manual, “Exploration the Ocean with OOI Data“, a collection of laboratory exercises featuring data from the Ocean Observatories Initiative. The pilot included 20 undergraduate faculty from around the country.
    • The Education Team completed training for deans/administrators from five Big 10 universities. They leveraged the Broader Impacts Wizard that they completed in January in partnership with the Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS).
    • As part of a new NSF IUSE project with Rider University (Improving Undergraduate Scientific Explanations: Exploring the Role of Data Literacy Skills in Scientific Reasoning), Sage Lichtenwalner worked with faculty at Rider University to develop a series of new Data Explorations that will be pilot tested by students in the spring semester.
    • The Education Team rebranded the COSEE NOW YouTube channel to Rutgers Marine Sciences Education. We have posted the first two of 10 new videos that will promote Polar Literacy Principles and Polar scientists.
    • On Thursday, January 28, RUCOOL’s Josh Kohut and Joe Brodie co-hosted (with Rutgers Cooperative Extension) its 2021 Partners in Science Workshop: Identifying Ecological Metrics and Sampling Strategies for Baseline Monitoring During Offshore Wind Development. The workshop, sponsored by the NJ Board of Public Utilities, was attended by over 80 individuals representing federal and state agencies, the commercial and recreational fishing industries, the offshore wind industry, environmental groups, and academics throughout the region.
    • The NOAA Science Advisory Board’s Environmental Services Working Group (EISWG), co-chaired by Brad Colman from the Climate Corporation and Scott Glenn, continued to ramp up activities in support of the Congressional Weather Act. These include: (a) Joint meetings with the Climate working group on NOAA’s many service delivery programs; (b) Initiation of reviews of NOAA’s Seasonal to Subseasonal Forecast Plan and the Weather Radar Plan; (c) Follow up on its review for the Hurricane Forecast Improvement plan; (d) Restructuring of its annual Report to Congress procedure for 2021; and (e) Responding to a new request from Congress to, by the end of 2021, provide a report identifying future priorities for Congressional investment in the National Weather Service.
    • RUCOOL undergraduate student, Allison Proszowski, presented a talk at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting entitled “Assessing the Impact of Spatial Variability and Wake Effects on Power Prediction for NJ Offshore Wind Energy Area.”


    • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Ocean Studies Board (Scott Glenn is a member) that forms the U.S. Committee to define the U.S. contribution to the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, reviewed the nearly 100 OceanShot submissions, engaged early career representatives, and developed the agenda for the February 2021 launch meeting for the U.S. response.
    • RUCOOL is one of the key initial partners in the proposed Caribe Corredores project to improve climate monitoring and hurricane forecasting in the Caribbean Corridor for the U.N. Ocean Decade. The proposal was submitted to the U.S. Committee as an OceanShot and to the U.N. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission as a collaborative project from the Global Ocean Observing Systems Regional Alliance for the Caribbean. The Caribe Corredores project was accepted as one of the OceanShot posters to be presented at the U.S, launch.
    • Grace Saba was one of several collaborative experts that published a comprehensive assessment of the status quo and future of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean that surrounds it. See the press release from Alfred Wegener Institute (here) and the paper now published in Biological Reviews:
    • Grace Saba and Scott Glenn participated in the global OceanOPS OceanGliders Steering Committee as the leads of the Ecosystems Working Group and the Storms Working Group, respectively.
    • As lead of the SWARM Antarctica project, Josh Kohut hosted a series of virtual meetings entitled the SWARM Science Extravaganza that included several members of the RUCOOL team and numerous global partners. The 4 day meeting covered topics on Antarctic Physics, Phytoplankton & Mammals, Krill, and integrative science.

    Newly Funded Research

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

    • Slesinger, E., Jensen, O., Saba, G.K. Spawning phenology of a rapidly shifting marine fish species throughout its range. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsaa252.
    • Gutt, J., Isla, E., Xavier, J., Adams, B., Ahn, I.-Y., Cheng, C.-H., Colesi, C., Cummings, V., di Prisco, G., Griffiths, H., Hawes, I., Hogg, I., McIntyre, T., Meiners, K., Pearse, D., Peck, L., Piepenburg, D., Reisinger, R., Saba, G.K., Schloss, I., Signori, C., Smith, C.R., Vacchi, M., Verde, C., Wall, D. 2020. Antarctic ecosystems in transition – life between stresses and opportunities. Biological Reviews, doi:1111/brv.12679.
    • Literature Review: Miles, T., Murphy, S., Kohut, J., Borsetti, S., Munroe, D. Dec. 2020. Could federal wind farms influence continental shelf oceanography and alter associated ecological processes? Science Center for Marine Fisheries.

    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences

    RUCOOL continues to attend numerous virtual meetings. Here is a sample of meetings which our team attended and/or presented: OceanOPS Ocean Gliders Steering Committee meeting, American Geophysical Union Meeting, UG2 Gliders Meeting, Hurricane Glider Hotwash, NYSERDA State of the Science workshop, OA Alliance (International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification), NOAA NEFSC State of the Ecosystem synthesis workshop, Integrating Ocean Observations to Improve NOAA’s Hurricane Intensity Forecasts, NJ Partners in Science Workshop. SWARM 4 Day Workshop, Time for Turbines, Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean.

  • RUCOOL Updates: October & November 2020

    Posted on December 15th, 2020 Mike Crowley No comments

    As we near the end of the fall 2020 semester, our team remains healthy and productive having followed the Rutgers COVID-19 guidelines and our own procedures for staying safe. We wish you all a healthy and safe start to 2021.


    • RU COOL faculty continue to be involved in teaching 7 classes this Fall term.  Courses include: Software Bootcamp, Ocean Observing, Ocean Modeling and Synthesis, Biological Oceanography, Waves and Sediment Transport, Undergraduate Ocean Observing, Freshmen Oceanography House.
    • Grace Saba gave invited presentations at the New Jersey Water Monitoring Council meeting hosted by NJDEP and the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists annual meeting. Grace’s PhD student Emily Slesinger and undergraduate student Kernan Bates both presented a talk at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter American Fisheries Society meeting.
    • The second cohort of the Masters in Operational Oceanography program is wrapping up its first semester. In addition to successfully engaging with remote learning, the students led the remote operations of an underwater glider, deployed for 2 months in the Caribbean.
    • Operational Oceanography Program Alumna Julia Engdahl was recently recognized by NOAA for her paper “Bringing Sea Level Rise to Life with GIS and Python”. Julia created a code-based animation of sea level rise from NOAA stations which was recently incorporated into NOAA’s National GeoPlatform.
    • The Ørsted ECO-PAM glider, RU34, conducted its second mission from October 3 through November 5. During that mission, it detected 17 tagged fish, along with humpback whales on 5 days and fin whales on 23 days. The glider was redeployed for its third mission on November 19, and detected its first North Atlantic Right Whale the next day. (link:
    • RU COOL was invited to film a 5-minute documentary on its ECO-PAM project with Ørsted as part of the AGU TV series associated with the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The video featured footage of the glider team, and interviews with Josh Kohut and Joseph Brodie. (link to video:


    • Scott Glenn chaired the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Environmental Information Services Working Group (EISWG) Task Team for the review of NOAA’s Response to Congress on the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program (HFIP). The HFIP Review was approved by EISWG for submission to the SAB, and the SAB approved it for submission to the NOAA Administrator and Congress.   Scott Glenn was commended for his use of external Subject Matter Experts to strengthen the review, an approach that set a new bar for EISWG and was subsequently adopted by SAB.  Scott was appointed Acting Co-chair of the full EISWG, pending his approval by the full SAB.
    • The RUCOOL Glider Team was involved in deploying, piloting or recovering 11 gliders in October and November for 5 funded projects that include research on hurricane intensity in the mid-Atlantic and Caribbean, and whale migrations and water quality along NJ. The R/Vs Rutgers and Arabella were used extensively for deployment and recoveries out of Tuckerton. Data from all of these gliders can be found here.
    • Travis Miles is the regional lead, coordinating the deployment of gliders during hurricanes and tropical cyclones. The team captured ocean upwelling and cooling ahead of and during tropical storm Isaias, which lead to widespread damage and power outages throughout New Jersey. Investigations of the oceans feedback on the storm are ongoing.
    •  The Rutgers Hurricane Blog finished the 2020 hurricane season with 50 entries contributed by Scott Glenn and Travis Miles. The regional distribution of hurricane blog entries reflects the extremely active hurricane season experienced in the Gulf of Mexico (58% of entries), and the many scientific investigations this season will launch. In the Mid Atlantic, Hurricane Isaias was identified as a third type of MAB hurricane resulting in rapid co-evolution of the ocean and atmosphere.  We now have Isaias as an onshore storm resulting in coastal upwelling and rapid ocean cooling possibly contributing to storm weakening, Irene as continental shelf storm resulting in rapid mixing, ocean cooling and storm weakening, and Sandy as an offshore storm resulting in rapid downwelling that leaves the sea surface warm and promotes intensification.
    • Oscar Schofield was elected to the Board of Trustees for the Consortium of Ocean Leadership (2021-2023).
    • The RUCOOL Education team completed their online after school program in Boulder, Colorado, which was focused on teaching 6th graders about polar science.
    • RUCOOL invites you to read our Education Team’s blog on Antarctica Week at
    • The Education Team continues to work on the Broader Impacts Wizard and participate in an ARIS – Organization Research Impact Capacity (ORIC) Program with Purdue, Michigan State, University of Nebraska, U.C. Berkeley, and the University of Idaho.
    • The Data Labs Blog had numerous articles added that focus on Ocean Observing Education, storytelling with data, Python tutorials and examples of Labs.


    • Oscar Schofield was chosen by NSF-NASA-NOAA to co-chair the G7 Global Biogeochemical Array International Virtual Meeting in 2021.
    • Scott Glenn and Travis Miles continue to build the Caribe Corredores international partnership for improved hurricane forecasting working with Global Ocean Observing System’s regional alliance IOCARIBE. An OceanShots proposal was submitted to the U.S. National Academies’ Committee for the U.N. Ocean Decade in preparation for the broader January submission to UNESCO.


    • Emily Slesinger (PhD student, Saba) received the Best Student Oral Presentation Award at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter American Fisheries Society meeting. Congratulations to Emily and her mentor, Grace Saba!
    • The Rutgers 4-H STEM Ambassador Team received the SEBS/NJAES Team Excellence Award. Congrats to Janice McDonnell, Christine Bean, Alesha Vega and the rest of the team!

    Newly Funded Research

    • University of Delaware (NOAA-IOOS), “Mid-Atlantic Glider Support of Hurricane Intensity Forecasts”, T. Miles ($443,749).
    • National Science Foundation Supplemental, “Engaging Faculty and Students in Learning with OOI Data Explorations”, J. McDonnell ($98,000).
    • Woods Hold Institute of Oceanography “Wind Mapping from HF RADAR Measurements”, H. Roarty ($59,587).

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

    • Roarty, H., Glenn, S., Brodie, J., Nazzaro, L., Smith, M., Handel, E., Josh Kohut, Teresa Updyke, Larry Atkinson, William Boicourt, Wendell Brown, Harvey Seim, Mike Muglia, Haixing Wang, and Donglai Gong. (2020). Annual and seasonal surface circulation over the Mid-Atlantic Bight Continental Shelf derived from a decade of High Frequency Radar observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 125, e2020JC016368. DOI: 10.1029/2020JC016368
    • **Wright‐Fairbanks, E. K., Miles, T. N., Cai, W.‐J., Chen, B., & Saba, G. K. (2020). Autonomous observation of seasonal carbonate chemistry dynamics in the Mid‐Atlantic Bight. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 125, e2020JC016505. DOI: 10.1029/2020JC016505.
    • Seroka, G., Fredj, E., and Dunk, R. (2020). Analysis of Sea Breeze Types Using WRF and Lagrangian Methods: Update Using RU-WRF Configuration AquaWind, LLC
    • **Watkins, C., Daniel B. Whitt, D. (2020). Large-aspect-ratio structures in simulated ocean surface boundary layer turbulence under a hurricane. 2020. J. Phys. Oceanography 1–70. DOI: 10.1175/JPO-D-20-0134.1
    • Eichhorn, M., Aragon, D., Shardt, Y., Roarty, H. (2020). Modeling for the performance of navigation, control and data postprocessing of underwater gliders. Applied Ocean Research 101.
    • Yousefvand, M., Wu, C.-T. M., Wang, R.-Q., Brodie, J., & Mandayam, N. (2020). Modeling the Impact of 5G Leakage on Weather Prediction. In 2020 IEEE 3rd 5G World Forum (5GWF) (pp. 291–296). IEEE.

    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences

    Though there were no in person meetings due to COVID, there were plenty of virtual meetings during the last two months which our team attended and/or presented: New Jersey Water Monitoring Council meeting hosted by NJDEP, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists annual meeting, Mid-Atlantic Chapter American Fisheries Society meeting, MARACOOS Annual Meeting, MTS Global Oceans, AGU Ocean Sciences, RODA Fisheries and Offshore Wind Energy: Synthesis of the Science, NYSERDA Workshop: State of the Science on Offshore Wind – Cumulative Impacts to Wildlife.

  • Hurricane Iota

    Posted on November 16th, 2020 Scott Glenn No comments

    Just a quick placeholder post as we approach the winter analysis phase.  Yesterday’s forecast for Iota intensification looks to be happening today. Looks like the hurricane forecasters are making good use of the HWRF guidance. Their discussion was about  high sea surface temperatures, low wind shear, and high moisture contents.

  • Hurricane Eta – Low Wind Shear, High SST

    Posted on November 2nd, 2020 Scott Glenn No comments

    Today’s 10 am Discussion on the National Hurricane Center reflects a common theme:

    "Low vertical wind shear and warm sea surface temperatures ahead of Eta are expected to 
    allow for continued rapid strengthening during the next 12 to 24 hours."

    We see  the forecasters are keying in on the relative impacts of vertical wind shear and sea surface temperature to help them turn the intensity guidance they get from decision aids into their intensity forecasts.  Current shear and SST conditions are prompting the call for a Cat 4 hurricane:

    "The updated NHC intensity forecast is above all of the 
    intensity aids and now calls for Eta to become a category 4 
    hurricane before it nears the coast of Nicaragua."

    Step 2, lets look at those conditions in OceansMap.  We see a rich mesoscale across the central Caribbean as Eta tracks from the Windward Islands to Nicaragua. Even the green colors in this image are above 28.75C.

    Step 3, check out the regional hurricane model forecast guidance:

    Here is the most recent posting on the website for HWRF and HMON (intensity on upper right), with HMON a low Cat 3 and HWRF a high Cat 3. The short black line indicates that the best track is following the growth curves for HMON and HWRF.  Official forecast in this forecast interval is taking Eta up to the edge of Cat 3.

  • Tropical Storm Zeta

    Posted on October 25th, 2020 Scott Glenn No comments

    The 11 am National Hurricane Center discussion notes the importance of the ocean impacts on Zeta’s intensity in three locations.

    1. In the current location, the low shear and high ocean heat content in the western Caribbean favor intensification.
    2. As Zeta crosses the central Gulf, increasing shear and diminishing ocean heat content is expected to prevent intensification.
    3. As Zeta approaches the northern Gulf, the unfavorable ocean and atmospheric conditions could cause zeta to weaken beyond what is in the official forecast.

    Below is the present regional guidance (HWRF in purple, HMON in green), and what we anticipate will evolve into future guidance, the experimental HAFS model (light blue). The tracks (left image) from these three models have converged since last night, and that makes them easier to compare.  Zeta should be going over similar oceans in these models, something to check.  On the top right is the intensity plot. The official intensity forecast (red) is above the model consensus. HAFS looks to be below the official forecast, keeping Zeta below hurricane strength as it approaches Yucatan.  The operational models are showing the Zeta intensifying as it approaches Yucatan, with HMON going to Cat 3 and HWRF going to a high Cat 2.   These models appear to be the ones that include the impact of the high ocean heat content in the western Gulf that the forecasters are saying favor intensification.