The Rutgers University Center of Ocean Observing Leadership integrates across interdisciplinary scientific research, education and outreach and the application of an operational ocean observing system. Faculty and students comprising the scientific teams participate in collaborative research programs in which academic, industry and government partnerships are forged between physicists and biologists, between scientists and engineers, and between observationalists and modelers. The education group is the focal point for outreach activities to the K-12 community and to non-science majors within Rutgers. The Operations Center maintains a sustained coastal ocean observatory that provides real-time ocean data to the research and education groups and also serves as the training ground for Operational Oceanography students.

The COOL Operations Center


The COOL Operations Center maintains the world’s most advanced coastal ocean observatory. State-of-the-art sampling capabilities are continuously upgraded as new technologies developed and demonstrated by the research group are immediately transitioned into the operational setting of the Center. Cost-effective sustained spatial sampling of the coastal ocean is accomplished with a variety of new platforms and sensors that include: (1) the local acquisition of satellite imagery from the international constellation of thermal infrared and ocean color sensors, (2) a triple-nested multi-static HF radar network for surface current mapping and waves, (3) a fleet of long-duration autonomous underwater gliders equipped with physical and optical sensors, and (4) a cabled observatory for water column time series. Raw datasets are shared with a variety of super-users throughout the U.S. for real-time backups, data archiving, and advanced product generation. Operational data products are produced in real time and displayed on the World Wide Web for use by scientists, educators, decision-makers and the general public. Website access peaks in the summer, reaching 7,000,000 hits.

CODAR HF Radar Network

codarsiteCODARs are compact HF radar systems that provide a current mapping, wave monitoring and ship tracking capability. COOL has continuously operated CODAR HF radars since 1999. COOL currently owns and operates 24 individual CODAR HF radars including a three nested multi-static network in the New York Bight and Palmer Deep Antarctica. Traditional HF radars operate in a monostatic backscatter mode, where the transmitter and receiver are collocated. Multi-static operation, enabled by GPS-based synchronization, allows a radar receiver to acquire signals from any radar transmitter within range. This transforms N individual mono-static radars into a network of N2 multi-static radars, increasing both the coverage area and the accuracy of the derived current fields. Nesting is achieved by operating at different frequencies, in our case 5 MHz, 13 MHz and 25 MHz. Higher frequencies result in higher resolution but over shorter ranges. The long range 5 MHz network is deployed from Cape May, NJ to Cape Cod, MA providing coverage of the continental shelf out beyond the shelf break and consists of 10 sites. We partner with others institutions to extend coverage down to Cape Hatteras. The intermediate 13 MHz network is along the entire New Jersey coast and consists of 7 sites. The high-resolution 25 MHz network is deployed at the entrance to and within New York Harbor and Delaware Bay - each of which has 3 sites. These sites are gps synchronized providing additional bistatic fields of component vectors.

Teledyne Webb Slocum Glider Fleet

gliderInWaterSlocum Gliders are autonomous underwater vehicles that propel themselves through the water by changing their buoyancy and using their wings to glide in a sawtooth pattern through the water column along a subsurface transect. At user specified intervals, the glider surfaces, transmits its data to shore via the Iridium satellite system, and checks its email boxes for new directions or missions. The Slocum Gliders have been operated jointly by COOL scientists and Webb Research Corporation engineers in science experiments since 1999, transitioning to sustained deployments by the COOL Operations Center in 2003. Since then, the gliders have logged over 140,000 km of sampling in remote places such as Antarctica, Alaska, Norway, and in regions closer to home including the New York Bight, offshore Massachusetts, Virginia and Florida. The fleet of 15 now includes long duration gliders capable of several months of flight, stemming from the historic mission of RU27, the first glider to cross an ocean basin. Sensors on the gliders currently include a SeaBird CTD and a payload bay capable of carrying one of several optical sensors, including fluorometers and backscatter meters, a Beam Attenuation Meter (BAM), a hyperspectral spectrophotometer (Breve Buster), or a Fluorescence Induction and Relaxation (FIRe) sensor. A mission control center monitors glider progress on current missions and alerts operators of any problems. Artificial intelligence is being added to the mission control center using an Agent oriented programming approach similar to NASA’s approach for intelligent spacecraft. Reactive Agents are currently used to make many of the yes/no control decisions while Planning Agents are being developed to adjust flight paths to optimize sampling for specific goals.

RU-COOL Computing Facilities

The RU-COOL lab has extensive computing facilities and data distribution systems. The labutilizes 9 multi-processor linux compute servers for the automated acquisition, processing and visualization of datsets. In addition to this, the lab has 2 web servers for distributing the processed and raw datasets. The systems are administered by a 3 person technical computing team and have extremely high up times (~99%). All of the datasets are stored on a local networked fileserver (9Tb capacity currently) with snapshots for the previous 7 days, weekly and monthly for redundancy.