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Coastal Ocean Modeling and Observation Program

June 1998 - January 2002

Project Summary:


Temporal and spatial scales relevant to phytoplankton productivity ad the sampling platforms to be used in the New York Bight. Based upon Dickey (1991). The spatial/temporal sampling scales for both the observational platforms (delineated by darkened squares) and the parameters of interest (delineated by circles) are presented.


There is a growing consensus that multiple driving forces are adversely impacting coastal waters (cf. Sherman et al. 1996) and that effective means to monitor the nearshore coastal ocean need to be developed (IOC 1992).  Central to this task is defining biological responses to physical changes in the environment on daily, weekly, seasonal and interannual time scales.  Bio-optical techniques can predict algal biomass and primary productivity in a non-intrusive manner over ecologically relevant scales and have shown great promise in offshore waters where phytoplankton represent the dominant optical component (Case 1 Waters; Dickey 1991, Bidigare et al. 1992, Morel 1988, 1991).  Application of these approaches however can be problematic in the nearshore coastal waters (often Case 2 waters), especially when episodic events (sediment resuspension, outwelling, onwelling, and upwelling) can dramatically alter the optical complexity on the time scale of hours.  Refinement of these approaches will therefore require consideration of the physical forcing of the sources and sinks of radiant energy in the coastal ocean. 

The Coastal Ocean Modeling and Observation Program (COMOP) was initiated in 1993 by oceanographers at the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences working with engineers from the Ocean Systems Laboratory of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  A long-term goal of COMOP is the construction of a real-time, multiplatform, adaptive sampling network coupled to a data-assimilative numerical model for use in coastal nowcasting and forecasting applications.  The initial focus of these efforts has been on the New York Bight (NYB), specifically (a) episodic upwelling and the effects on phytoplankton and ocean optical properties; (b) storm-driven sediment transport; and (c) interactions of the coastal ocean with estuaries and inlets.  This focus is based on the predictable locations of the upwelling centers, the development of a regional data-assimilation dynamical model, the large impact these recurrent upwelling centers have on nearshore optical properties and the relationship of these centers to recurrent regions of hypoxia/anoxia in the NYB.

People Involved:

  • Dr. Mark Moline, Principal Investigator
  • Dwight Peterson, Undergraduate
  • Erica Peters, Undergraduate
  • Taylor Newton, Undergraduate


Scott Glenn


Field work

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