WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has introduced legislation to reauthorize and provide support to the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The network provides scientists and researchers with vital information about the nation’s coasts and oceans, as well as the Great Lakes. Wicker’s proposal, titled “Coordinated Ocean Monitoring and Research Act,” S.1886, is cosponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
“This program helps improve weather forecasting, energy siting and production, and marine navigation safety,” Wicker said. “Mississippi’s Gulf Coast particularly benefits from the network’s important collection of coastal hazards and fisheries data. My bill would also ensure that our university research teams are equipped with the tools they need to continue conducting critical scientific studies.”
IOOS, first authorized in 2009 by the “Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing Act,” comprises a partnership of 17 federal agencies and 11 regional associations. The network supports a wide range of missions, including national defense, search-and-rescue operations, marine commerce, navigation safety, weather, economic development, and ecosystem-based marine resource management.
More than 50 percent of the marine data now assembled and disseminated by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center – located in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, and part of IOOS – is from non-federal sources.
Ocean modeling teams based at Stennis – made up of the Navy, the GCOOS-RA, University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University, NOAA, and others – coordinate to develop the best physical and ecosystem models on the Gulf. The NOAA National Weather Service uses the Navy model results for their public safety hurricane forecasts.