3.6 Establishing an Ecological Forecasting System: Predicting Sea Nettles in the Chesapeake Bay

Thursday, 27 January 2011: 2:45 PM
602/603 (Washington State Convention Center)
Christopher Brown, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, Camp Springs, MD; and D. Green

Several challenges exist in transitioning ecological forecasts from research to operations. NOAA has a long history of forecasting weather, tides, currents, floods, and fish stock through its various Line Offices and partnerships. Its portfolio of experimental ecological models has grown and matured and the infrastructure to tackle a broader suite of multidisciplinary and regional management issues has been developed. However, the lack of a robust framework and approach enabling transition of these models and derived forecasts, scenarios, and projections into sustained and durable environmental services limits the ability to meet user needs. The evaluation of requirements for service and operational improvement indicate that the integration of ecosystem and biogeochemistry models with existing climate, water and weather models is needed for ecosystem-based management and this shortfall presents unique development challenges. This presentation will examine several of these challenges and provide examples of marine and coastal demonstration projects at NOAA in transition. In particular, a project to forecast the presence of Sea Nettles, a stinging jellyfish, in the Chesapeake Bay will be highlighted. This pathfinder activity represents the first step to develop a framework and repeatable process for generating guidance and future transitioning of ecological forecasts and knowledge-based products into operations, and a test case for an integrated environmental service (IES) at NOAA, where NOAA line offices contribute their capabilities to operationally generate and disseminate a NOAA unique and relevant product.
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