New Faces...and New Directions
by Jennifer Read, GLOS Executive Director
Welcome to Lake Views, the new e-newsletter of the Great Lakes Observing System! On a quarterly basis, you and other valued GLOS partners and constituents will receive this "snapshot" of significant new developments as we strengthen linkages between the research community and managers addressing human health, natural resources, and commercial and recreational navigation.
This is but one of several new developments in the few months since my appointment as executive director of GLOS. We have also welcomed two new Board members, launched a new web interface, and announced a series of new products and services. And, perhaps most importantly, the organization and its many partners have positioned GLOS to play a strong role in broader efforts to achieve the region's goals for ecosystem restoration, protection and sustainable use.
My tenure as GLOS executive director officially began in August 2008, although I have tracked, with interest, its formative stages through my past, and continuing, capacity as assistant director of the Michigan Sea Grant College Program. GLOS was established in 2006 as a nonprofit corporation in Michigan and one of 11 regional nodes of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). As the lone freshwater component of IOOS, GLOS is paving the way for improved water management and data exchange across the international Great Lakes region.
I am privileged to work with a very talented and dedicated group of Board members, and am delighted to welcome two recent additions who bring a wealth of experience and insight to serve GLOS in their personal and professional capacity. This includes Mark Burrows, U.S. Coast Guard (ret.) and senior scientist at the International Joint Commission; and G. Tracy Mehan III, an environmental consultant and former assistant administrator for Water at U.S. EPA.
Our new web site is launched with this e-newsletter, providing GLOS partners and constituents with much improved access to Great Lakes data via five new web products. This includes HarborView, a decision-support tool that will enhance the recreational boating experience by providing users with ready access to physical data (such as weather conditions) and points of interest at potential destinations.
All of these developments -- new Board members, director, communications vehicles, and products and services -- signify a new era for GLOS and new opportunities for the collective Great Lakes management effort. Realizing our full potential, however, depends upon a strong working relationship with all agencies, organizations and individuals that can benefit from, and contribute to, our mission. Come join us!
GLOS unveils new web site, products
Visit www.glos.us (or our Canadian mirror site: www.glos.ca) to view an array of new GLOS products, aimed at integrating Great Lakes data for various user communities. In addition to the new web mapping applications highlighted below, the redesigned site also offers information on how to become a member of GLOS, updates on current GLOS initiatives, a calendar of upcoming events and much more!
Attention, boaters! Now via one web site you can view nearshore winds, waves, currents, surface water temperatures and weather for selected harbors, plus search for nearby points of interest via Google business search!
Great Lakes Observations Viewer
This interactive map lets you explore recent Great Lakes conditions by observation type (e.g., wind, wave height, currents) using a Flash application.
Huron-to-Erie Corridor Flows
Use browser-based Google Earth to view water levels and flows in the Huron-to-Erie corridor in 3D. (Plug-in required.)
Great Lakes Station Viewer
View recent hydrological and meteorological conditions by location of observation station.
Huron to Erie Corridor (HEC) Modeling
GLOS has several activities under way in the Lake Huron to Lake Erie corridor, all related to protecting water quality.
These modeling activities include linking an existing two dimensional (2d) model with the NOAA Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System and running it operationally for the entire corridor -- St. Clair River, Lake St Clair and Detroit River; developing a public domain 3d model; and using a proprietary 3d model as a risk assessment tool for water intake plant operators.
The first goal was to develop an operational Huron-Erie Connecting Waterway Forecast System (HECWFS), using a continuously updated 2d hydrodynamic model for the waterway. The HECWFS produces nowcasts of water levels and currents in the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. The model is currently run in an operational setting, updated 4 times per day. Forecasts of water levels and flows are expected to be added to the product in the next few months. The HECWFS model was initially implemented in 2 dimensional (2d) mode (e.g., no vertical variation in currents), but now runs in 3d mode with currents described at six vertical levels for each grid on the model. GLOS conducted a stakeholder workshop in August 2008, to showcase the results of these modeling efforts for the HEC. Over 40 representatives of regional and local agencies participated in this meeting and provided input for future direction.
At the same time, additional support was provided to drinking water plant operators through spill scenarios run on a proprietary 3d model of the main stem of the St. Clair River. Seven scenarios of various spill types and locations were run on the model in order to improve our understanding of St. Clair River flow, in particular cross channel mixing, better define the vulnerability of U.S. intakes to spills originating on the Canadian side of the river and demonstrate the type of information that can be provided to managers responsible for water resource protection planning. GLOS provided the scenarios at a public meeting on October 24 and the report is currently under technical review before it is finalized.
Over the coming year, GLOS will be working with decision makers in the Huron to Erie Corridor to determine what additional modeling and/or related products will be necessary to support human and environmental health decision-making in the Corridor. Immediate plans call for comparing results from the proprietary 3d model and the HECWFS 3d model to those obtained from dye or other tests conducted on the river in 2009 in order to verify the HECWFS model.