Improving Coastal Ocean Forecasting and Visualization through Collaboration in Discovery, Learning, and Practice (2016-18)

Ted Strub
College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
Oregon State University
104 CEOAS Admin Bldg
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone: 541-737-3015

Co-PIs: Flaxen Conway, OSU; Alexander Kurapov, OSU

Fishing off the Oregon coast is physically risky and economically uncertain, with mortality rates more than 59 times higher than for the average American worker. Unexpected ocean conditions can turn a safe and profitable voyage into a personal and financial tragedy. Dr. Ted Strub and his research team’s project is about collaboration in prediction, communication, perception, planning, and decision-making as it pertains to ocean forecasts and the use of those forecasts.

This research relates to the intersection of fisheries, climate, and resilience by focusing on the process by which ocean forecasting systems can be developed, used, evaluated and improved through collaboration between three key entities: (1) scientists (Kurapov and other marine scientists who produce computer models/environmental fields of the ocean's near-term surface and subsurface conditions, and social scientists who study collaboration); (2) information technologists (teams of senior computer science students who produce visualization “tools” that display the predicted ocean conditions); and (3) ocean users (who can practically use this information; initially commercial fishermen in Newport but this could expand to other ocean users such as charter fishermen, boaters, search and rescue, etc.). The research team’s simple hypothesis is that establishing and strengthening risk and uncertainty communication through collaborative relationships between these three key entities improves the accuracy of the ocean forecast fields and usefulness of the visualization system.

The team’s goal is to make predictive model fields (from the scientific community; Oregon State University (OSU), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and others) available and understandable through a visualization system (created and improved by OSU computer science students considering the needs and feedback of ocean users), and to characterize and strengthen relationships that improve the accuracy and usability of the science. The results will be published and made available to those establishing ocean forecast systems elsewhere, including NOAA and other government and private, commercial enterprises.

Strategic Plan Focus Areas: Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, Resilient Communities and Economies

Learn More: