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VIIRS-derived water quality products at the 10th Monitoring Conference

NOAA CREST UPRM Post Doctoral Researcher Dr. William J Hernandez, participated in the 10th Monitoring Conference duringt May 2-6, 2016 in Tampa, FL. and gave an oral presentation entitled: "Development of water quality products derived from NOAA operational satellite sensor (VIIRS) data".The conference was focused in innovations in monitoring and assessment, and measuring the effectiveness of water management actions. This presentation described the current local ocean color products [e.g. chlorophyll-a, Kd(490)] from the VIIRS operational satellite being derived for Guanica and La Parguera, southwest Puerto Rico. This satellite information was combined with in situ optical and water quality parameters for calibration and validation. These products are also being compiled in an ArcGIS web mapping application to provide watershed managers and stakeholders with essential information of the water quality and turbidity in these coastal waters.

Local Ocean Color for Moderate Resolution Satellite Sensors

A field campaign to provide information for local ocean color algorithms is currently being conducted by Post-Doctoral Researcher, Dr. William J Hernandez and Ph.D. student Maria Cardona from the Bio-Optical Oceanography Lab of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (UPRM). The team led by Dr. Roy Armstrong from the Department of Marine Sciences (UPRM) is using a Satlantic free-falling Hyperspectral Optical Profiler to measure the down-welling irradiance and up-welling radiance at different sites in La Parguera, southwestern Puerto Rico. These measurements are important for deriving the attenuation coefficients of down-welling irradiance (Kd) and the water-leaving radiance (Lw) for validation and calibration of satellite-derived ocean color products (K490, KdPAR, Chlorophyll-a Rrs). Satellite images from the current operational sensors VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) and MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer) are being also obtained to start the comparison with the in situ radiometric measurements. The products developed from this project will provide essential information of the water quality and turbidity in these coastal waters, and the availability of light for important benthic habitats such as coral reefs and seagrass beds.

UPRM Student explores the Caribbean onboard the E/V Nautilus

NCAS doctoral student Maria Cardona participated in E/V Nautilus cruise NA052 during September 4-14, 2014 to explore seamount south of the British Virgin Islands. Within the Caribbean region, numerous unexplored seamounts punctuate the seafloor holding records of geologic, biologic and oceanographic processes over different time-scales. Seamounts are topographically and oceanographically complex and have often been suggested to be biodiversity hotspots, however, many of these hypotheses are only beginning to be explored in detail. Exploration of seamount environments in the Greater Antilles/Lesser Antilles transition zone will provide insight into their geological origin, the spatial distribution, ecology, and biodiversity of associated fauna. Additional information about the mission can be found at Nautilus Live.



NOAA CREST Student presents current research in Natural Protected Areas

Doctoral candidate in Marine Sciences, William J. Hernandez, participated in the 2nd Congress of Natural Protected Areas of Puerto Rico, held in San Juan, PR August 28-29, 2014. We presented the current NOAA CREST funded doctoral research titled Benthic Habitat Mapping and Bio-optical Characterization of La Parguera Reserve using Passive and Active Remote Sensing data. This congress provided an opportunity to present some products and tools developed from this research to managers of local DNR, scientist and citizens.


UPRM EPP Students Participate in SSIO Training at NWCP Center in Maryland

During August 19-21, 2014 NCAS doctoral student María A. Cardona-Maldonado and CREST PhD candidate William Hernández-López joined a multinational team of scientists at NOAA’s Weather and Climate Prediction Center at College Park, Maryland. Both of these students, supervised by Dr. Roy Armstrong (UPRM), were accepted in June 2014 for an SSIO Educational Partnership Program opportunity that aims to integrate local satellite ocean color parameters and light stress damage into a series of environmental forecast products useful to managers of vulnerable ecosystems such as coral reefs. The first stage for this scientific research and development collaboration will focus in the coral reefs of southwestern Puerto Rico including Guánica Bay and La Parguera. The workshop included a series of meetings and lectures by members of the team from NOAA’s NESDIS and STAR, Coral Reef Watch, Rutgers University, and the University of Queensland (Australia), among others. In addition, student presentations on their research allowed for brain-storming and discussions for developing the first year work plan for this educational opportunity.

Photo (From left to right): William Hernández-López, María A. Cardona-Maldonado, Dr. Robert Warner and Dr. Maxim Gorbunov

NCAS UPRM supports collaborative tropical weather study

The NCAS-UPRM’s graduate student Myrna J. Santiago is leading the training activities on radiosonde launches taking place at the Univeristy of Puerto Rico as part of the study entitled "Improving short-Range tropical weather forecasting in the Caribbean using enhanced upper air radio soundings at Mayagüez, Puerto Rico". This initiative is run by the NCAS program at Howard University in collaboration with the Atmospheric and Meteorology Program at UPRM. Dr. Hector Jimenez, Program’s director, is the supervisor of the undergraduate students conducting this research. Trainees are Lizxandra Flores, Christie Torres, Alexandra Ramos and Karimar Ledesma. Lizxandra was an Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology Summer Intern at the Bio-Optical Oceanography Laboratory in 2011. Alexandra and Karimar participated in the PR Weather Camp initiative in 2008 and 2009, respectively.


Motivated by the desire to broaden and increase exposure of students to techniques, research, academic programs and career opportunities in atmospheric sciences, meteorology and oceanography, the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences sponsored the Puerto Rico Weather Camp 2012. Fifteen high school students from Puerto Rico, St. Thomas (USVI) and Milwaukee (WI), participated in this immersive summer experience held at Isla Magueyes from June 24 – 30, 2012. Campers participated in workshops, interactive activities and trips to learn about diverse topics including the complex tropical weather and climate phenomena, the atmosphere and ocean connections, the impact of climate change in the Caribbean, atmospheric research, tools for ocean observation, and many others. The PRWC 2012 collaborators included NOAA HRD, UPRM Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology program, Caribbean Tsunami Program, American Meteorological Society (UPRM Student Chapter), National Weather Service - San Juan, Univision PR, SOAR’s, PR Space Grant Consortium, UPRM Departments of Geology, Physics and Marine Sciences, and the Caribbean Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing System (CariCOOS), co-sponsors of the camp since 2010. Students training at-sea included the deployment of oceanographic instruments and visits to the NOAA PMEL CO2 and the NOAA ICON-CREWS buoys. In addition, students participated of an interactive workshop on coastal weather, and a field trip to tropical marine ecosystems to explain the connectivity between weather and coastal ecosystems. Through this experience participants interacted with university professors, graduate students, meteorologists, oceanographers and administrators, among other professionals. This summer program has been offered since 2007.


The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez student Ana Patricia Torres was recently awarded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Educational Partnership Program (EPP) Undergraduate Scholarship. This award is in recognition of her accomplishments as an undergraduate student in areas pertinent to NOAA’s mission. Ms. Torres participated in the Puerto Rico Weather Camp in 2009 and is pursuing a bachelor degree in Theoretical Physics at UPRM. She is also completing the course work for the certification in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology at UPRM. Ana is an active member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) student Chapter and was recently awarded with the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences Travel Award to participate in the AMS 2012 annual meeting in New Orleans. During the summer of 2012 Ana will be participating of a nine week summer internship at NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.

News 2011

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