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The Coastal Oceans Currents Monitoring Program (COCMP) is a multi-institution, interagency collaboration with the goal of integrated monitoring of currents in the coastal ocean. Initially, COCMP will emphasize technology to measure and map surface currents. COCMP is a component of a nationwide effort to advance understanding of the ocean by developing long-term observing systems – an Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Change in the coastal ocean reflects variation on different scales of space and time. Both proven and emerging technologies can monitor–in close to real-time–the physical and biological processes that drive change in the coastal ocean.

By understanding this environmental variability, Californians can better manage their ocean resources. The primary COCMP goal is to provide essential information to agencies responsible for managing coastal water quality. However, COCMP core technologies supply information about surface water movement, which also benefits other coastal and ocean concerns. The movement of the sea surface plays a central role in transporting inorganic and organic material (natural and pollutants) and distributing the larvae of marine animals.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducts research and gathers data about the global oceans, atmosphere, space, and sun, and applies this knowledge to science and service that touch the lives of all Americans.

The Coastal Observation Technology System (COTS) project grants were initiated in 2002 to further the development of integrated coastal ocean observing systems on a regional basis. The COTS projects are an alliance of congressionally directed and competitively funded projects focusing on regional coastal observation, research, technology and prediction, with an emphasis on data management and integration. In FY05 13 projects were funded by Congressional direction to contribute to the formation of IOOS. These projects cover a wide range of ocean and coastal observations research activities, including ecological forecasting, modeling, and storm surge prediction. In addition to the acquisition of scientific information by each project, COTS partners have emerged as leaders in data management and data sharing among the ocean observations community.