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NOAA Small Business Innovation Research FY2014

Agency: Department of Commerce
Branch: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Program/Year: SBIR / 2014
Solicitation Number: NOAA-2014-1
Release Date: November 13, 2013
Open Date: November 13, 2013
Close Date: January 29, 2014
8.1: Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies
8.1.1F: Developing and Improving Commercial Marine Algal Culture in the United States
Description:

Summary: We stand at a critical juncture in the development of marine aquaculture in the United States. The U.S. is a major consumer of aquaculture products – we import 91% of our seafood and half of that is from aquaculture – yet we are a minor producer. Algal products have a huge market worldwide, use energy from the sun, and can uptake excess nutrients, improving local water quality. A compelling case can be made for growing algae for specific compounds, food, feed, fuel and to enhance ecosystem services in the United States; creating employment and business opportunities and providing local, safe, and sustainable products. Marine algal aquaculture is part of NOAA’s comprehensive strategy to maintain healthy and productive marine ecosystems and vibrant coastal communities. The Department of Commerce and NOAA have produced complimentary National Aquaculture Policies supporting growth in domestic aquaculture.

Proposals are requested for research towards innovative products and services supporting domestic algal aquaculture. Priority is given to research that addresses key industry bottlenecks to increase economic competitiveness of domestically cultured algae products, enhance ecosystem services, protect food safety and security, and create economic opportunities for coastal communities.

Project Goals: New techniques and technologies are needed to support the nascent domestic algal aquaculture industry. Projects that would support the sustainable growth of the industry include but are not limited to: new engineering technologies (bioreactors, structures, offshore moorings), production technologies (new candidate species for aquaculture, better harvest methods, increased yield, physiology, reproduction, genetics and genomics), product development, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA), and improved products and tools for preventing, diagnosing, and controlling disease and contamination from pollutants. Work is also needed on the raising and refining of algae with nutritional profiles that can be used to directly enhance human health and/or provide key nutrients to aquafeeds.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables:
Activities:
• Identify key bottlenecks that will be addressed
• Execute research and development of techniques and management measures to address these bottlenecks

Deliverables:
• Proof of concept
• Report showing promise for commercial application of developed technology/technique

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables:
Activities:
• Prototype trials of the techniques and products developed in phase I

Deliverables:
• Detailed report on developed technology/technique showing biological and economic feasibility under commercial conditions.

References:
Overcoming Technical Barriers to the Sustainable Development of Competitive Marine Aquaculture in the United States (2008) http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/docs/aquaculture_docs/noaanist_techbarriers_final.pdf
NOAA Marine Aquaculture Policy (2011) http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/docs/policy/noaa_aquaculture_policy_2011.pdf
Department of Commerce Aquaculture Policy (2011) http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/docs/policy/doc_aquaculture_policy_2011.pdf
8.1.2N: Automated Vertical Reference
Description:

Summary: We are aware of research grade products yielding millimeter per year motions for dam deformation and continental drift. Others are able to generate dynamic vertical positioning on buoys to within 3-5 cm. Between these two ranges we believe there exist the capability to develop and operationally observe vertical stability (lack of change) at a sub-centimeter resolution.

A small, easily-deployable Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) based instrument that resolves sub-centimeter vertical and horizontal position in earth centered, earth fixed (ECEF) coordinates has a number of valuable applications. Such a system would be an as-self-contained-as-possible altimeter and positioning system with autonomous processing capabilities. It could be collocated and affixed to existing Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS)1 National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON)2 and land-based sensors to increase temporal identification of vertical site movement. NWLON water level sensor elevation would be precisely measured relative to the GNSS sensor elevation and would provide an additional frame of reference, independent of the geodetic benchmarks.

Other potential applications include integration with a quick-deployable land-based water level sensor (i.e. microwave water level) for storm surge measurements and real-time leveling during extreme events such as tsunamis at hardened sites. Applications of a more dynamic (non-static) nature such as deployment on buoys of opportunity in support of modeling and water level gauging are also of interest.

Project Goals: The goal is to provide vertical control for a variety of applications. In addition to monitoring NWLON platform stability over the long-term and reducing the frequency of required leveling between the water level sensor and the primary benchmark, this system will add value to the national network of observing systems and increase spatial coverage of vertically controlled stations. Implementation of this technology supports NWLON programmatic goals for precise connections to geodetic and ellipsoidal reference frames for coastal surveying and engineering applications.

Requirements for this innovative product are that it be a small, self-contained, automated, and quickly-deployable system that is cost-effective and consumes minimal power. Kinematic operational scenarios range from the "static" to those associated with the dynamic water surface. The continuous monitoring of the sub-centimeter vertical stability of a "fixed" water level sensor platform (microwave or acoustic) as deployed by CO-OPS represents the normal and satisfactory (nominal) performance scenario3,4. The nominal system must deliver a horizontal and vertical position at least once a day when polled by a data collection platform via RS-232. The device must output the period of observational time and the vertical uncertainty associated with each position report. An explicit error code should be output when the device is unable to deliver sub-centimeter accuracy. The accuracy threshold must be easily adjustable by the user to accommodate environments where the regularized (mean) position solution uncertainty exceeds the sub-centimeter level due to kinematics.

During nominal operations, output from the device will be transmitted along with each six minute microwave or acoustic water level observation, but the reported vertical position will be representative of the elevation acquired over whatever period is necessary to achieve sub-centimeter precision. Any additional encoding of the output for integration into the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) transmitted message will be conducted by CO-OPS and is not a part of this SBIR topic.

Through novel use of GNSS [GPS, coupled with other systems; e.g., Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS)] and other sensor technology, the successful vendor might achieve the Project Goals by: 1) limiting location solutions to constellations which yield the best vertical dilution of precision, 2) enabling advanced filtering and statistical techniques over periods as necessary, 3) starting with the presumption that the receiving antenna is fixed, 4) employing nearby Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) stations or satellite based corrections, and 5) focusing on relative position change. Note that even in "static" conditions, solutions which utilize precise point positioning GNSS techniques (as opposed to differential GNSS) must not ignore the sub-daily displacements relative to the ECEF reference frame due to solid earth tides5. One notion of meeting the goals of being self-contained and cost-effective is to avoid reliance upon an external subscription-based augmentation service which involves recurring fees.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables: A Phase I result would include, at minimum:
• A description of the GNSS signal processing that enables the system to provide the required vertical accuracy
• A demonstration of the system capability using real GPS data (not necessarily in real-time or with a field deployable system)
• A description of the hardware, firmware and software that would be developed in a Phase II SBIR

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables: A Phase II result would include, at minimum:
• A mutually acceptable two-way data interface (polled RS232, National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) output)
• Output that includes a measure of position quality and sufficient metadata
• Five (5) fully functional prototypes that would be property of NOAA/NOS. Field testing should include deployment of prototypes in at least three different environments.

References:
1NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS): http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/
2NOAA’s National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON): http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/nwlon.html
3Ocean Systems Test and Evaluation Report - Limited Acceptance of the Design Analysis WaterLog H-3611i Microwave Radar Water Level Sensor: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/publications/Technical_Report_NOS_CO-OPS_061.pdf
4User’s Guide for 8200 Acoustic Gauge (Installation and Operation): http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/publications/hy8200aco_manual.pdf
A complete listing of links to CO-OPS’ technical publications can be found at: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/pub.html
5International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), IERS Technical Note No. 32, IERS Conventions (2003), p. 72, chapter 7, Displacement of Reference Points: http://www.iers.org/nn_11216/IERS/EN/Publications/TechnicalNotes/tn32.html
8.1.3SG: Rapid Identification of Species and Origin in Processed Seafood
Description:

Summary: Seafood substitution is a significant form of seafood fraud, which can have negative economic and environmental impacts. While morphological identification of whole fish is relatively easy, the challenge arises when attempting to identify processed fish products, which have lost their distinctive morphological characteristics. Additionally, heavy processing may have denatured proteins and DNA, further complicating potential identification. An additional challenge is the potential for substitution of cultured and wild caught fish. Current identification methods are time-consuming, and require access to a well-equipped laboratory, making it very difficult for consumers to detect substitutions.

Project Goals: Successful projects will develop a method for detecting species and origin substitutions for processed seafood that is:

● rapid (less than 8 hours)
● portable (approximately the size of a standard briefcase)
● robust to use by non-specialists
● 95% accurate for discriminating species and origin.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables: Deliverables will include identification of appropriate technologies and selection of target species group.

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables: Deliverables will include a prototype system for species and origin discrimination. This should include at least 5 commercially important species and their most common substitutes.

References:
Rasmussen RS and MT Morrisey, 2008: DNA-based methods for the identification of commercial fish and seafood species. COMP REVIEWS FOOD SCI & FOOD SAFETY 7: 280-295.
Rosalee S. Rasmussen Hellberg and Michael T. Morrissey, 2011: Advances in DNA-based techniques for the detection of seafood species substitution on the commercial market. JALA 16: 308-321
8.2: Healthy Oceans
8.2.1F: Development of System to Automate Analysis of Fisheries Information from Digital Stills
Description:

Summary: Image recording systems are increasingly being used by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for a multitude of applications. These systems collect aerial images of marine mammals, images of fish catch landed on the deck of vessels, as well as underwater images of fish from a variety of platforms including Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and towed camera systems. These images are reviewed manually to collect information such as the species composition and size of individuals. The effort required to manually analyze data from these systems is both time consuming and expensive. A hardware/software system that can automate the review of these images would reduce the cost of data collection and the time needed to review images. Accuracy and consistency of data may also be improved.

Project Goals: The long term goal is to automate analysis digital still image sequences of (1) live fish underwater and (2) fish catch on vessels in order to reduce labor costs and improve timeliness of data availability. Some of the technical challenges that must be overcome are variable lighting and backgrounds and high species diversity. Fish also can be at varying distances from cameras. The goal is to develop an end-to-end software/hardware system that can be used to automate the identification and sizing of fish in still images.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables:
Activities:
• Identify features of commercially important and frequently encountered fish species occurring on the West Coast off California, Oregon, and Alaska and around the Hawaiian Islands that can be used for automated classification such as shape and color patterns
• Develop and demonstrate capability to automate data collection, potentially including but not necessarily limited to:
o Identification of images that contain fish
o Species classification
o Abundance of individuals and individual sizes
o Habitat characteristics
• Quantify error associated with data generated (e.g., proportion of fish correctly identified to species; degree of error about abundance or size estimates)
• Demonstrate level of repeatability of results across multiple users with the same test data sets
• Produce a detailed report documenting methods and results, with discussion of results and identification of successes and remaining challenges

Deliverables:
• Proof of concept
• A detailed report documenting methods and results, with a discussion of results and with discussion of results and identification of successes and remaining challenges.

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables:
Activities:
• Prototype trials of the techniques and products developed in Phase I
• Develop one or more transferable software packages/platforms with user-friendly interface to accomplish data processing capabilities developed during Phase I activities
• Products should allow improvement in species classification performance through incorporation of new training data and information on additional species
• Products should allow analyst intervention/correction in instances where confidence in species identification is low
• Desired analysis results include:
o Individual fish length measurements and species identifications
o Summary information on species composition and length distributions collected over multiple image sequences
o Confidence intervals associated with individual species identifications and length measurements within a sequence and summary statistics for analysis of multiple sequences.

Deliverables:
• Detailed report on developed technology/technique under commercial conditions that provides software package(s)/platforms and operating manual.

References:
NOAA Annual Guidance Memorandum - November 2011 http://www.ppi.noaa.gov/wp-content/uploads/fy14-18_agm.pdf
8.2.2R: Optimized CO2 Gas Sensor for Autonomous Measurement of Ocean Carbon
Description:

Summary: A full understanding of the ocean carbon budget is not currently possible due to a lack of seasonal and geographic coverage of ocean carbon measurements. In order to address this knowledge gap, there is a pressing need for expanded autonomous, in situ, ocean carbon monitoring.

Ocean carbon instruments that use non-dispersive infrared gas analyzer (NDIR) technology have a well proven track record of making quality, long term measurements (Battelle's Moored Autonomous partial pressure of C02 (MApC02), General Oceanic's pC02, Contros' Hydro C/C02, Pro Oceanus' PSI CO2 Pro, etc.). However, the current NDIR sensors used in these systems are off the shelf products which have been designed to address a wide range of measurement applications from industrial to scientific. For example, the NDIR sensor used in the MApC02 system has a CO2 measurement range of 0-20,000 ppm and has been optimized to operate at a constant temperature of 50oC (achieved by heating the NDIR measurement cell). Quantifying the ocean carbon cycle requires making CO2 measurements with a desired accuracy of +/- 3 ppm, using 'wet' air [20%-85% relative humidity (RH)] in the range of 0-2,000 ppm CO2 with instrument temperatures of -10 to 45°C and pressures of 60-120 KPa. Furthermore, long term autonomous measurement precludes the use of power hungry heaters to maintain constant NDIR cell temperatures. To maximize instrument accuracy and minimize thermal noise (without controlling the NDIR temperature), several autonomous NDIR based oceanographic instruments calibrate the NDIR cell before every measurement using a two point calibration routine. While successful, this technique requires bulky compressed gas cylinders filled with expensive reference gases.

Project Goals: Optimizing a non-dispersive infrared gas analyzer (NDIR) or developing a comparable CO2 gas measurement technology for integration into existing and future autonomous CO2 gas sensor based ocean carbon monitoring instruments with the goals of decreasing cost, complexity, and power consumption would be very advantageous to the ocean carbon monitoring community. As the most expensive component of most ocean carbon monitoring instruments, the NDIR's upfront cost hinders the large scale deployment of these instruments that is needed to fully quantify the ocean carbon cycle. Additionally, lessening the requirement for calibrating the NDIR before every measurement would result in smaller instruments for installation onto to the next generation of autonomous vehicles, decreased observing network operating costs, and simpler more robust system designs.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables:

• Kick-off meeting with NOAA to clarify project requirements and needs.
• Bench testing of potential sensor components.
• Design review with NOAA of the conceptual design including drawings, schematics, bench test results and expected instrument accuracy.
• Final report detailing proposed CO2 gas sensor conceptual design, including specifics on the detector, and sensor calibration methodology


Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Build a prototype CO2 gas sensor which has been optimized for the measurement of ocean carbon.
• Calibrate, and then evaluate the accuracy and response of the prototype sensor (over a 0-2000ppm CO2 range) to fluctuations in temperature, pressure, and relative humidity (as stated in this subtopic's summary section) in a lab setting.
• Deliver the prototype instrument, and a brief report detailing the calibration and lab testing to NOAA.
• In collaboration with NOAA, field test the prototype sensor in an ocean environment within an existing CO2 gas sensor based ocean carbon monitoring system, for a period of at least 1 month.

References:
http://www.act-us.info/evaluations.php
8.3: Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
8.3.1R,C: Ultra-High Precision Measurements of Greenhouse Gas Stable Isotope Ratios
Description:

Summary: Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are the dominant contributors to global radiative forcing, and monitoring their concentrations is vital for understanding changes in Earth’s climate. Interpreting variations of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 allow sources and sinks of carbon to be determined. Currently, ultra-high precision laboratory-based measurements for CO2 and CH4 using isotope ratio mass spectrometers exist. These devices are labor intensive and require significant pre-processing of samples. Direct optical methods (i.e. spectroscopy) have potential to greatly streamline this process if small volumes can be used and measurements can be made with as good or better precision and stability than existing mass spectrometric techniques. Instruments with such high precisions are not currently available in the marketplace. Instrument developers should aim for measurements of CO2 and CH4 isotope ratios that achieve the needed repeatability (δ13C CO2: 0.01 per mil, δ18O CO2: 0.02 per mil, δ13C CH4: 0.1 per mil, or δ2H CH4: 0.5 per mil) using < 600 mL of air [standard temperature and pressure (STP)] in less than 15 minutes. Note that the requirements pertain to only a single isotopomer, i.e., a single instrument capable of achieving precision (repeatability) for multiple isotopomers is a benefit but is not required.

Project Goals: The short-term goal of this project is to design a cost-effective and ideally, but not necessarily portable (adequate for field deployment) ultra-high precision instrument to measure isotopic composition of greenhouse gases in a way that significantly improves on the currently slow and labor intensive techniques while maintaining or exceeding currently achieved precision.

The long-term goal is performing isotopic measurements on a routine and large-scale basis for the purpose of attributing sources of carbon in the atmosphere. Assessing the isotopic composition of measured greenhouse gases is one of the most accurate techniques to identify their origin, whether they are emitted by biogenic or anthropogenic activities (e.g., combustion, fires, biological activity, air-sea gas exchange).

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Develop conceptual methodology
• Verify methodology
• Investigate and identify appropriate components
• Design bench-level prototype

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Purchase components
• Integrate components
• Construct working bench-level prototype
• Perform initial bench testing
• Iteratively test and refine the original design as necessary
• Integrate the prototype into a laboratory setting
• Provide verification of data quality in cooperation with NOAA laboratories

8.4: Weather-Ready Nation
8.4.1D: Geospatial Database for Storm Risk Assessment
Description:

Summary: There is a large research focus on climate, extreme weather events, and storm risk planning. The protection, planning, and response to these challenges are central to NOAA’s mission, including disaster planning, mitigation, and recovery.
Better preparedness and improved recovery can help save lives, reduce costs, and provide comfort. Algorithms developed at NOAA use Weather Surveillance Radar-88 Doppler (WSR-88D) Next-Generation Radar (NEXRAD) data to detect and track tornados, hail, and mesocyclones in real-time. While these data are invaluable for real-time operations, historical analysis using other independent data sources is also essential to planning for storm risk. A compelling need exists to assess storm risk by deriving severe weather data products (e.g. climatologies). This includes trend analysis and risk assessment of storms (including hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, floods, lightning, and hail) and storm reports with damage. Utilities (including tools to query multiple interoperable databases) are needed to map these spatially against social and demographic databases to assess populations at risk. Access systems need to take advantage of data decoders, geo-spatial database, and data servers to provide a user friendly and efficient manner in which to access the data of need. Derived products based on retrospective data, such as flash flood climatology and other storm products, need to be stored in a manner that they are directly accessible and applicable to decision making engagement sites for planning needs of national, state and local government emergency response. This project would build on, refine, and expand the functions of National Climatic Data Centers (NCDCs) current suite of web services: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/webservices/ncdcwebservices.

Project Goals: This project will facilitate the build-out of technical “services” such as Application Programming Interface (API) services to dynamically discover, harvest and access various components of NCDC’s severe weather database. This will enable data-mining of NCDC’s severe weather database and provide a foundation upon which future improvements can be built. The successful project will build a more accessible “platform” of services to be leveraged by the larger community of developers and firms.

This approach for deriving storm risk assessment products can be leveraged by other hazardous weather software toolkits. For example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a tool named Hazards United States – Multi Hazard (HAZUS-MH) which is a risk assessment tool that analyzes potential losses from floods, hurricane winds, and earthquakes. While HAZUS is a modeling and mapping tool for risk assessment, the proposed Geospatial Database for Storm Risk Assessment is a data management system for severe weather data that creates storm risk assessment products. These products could be integrated into HAZUS via standards-based web services. This allows HAZUS to easily integrate new datasets and models without worrying about the data management (formats, projections, etc.). Other private sector companies that support themes such as risk management (insurance and reinsurance) will be able to use the storm risk geospatial database to easily access information and climatological products mined from petabytes of archived data. Many of these datasets are currently not used due to the size and complexity of the raw data. Standards-based web services will allow the seamless integration of the database into custom applications developed by these companies.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Familiarize with NCDC’s various historical databases
• Coordinate with NCDC personnel on technical specifications and standards, including metadata and open, documented Web services
• Design concept of Research-to-Operations (R2O) to be implemented in Phase II APIs to help consolidate access to a small and consistent number of access protocols
• Generate conceptual services framework, including general scope, number and functionality of APIs
• Present conceptual APIs for review and approval

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Design and Implement APIs in three-tiered environment
• All APIs successfully security-reviewed
• All APIs approved for function by NCDC Data Access experts
• All operational APIs successfully tested with multiple scenario schema

8.4.2W: Multi-Purpose Above Surface/Below Surface Expendable Dropsondes (MASED)
Description:

Summary: NOAA's mission on the oceans spans such different factors ranging from hurricane forecasts to determination of hypoxia zones to assessment of fisheries stocks. There is a current need for improving the quality of forecasting changes of hurricane intensity and to develop affordable sensors of dissolved oxygen for the determination of the extent of hypoxia zones. Some of the factors influencing the changes in hurricane intensity include temperature at different layers below the ocean's surface and mixing of the thermal layers because of surface-wind-induced turbulence. There are currently no inexpensive observing systems that detect temperature, salinity, and currents under the ocean's surface. This SBIR project seeks to sponsor the development of a dropsonde that will have the ability to provide the subsurface variables already mentioned and optionally atmospheric variables such as temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and direction.

Hypoxia zones cause a considerable impact to affected fisheries and it is important to know the extent of those zones at different depths in order to forecast their location as a function of winds and currents and their impact on fisheries stocks. Airborne submersible dropsondes would allow a considerable area of ocean to be covered in a reasonable amount of time compared to what it would take to do sensor deployment from a surface vessel.

Those requirements point at a need for a modular multi-purpose dropsonde that can be field customized for temperature, salinity, and current observations and optionally dissolved oxygen observations.

Project Goals: This SBIR seeks to sponsor the development of a dropsonde that can be used for two purposes: 1) ocean properties for ocean, weather, and climate forecasts and 2) is capable of surviving the drop from an aircraft, descend to at least 200 m depth below the sea surface, and re-surface at least once. While underwater, collect at every 1 m depth and store observations of water temperature, salinity, and translational and rotational accelerations in the X, Y and Z axis. The sonde will be required to surface at least once after submerging but additional points in the evaluation of proposals will be given to those proposed designs for sondes that can dive to 200 m and resurface more than once. Preferably, the sonde will have dimensions compatible with the current generation of dropsonde systems. Designs that are not compatible will need to include the costs of retooling the dropsonde systems in the NOAA, Air Force, and Navy aircraft as part of the overall project cost estimate. The overall system will include means and procedures to calibrate the sensors before deployment.


The sonde will include the following systems:

1) GPS for surface position determination
2) Communications link
3) Underwater pressure transducer capable for depths of at least 200 m.
4) Salinity sensor
5) Temperature sensor
6) Dissolved Oxygen sensor
7) Solid State Inertial Management Unit (IMU) either available commercial-off-the-shelf, or manufactured from individual components. The IMU must be capable of determining translational and rotational accelerations in the X, Y and Z axis (6 axis), and optionally three (3) magnetic axis
8) Buoyancy control
9) Data collection and storage subsystem. Environmental data collected every 1 m depth. Acceleration data collected every 0.1 sec.
10) Position processing subsystem. Preferably done on-board on real-time but an off-board solution is acceptable.
11) Power storage and management subsystem capable of powering the sensors, data collection and storage subsystem, buoyancy control subsystem, and position processing subsystem.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Phase I Work Plan and report.
• Conceptual design and report.
• Feasibility Analysis and report.
• Demonstration of proof of concept for the subsystems. Includes physical demonstration and written report
• Repeat Steps 2-4 as required
• Development of the preliminary operational concept that meets the conceptual design. Include operational costs.

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Phase II Work Plan and report
• Engineering Design and report
• Prototype Development and report
• Comprehensive Field Testing and report
• Repeat Steps 2-4 as necessary
• Manufacturing Plan and report
• Cost Estimation and report
• Delivery Plan and report
• Final report

8.4.3W-P: New METSAT Display Service for Weather-Ready Nation
Description:

Summary: Americans depend on the National Weather Service for real time warnings and forecasts of severe weather, any time of the year and any location across the nation, to include the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii and its territories. The satellite imagery on the main NWS link shows very little useful information for customers, is not actionable, and actually confuses those who look at it. With the amount of detailed and accurate satellite information collected and the advent of geo-referencing and imagery demarcation technology this should not be occurring. With innovation and hard work, NWS will have the premier path for portraying critical weather warnings with real-time, concise satellite imagery, both from geosynchronous and polar orbiting platforms.

The current portrayal of satellite imagery on NWS web pages is too science-oriented and lacks localization needed to fully illustrate potential weather impacts. Furthermore, this web service does not exploit the depth of information content available today and if not upgraded will be woefully inadequate when the GOES-R and JPSS programs are fully implemented and available. For example, there is no capability to regionalize cloud imagery to selected areas of interest, understand or refine cloud color enhancements, relate satellite imagery to immediate weather danger, or relate satellite imagery to radar imagery and surface observations. NWS needs help in taking full advantage of what satellite channels can convey in terms of weather hazards, in centralizing all satellite products and loops onto one known link that customers can easily recognize, and use GIS features to show relationship of cloud and surface details (shown by channels) to certain geographic and political features.

The proposed technology will take one or more of these factors into consideration to demonstrate a capability that will capture all available METSAT imagery from NOAA in a way that customers can use it readily for their daily lives. This includes being able to look at regional depiction of foggy areas for the Northeast, Department of Agriculture finding exactly where snow is still on the ground over the Plains, the ability for an incident commander to focus in on small thunderstorms in the mountains or remote areas, and a mother trying to find where snow showers are in absence of radar imagery; there are so many features that satellite imagery can provide for customers that would fulfill a Weather Ready Nation vision.

The stated need is not limited to the recommended solution. Other innovative technological advances are encouraged.

Project Goals: This SBIR seeks to sponsor the development of a premier METSAT display service that will be second to none. It will feature the best that NOAA has to offer from its satellite information inventory, with processing software to enable immediate referencing to locations and events that customers focus on.

The technology may include the following systems:
1) METSAT display system showing features that can be used in combination with other data such as radar, surface observations and lightning data.
2) Processing software such as ArcGIS or Google Earth to enable customers to immediately focus in on activity that can hinder and endanger their lives and property.

The stated goals are not limited to the recommended solution. Other innovative technological advances are encouraged.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Phase I Work Plan and report
• Conceptual design and report
• Feasibility Analysis and report
• Demonstration of proof of concept. Includes physical demonstration and written report.
• Repeat Steps 2-4 as required
• Development of the preliminary operational concept that meets the conceptual design. Includes operational costs and report.
• Comprehensive final report

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Phase II Work Plan and report
• Engineering Design and report
• Prototype Development and report
• Comprehensive Field Testing and report
• Repeat Steps 2-4 as necessary
• Manufacturing Plan and report
• Cost Estimation and report
• Delivery Plan and report
• Final report

8.4.4W-P: Rip Current Sensor and Warning System
Description:

Summary: An average of 60,000 water rescues occur every year in the United States and 80% of them are due to rip currents. What is needed is a system that can detect the presence of rip currents, or dangerous longshore currents, and convey this information to the public in real-time. Innovation is needed to make the system efficient, tamper proof and cost-effective in all water environments. The system could easily be marketed to waterfront communities, hotels and coastal businesses.

Many factors contribute to rip current and dangerous longshore current formation. Those factors include, but are not limited to, current strength; bathymetry; water depth; wave height, period, and direction; and structural location. The proposed technology will take one or more of these factors into consideration to demonstrate a simplified means for improving the detection and forecasting of real-time rip current and dangerous longshore current formation, thereby enabling more accurate messaging to protect lives along our coastlines as we strive for a Weather Ready Nation. Ideally, this technology will improve lead- time and accuracy of rip current forecasts.

The stated need is not limited to the recommended solution. Other innovative technological advances are encouraged.

Project Goals: This SBIR seeks to sponsor the development of a rip current sensor and warning system that can be used to improve real-time detecting and forecasting of rip currents and dangerous longshore currents, thereby protecting the public from hazardous marine conditions.

The technology may include the following systems:
1) An underwater sensor to detect changes in current strength, to be correlated with wave characteristics and/or water depth. Bathymetry and/or proximity to structures may also be incorporated.
2) Information from the sensor is communicated to a warning system in order to convey hazardous information to the public.

The stated goals are not limited to the recommended solution. Other innovative technological advances are encouraged.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Phase I Work Plan and report
• Conceptual design and report
• Feasibility Analysis and report
• Demonstration of proof of concept. Includes physical demonstration and written report.
• Repeat Steps 2-4 as required
• Development of the preliminary operational concept that meets the conceptual design. Includes operational costs and report.
• Comprehensive final report

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables:
• Phase II Work Plan and report
• Engineering Design and report
• Prototype Development and report
• Comprehensive Field Testing and report
• Repeat Steps 2-4 as necessary
• Manufacturing Plan and report
• Cost Estimation and report
• Delivery Plan and report
• Final report

8.4.5R,W-P: Unmanned Aircraft System-Borne-Atmospheric and Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Sensing
Description:

Summary: Weather observations of atmospheric temperature, pressure, moisture, wind speed and wind direction in the atmospheric boundary layer are extremely important for a better understanding of how the detailed interactions of the atmosphere and the ocean influence the development of high impact weather events such as hurricanes and other storms at sea. Improving this understanding of air-sea interactions and potentially providing real-time operational boundary layer weather observations could be highly significant contributions to supporting improved storm prediction. However, collecting these types of boundary layer observations are extremely difficult due to the lack of spatial resolution of satellite observations at storm scales or the danger of manned aircraft flights in the low boundary layer.

The commercial development of aircraft dropsondes for weather observations is an example of how vertical atmospheric profiles have become well-calibrated industry standards for the Federal, academic, and private industry weather communities. New innovations in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are providing a variety of options for flights into the boundary layer using low-flying UAS launched from land, ships, balloons, or other aircraft. However, an integrated, well-calibrated, versatile plug-and-play payload sensor package for boundary layer weather or sea surface temperature (SST) observations has not been developed for UAS applications. Additionally, commercial dropsondes do not currently provide reliable SST observations for air-sea interaction studies.

The NOAA UAS Program is partnering with the ESRL Physical Sciences Division and the AOML Hurricane Research Division to explore the technical feasibility of an integrated, well-calibrated, versatile plug-and-play payload sensor package for improved boundary layer weather and SST observations from UAS and dropsondes.

Project Goals: The Tropical Cyclone Boundary Layer (TCBL) is the most poorly observed aspect of tropical cyclones, and will be used as the basis of the observation requirement although previously mentioned hazardous weather events have similar requirements. High winds, heavy rain, sea spray, and high ocean waves cause significant problems for observations near the sea surface. These factors make observations of the TCBL very dangerous., The TCBL receives much attention due to its importance in the intensification of tropical cyclones. The TCBL is characterized by strong turbulence. Both low-level wind shear and buoyancy lead to sometimes-violent vertical mixing, distributing characteristics throughout the layer. It is in the TCBL that fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum occurs, providing the energy and moisture necessary to maintain a storm's intensity. These missions pose a safety challenge platform, instruments and operators in this area of interest.

The NOAA UAS Program exploring cost and operationally feasible unmanned observing strategies for hazardous weather collection. We request a Phase I study to demonstrate the design feasibility of an airborne atmospheric and Sea Surface Temperature (SST) sensing suitable for autonomous data collection with dropsondes and onboard a low altitude UAS operating in turbulent environments. The design of the system must describe the detailed system interface including sensor, power, navigation, and data communication systems.

Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables: The purpose of this Phase I is to determine the technical feasibility of the proposed research and the quality of performance of the small business concern receiving an award. We request a Phase I study to demonstrate the design feasibility of airborne atmospheric and SST suitable for autonomous data collection onboard dropsondes and low altitude UAS operating in hazardous environments. The design of the system must:

1. Identify dropsondes and feasible UAS platforms,
2. Identify a payload suitable for atmospheric (wind vector, pressure, temperature, humidity, latent and sensible heat flux) and SST data collection,
3. Describe the detailed system interface between the platform and payload,
4. Describe the power, navigation, and data communication sub-systems,
5. Provide a cost analysis for Phase II and future operational system.

Phase II Activities and Expected Deliverables: Phase II will be the Research & Development (R&D) and prototype development phase which will require:

1. Comprehensive proposal outlining the research in detail,
2. New technology flight demonstration of proposed dropsonde and UAS system (small business may request government owned equipment in this phase),
3. Delivery of the prototype design including drawings,
4. Plan to commercialize the final product,
5. A company presentation to the SBIR panel.

Key Driving Requirements for TCBL Missions

Data Measurements - Mean horizontal wind vector (+/-0.5 m/s), mean vertical wind vector (+/-0.5 m/s); Mean Pressure (+/-1.0 hPa), mean temperature (+/-0.2 K), mean humidity (+/-5% RH); Latent Heat Flux (+/-10 W/m2), Sensible Heat Flux (+/-10 W/m2); Sea Surface Temperature (SST) (+/-0.2 K)

TCBL Altitude - 60 to 3000 m (200 to 10,000 ft) with routine sampling at 60 m (200 ft)

ARLL Altitude - 0 to 1000 m (0 to 3300 ft)

TCBL Spatial Resolution - 100 m (330 ft) horizontal with sampling rates > 4 Hz
ARLL Spatial Resolution - 500 m (1600 ft) horizontal and 100 m (330 ft) vertical
TCBL Geographic Location - Mesoscale coverage within hurricane core, typically 280 to 925 km (150 to 500 nm) offshore of the U.S. East coast or Gulf coast
ARLL Geographic Location - Within the atmospheric river events in the Pacific approaching the U.S. west coast or Hawaii within 500 km (270 nm) of landfall.
TCBL Coverage - 2 flights per storm with coverage of > 465 km (> 250 nm) per flight
ARLL Coverage A - 1200 km (650nm) transects across AR events at altitude from 0 to 100 m (330 ft).
ARLL Coverage B - 100 km (54 nm) transects within AR events at altitudes 100 m (330 ft) intervals from 0 to 1000 m (3300 ft).
TCBL Refresh Rate - Once per day during TC approach and landfall, beginning with storm development at up to 3 days out
ARLL Refresh Rate - Once per day for AR events within 500 km (270 nm) of landfall.
TCBL Seasonal Window - June through November
ARLL Seasonal Window - November through April
TCBL Total Per Year - 5-15 TC, occasionally overlapping