Standard Data Set for Florida Bay - Workshop Report
Science Program for Florida Bay and Adjacent Marine Systems

The standard data set for Florida Bay will capture the behavior of Florida Bay and the factors and processes that give rise to that behavior. Initially, emphasis will be on the variation of salinity that occurs on seasonal and interannual time scales. For analysis and model calibration/validation purposes, the physical parameters thought to cause the salinity variations are included in this data set, which is named: Salinity Modeling Standard Data Set for Florida Bay. The related processes consist mainly of the major components of the Bay's hydrology and the physical processes responsible for mixing, circulation and exchange with the open ocean. Characteristics of the SMSDSFB were the subject of discussion at workshop held on 16 March 2000. It is envisioned that future parallel efforts will generate other data sets that together will make up the Standard Data Set for Florida Bay.

Once assembled, the SMSDSFB will fill three roles in support of research and resource management in Florida Bay. First as the best available reconstruction of recent, observed conditions, the standard data set will be used to validate circulation models for the Bay. The need for an independently derived data set for this purpose is described in "Salinity Models for Florida Bay - Status and Recommendations." Second, the standard data set will fill the need for a common reference to define "normal" conditions for Florida Bay. This need is identified in the recent report by the Science Oversight Panel (Hobbie 2000). Finally, the standard data set will assemble data required generally to investigate the linkage between the hydrology of the Everglades and Florida Bay. Everglades National Park recently identified this as a priority area for research.

The workshop summarized here began the process of assembling the standard data set by consulting with researchers who have broad knowledge of Florida Bay and potential sources of data for the standard data set. The workshop had three objectives:
    1) establish the period of time to be covered by the standard data set,
    2) nominate types and sources of data to include, and
    3) discuss issues related to the implementation of the standard data set.

The next steps will be to assemble the data identified by the workshop, review the assembled data for accuracy and consistency, and set up a process to distribute the standard data set.

Workshop Results
The standard data set will cover the period October 1994 through September 2000. This period was chosen after reviewing a wide variety of data available from ongoing monitoring programs. Out of fourteen data sets discussed, half begin in 1995. These include the critical data from rainfall measurements within the Bay, discharge measurements in the creeks entering the East region of the Bay, ~monthly synoptic mapping of salinity (and other water quality characteristics) and regular monitoring of oceanographic conditions on the Florida Shelf. An effort will be made to extend these data sets back to October 1994, in recognition that the salinity field in the first available synoptic map in 1995 reflects hydrologic fluxes and circulation patterns that occurred over the preceding several months.

Three broad types of data will make up the Salinity Modeling Standard Data Set. These are 1) salinity, 2) estimates of freshwater fluxes, and 3) oceanographic and climate data. Salinity functions as the state variable in the data set. Patterns of variation in salinity integrate the influence of a number of processes, most importantly the effects of water management decisions. Planning and assessment of restoration activities requires an understanding of these sources of variation and an ability to predict salinity patterns. Resource managers have identified this as a priority for research. Consequently, special attention should be paid to reconstructing freshwater runoff into Florida Bay during the standard period, both flows that enter the Bay directly across its northern boundary as well as discharge from Shark Slough, which affect salinity values on the Florida Shelf and western Florida Bay.

The standard data set will contain data at the frequency with which they are recorded. If necessary, values converted to metric units and an UT time stamp will be appended to the raw data records. An abridged data set will be generated by computing daily averages or totals (as appropriate) from data collected at higher frequencies. We will attempt to reconstruct daily-averaged values of parameters for which the raw data are incomplete.

Salinity and related water quality data
Salinity data are available from fixed stations and from synoptic surveys. Fixed stations provide a time series of essentially continuous data for fixed locations. Fixed stations are maintained by Everglades National Park, US Geological Survey (salinity at in flowing creeks), and AOML/RSMAS. In addition, SERC-FIU collects data monthly on salinity and other aspects of water quality at a number of locations in Florida Bay and along the west coast. Synoptic surveys provide a bay-wide snapshot of spatial patterns in salinity. AOML/RSMAS and the US Geological Survey are conducting synoptic surveys more or less monthly. The US Geological Survey is currently working to merge their synoptic salinity data with data collected by Everglades National Park at fixed stations and with a compilation of historical salinity observations dating back to the 1940s. AOML/RSMAS has been conducting large-scale surveys of salinity, temperature and chlorophyll since dec. 1995 over the entire south Florida seascape first on seasonal cruises then after September 1997 on bi-monthly cruises

Oceanographic and climate data
Oceanographic and climate data should not require much processing, except to aggregate to daily from more frequent data periods. Sources of these data include:

Estimates of freshwater fluxes
All freshwater fluxes must be estimated, to some degree. Information on evaporation from Florida Bay for the standard period is limited to estimates derived from meteorological data, described in a recent publication (Smith, N.P. 2000. Evaporation and the precipitation-evaporation balance in Florida Bay. Florida Scientist 63:72-83). Rainfall data exist for stations within the Bay, but missing data must be estimated to fill gaps in these records. Good records exist of surface flow and salinity in the creeks that flow into the East region of the Bay; however the ungaged portion of runoff must be estimated here and for the west coast.

Data that could be used to estimate freshwater flows include:

Other discussion
Workshop participants nominated three time periods for consideration as the standard period. The period 1988 to 2000 had the advantage of including the very dry period of 1989 to 1991, but there was little confidence in our ability to reconstruct freshwater runoff for this period. The period 1995 to 2000 has the advantage of coverage by most all of the data sets discussed, including the USGS creek flow measurements for runoff, but it lacks a clearly dry year. The period 1960 to 2000 has the best overlap with available fisheries data, which is an important consideration in the development of performance measures, but this period lacks critical hydrological data and continuous records of salinity.

Other data that provide a measure of the state of Florida Bay include:

Some meteorological data are available that can be used to estimate evaporation in Florida Bay. These include the following:

Standard Data Set Workshop - Participants

Science Program for Florida Bay and Adjacent Marine Systems

Name  Affiliation  email
Frank Aikman  NOAA/NOS
Jim Baker  USACE
Joan Browder  NOAA/NMFS
Dave Forcucci  NOAA/AOML
Lee Hefty  Miami-Dade DERM
Clinton Hittle  USGS/WRD
Libby Johns  NOAA/AOML
Darlene Johnson  NOAA/NFMS
Gary Lin  NOAA/NOS
Bill Nuttle  PMC
Peter Ortner  NOAA/OAR
Carol Owens  Sea Grant
Eduardo Patino  USGS/WRD
Mike Robblee  USGS/BRD
David Rudnick  SFWMD
Ray Schaffranek  USGS/WRD
Tom Schmidt  ENP/NPS
Ned Smith  HBOI
Tom Smith  USGS/BRD
Ryan Smith  NOAA/AOML
Dewitt Smith  ENP/NPS
John Wang  RSMAS/UM
Doug Wilson  NOAA/AOML
Dewey Worth  SFWMD