Trajectory modeling is one of the few tools that allow spill managers to get ahead of an oil spill. To that end, the Texas General Land Office is committed to maintaining and improving the Texas Automated Buoy System (TABS) and its associated modeling efforts to ensure a reliable source of accurate, up-to-date information on currents along the Texas coast. As the nation embarks on the development of an Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), TABS will be an active participant as a foundational regional component to the national backbone of ocean observations. The lessons-learned from TABS’ ten years of spill response operations will provide a valuable roadmap for the operators of new ocean observing systems to ensure that they understand and meet the unique needs of the oil spill response community. This paper describes the circumstances which led to the creation of TABS; the unique, spill response-driven philosophy behind the development and operation of the system; lessons-learned and the resulting modifications to the system; examples of TABS’ service; new TABS forecasting models and real time analysis tools; and the future direction of TABS in the context of a national Integrated Ocean Observing System.

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1 This paper does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Texas General Land Office or Texas A&M University. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute a commercial endorsement or recommendation for use.