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Blog Category: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

NOAA Joins Other U.S. Agencies and Canada to Survey Arctic Continental Shelf

Image of U.S. and Canada Coast Guard icebreakers side by side. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will join a multi-agency joint expedition that will bring together icebreakers from the U.S. and Canada to collect and share data useful to both countries in defining the full extent of the Arctic continental shelf. The Arctic survey is part of the multi-year, multi-agency effort undertaken by the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Project, led by the Department of State, with vice co-chairs from the Department of the Interior and NOAA. NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research provided key funding for the U.S. mission. (More)

NOAA Lowers Hurricane Season Outlook, Cautions Public Not to Let Down Guard

According to its August Atlantic hurricane season outlook, Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) now expects a near- to below-normal Atlantic hurricane season, as the calming effects of El Niño continue to develop. But scientists say the season’s quiet start does not guarantee quiet times ahead. The season, which began June 1, is entering its historical peak period of August through October, when most storms form. “While this hurricane season has gotten off to a quiet start, it’s critical that the American people are prepared in case a hurricane strikes,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. (More) (Animation of El Niño in Pacific)

NOAA and Partners to Survey Ships Sunk off North Carolina in World War II

Underwater image of shipwrecks. Clicker for larger image.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will lead a three-week research expedition in August to study World War II shipwrecks sunk in 1942 off the coast of North Carolina during the Battle of the Atlantic. The shipwrecks are located in an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” which includes sunken vessels from U.S. and British naval fleets, merchant ships and German U-boats. “The information collected during this expedition will help us better understand and document this often lost chapter of America’s maritime history and its significance to the nation,” said David W. Alberg, expedition leader and superintendent. (More)

Commerce Department Launches U.S. Recovery Act Project Funding Map

Map of United States. Click to go to interactive ARRA map.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has launched an interactive map indicating the project locations of communities and recipients funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on www.commerce.gov/recovery. Five agencies of the Department of Commerce (NTIA, EDA, NIST, NOAA and the U.S. Census Bureau) received a total of $7.9 billion for U.S. job creation and economic growth as part of the historic economic stimulus bill signed by President Obama in February, 2009. The map also includes data from the USDA and HUD Recovery Web sites. (More) (DOC Recovery Map)

NOAA Reports GOES-14 Spacecraft Shows First Image

The spacecraft is transported to the launch site on large truck beds. Click for larger image.

NASA Photo

NOAA’s newest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) took its first full-disc visible image on July 27 at 2 p.m. EDT. GOES-14 joins three other operational NOAA GOES spacecraft that help the agency’s forecasters track life-threatening weather and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry. The satellites continuously provide observations of 60 percent of the Earth including the continental U.S., providing weather monitoring and forecast operations as well as a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information and severe weather Warnings. (More Photos and NASA Video of Launch)

NOAA: Smaller Than Expected, But Severe, Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico

Image of mouth of Mississippi River showing nutrient run-off. Click for animated vizualization.

Commerce’s NOAA-supported scientists, led by Nancy Rabalais, Ph.D. from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, found the size of this year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be smaller than forecasted, measuring 3,000 square miles. However, the dead zone, which is usually limited to water just above the sea floor, was severe where it did occur, extending closer to the water surface than in most years. Earlier this summer, NOAA-sponsored forecast models predicted a larger than normal dead zone area of between 7,450–8,456 square miles. (More) (Graphic of Dead Zone)(NOAA Visualization)

NOAA: Global Ocean Surface Temperature Warmest on Record for June

Image of Earth featuring oceans. Click for larger image.

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for June, breaking the previous high mark set in 2005, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., a bureau of the Department of Commerce. Additionally, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for June was the second-warmest on record. The global records began in 1880. (More) (National Climatic Data Center)

NOAA Scientists Find Tsunami "Shadow" Visible from Space

Ground track of satellite image, showing progress of tsunami at hourly intervals. Click for larger image.

For the first time, Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have demonstrated that tsunamis in the open ocean can change sea surface texture in a way that can be measured by satellite-borne radars. The finding could one day help save lives through improved detection and forecasting of tsunami intensity and direction at the ocean surface.“We’ve found that roughness of the surface water provides a good measure of the true strength of the tsunami along its entire leading edge. This is the first time that we can see tsunami propagation in this way across the open ocean,” said lead author Oleg Godin. (More)

El Niño Arrives: Expected to Persist Through Winter 2009-2010

Image of sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Eastern Pacific, as of July 1. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the arrival of El Niño, a climate phenomenon with a significant influence on global weather, ocean conditions and marine fisheries. El Niño, the periodic warming of central and eastern tropical Pacific waters, occurs on average every two to five years and typically lasts about 12 months. NOAA expects this El Niño to continue developing during the next several months, with further strengthening possible. The event is expected to last through winter 2009-2010. (More) (Animation)

NOAA and University of California Sign Ground Lease for New Fisheries Center

Artist's rendering of campus and proposed buildings. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of California have signed a 55-year ground lease clearing the way for construction next year of a new federal laboratory and office center at the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus in La Jolla. “This is a key step as we prepare for construction of a world-class research facility where hundreds of federal and university scientists will investigate the entire ecosystem of fish and marine mammals off the California coast and beyond,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. (More)