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Blog Category: National

NOAA National Weather Service Fire Weather Experts Assisting In Australia

Image of wildfire. Click for larger image.

Fire weather forecasters from NOAA’s National Weather Service are on duty in Australia providing crucial weather information to forecasters in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology as they battle wildfires ravaging southeastern Australia. NOAA’s National Weather Service and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology agreed in 2006 to exchange fire weather expertise and staff during the U.S. and Australian wildfire seasons, which occur at opposite times of the year in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. (More)

NIST, Brookhaven Researchers Use Tuberculosis Bacteria to End 25-Year Quest

The bacterium behind one of mankind's deadliest scourges, tuberculosis, is helping researchers at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) move closer to answering the decades-old question of what controls the switching on and off of genes that carry out all of life's functions. In a Journal of Biological Chemistry paper, the NIST/BNL team reports that it has defined—for the first time—the structure of a "metabolic switch" found inside most types of bacteria. (More)

NIST Participates in National Fire Safety Experiments

Image of a firefighter on ladder with building smoke.

International Association of Fire Fighters

This week, the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is contributing its expertise in measurement science to a series of national fire safety experiments examining the effect of firefighting crew sizes and equipment arrival times on the growth rates of fires and survivability times in structure-related building fires.Data from these experiments will help governments make informed decisions to better match their resources with the risks to the public and firefighters in their communities. (More)

UNH/NOAA Report: Arctic Region Unprepared for Maritime Accidents

Photo of ice and open water in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska. Click for larger image.

The existing infrastructure for responding to maritime accidents in the Arctic is limited and more needs to be done to enhance emergency response capacity as Arctic sea ice declines and ship traffic in the region increases, according to new report released by the University of New Hampshire and the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (More)

NOAA Team to Train Fishery Observers in Senegal

Photo depicting NOAA workshop in Ghana to train fishery observers. Click here for larger image.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists will travel to the west African nation of Senegal this week to train government officials and university students to be marine resource observers on fishing boats. The observers will collect scientific information about the health of fish stocks and the amount of incidental bycatch of marine mammals and other protected species. This information is used to manage fish stocks and protect marine resources domestically and internationally, through organizations such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. (More)

NIST Studies Making Cooling Systems More Efficient and Economical

Graphic depicting conventional and magnetic refrigeration cycles. Click here for larger image.

A refrigerator’s humming, electricity-guzzling cooling system could soon be a lot smaller, quieter and more economical thanks to an exotic metal alloy discovered by an international collaboration working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). The alloy may prove to be a long-sought material that will permit magnetic cooling instead of the gas-compression systems used for home refrigeration and air conditioning. (More)

First Wintertime Observations Find Ozone Soaring Near Natural Gas Field

NOAA seal.

During the past three winters, ozone—normally linked to hot-weather and urban pollution—has soared to health-threatening levels near a remote natural gas field in northwestern Wyoming. Now, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory have solved the problem of how ozone can form in cold weather at levels threatening to human health. Their results, published Jan. 18 in the journal Nature Geosciences, are forcing researchers to rethink the mechanics of ground-level ozone production. (More)

NIST Issues New Guide to Protecting Personal Information

NIST logo.

Thefts of personally identifiable information (PII), such as social security and credit card account numbers, are increasing dramatically. Adding to the difficulty of fighting this problem, organizations often disagree on what PII is, and how to protect it. Now, in a first-of-its-kind publication, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a draft guide on protecting PII from unauthorized use and disclosure. “You can’t protect PII unless you can identify it,” says NIST’s Erika McCallister, a co-author of the new work. (More)