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NOAA Administrator Discusses NOAA Ship Research Mission to Spill Area

Alternate TextCmdr. Shepard Smith, commanding officer, Administrator Lubchenco and Larry Mayer at press conference.NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, a 208-foot survey vessel, sailed from New Orleans today to conduct a 10-day mission in the vicinity of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Researchers will take water samples and test advanced methods for detecting submerged oil while gathering oceanographic data in the area's coastal waters.

NOAA Ship Thomas JeffersonDr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, Cmdr. Shepard Smith, commanding officer, NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson and Larry Mayer, professor and director, University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping held a news conference in New Orleans to discuss the research mission. Administrator Lubchenco offered more information on the NOAA effort on a live CNN segment earlier in the day.

Tracking the Spill
NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson dispatched to Gulf of Mexico
NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson ship information and background

USPTO Teams With Google to Provide Bulk Patent and Trademark Data to the Public

Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos announced today that the USPTO has entered into a no-cost, two-year agreement with Google to make bulk electronic patent and trademark public data available to the public in bulk form. Under this agreement, the USPTO is providing Google with existing bulk, electronic files, which Google will host without modification for the public free of charge.  This bulk data can be accessed at http://www.google.com/googlebooks/uspto.html.

"The USPTO is committed to providing increased transparency as called for by the President’s Open Government Initiative. An important element of that transparency is making valuable public patent and trademark information more widely available in a bulk form so companies and researchers can download it for analysis and research,” said Under Secretary Kappos. “Because the USPTO does not currently have the technical capability to offer the data in bulk form from our own Web site, we have teamed with Google to provide the data in a way that is convenient and at no cost for those who desire it.”

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NOAA Expects Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season

Satellite photo of Hurricane Ike, 2008An "active to extremely active" hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year according to the seasonal outlook issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service. As with every hurricane season, this outlook underscores the importance of having a hurricane preparedness plan in place.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is projecting a 70 percent probability of the following ranges:

 

  • 14 to 23 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
  • 8 to 14 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
  • 3 to 7 could be Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

"If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”

Full NOAA release
Hurricane Preparedness Week site

Locke Wraps Up Clean Energy Trade Mission

Secretary Locke and government officials at table

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke wrapped up the final day of his clean energy trade mission in Jakarta, Indonesia Wednesday. While in Jakarta, Locke and representatives from 10 U.S. clean energy companies participated in several group meetings about clean energy with Indonesian officials and business representatives and received updates on the market from local executives working in the energy field. At the University of Indonesia, Locke participated in a discussion with students highlighting the importance of innovation in creating new clean energy technologies. He also addressed the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia and visited the Port of Jakarta to witness the signing of an ocean exploration agreement.

“This effort is not limited to one country; both Indonesia and the United States can benefit from cooperating on clean energy development,” Locke said during his town hall meeting with students. “The United States, Indonesia and the entire world are counting on bright, motivated people like all of you to discover the new clean energy technologies that could help put millions of our people to work in high-skill, high-wage jobs.”

Locke has been leading the administration’s first Cabinet-level trade mission over the past week and a half, traveling to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, China before his final stop in Jakarta. The mission had a goal of advancing President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports within five years to support two million American jobs.

Overall, Locke was joined by a business delegation of 46 executives from 29 U.S. companies on the mission, along with representatives from the U.S. Trade Development Agency (TDA), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).

Press release

NOAA’s Oil Spill Response in the Gulf of Mexico

NOAA and White House officials examine fish samples taken from spill area

As the nation’s leading scientific resource for oil spills, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been on the scene of the BP spill from the start, providing coordinated scientific weather and biological response services to federal, state and local organizations.

NOAA has mobilized experts from across the agency to help contain the spreading oil spill and protect the Gulf of Mexico’s many marine mammals, sea turtles, fish, shellfish and other endangered marine life.

NOAA spill specialists are advising the U.S. Coast Guard on cleanup options as well as advising all affected federal, state and local partners on sensitive marine resources at risk in this area of the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally:

  • NOAA is predicting the oil spill’s trajectory and the path of the layers of oil floating on the surface. OR&R experts are conducting aerial surveys to update trajectory maps and visually track the movement of the spill.
  • NOAA’s National Weather Service is providing regular weather forecasts to a joint federal command center in Louisiana to facilitate operations planning and response efforts.
  • Experienced marine mammal spotters from NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center are participating in surveillance flights flown by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations to assess the species and populations that may come in contact with the spill.
  • NOAA also is using experimental satellite data from our Satellite Analysis Branch to survey the extent of spill-related marine pollution.

As a major partner in the federal response to this evolving incident, NOAA will continue to provide the necessary coastal and marine expertise required for sound, timely decision-making and help protect the affected Gulf Coast communities and coastal marine environment.

Latest News

Secretary Locke Underscores U.S.-Indonesia Partnership, Highlights Value to Economic and Environmental Health

Locke witnesses signing of first-ever Indonesia-U.S. Ocean Exploration Partnership MOUU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke underscored shared U.S.-Indonesia economic and environmental commitments at an event today at Muara Baru, a commercial fishing port in North Jakarta. Locke addressed joint efforts to prevent illegal and unregulated fishing and witnessed the signing of the first-ever U.S.-Indonesia ocean exploration agreement. He was joined by Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Agung Laksono, Research and Technology Minister Suharna Surapranata, Secretary for People's Welfare Indroyono Soesilo, and Dr. Gellwynn Jusuf, Director General for Research, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.

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Secretary Locke Announces Fishery Failure Determination in Gulf of Mexico

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today determined there has been a fishery disaster in the Gulf of Mexico due to the economic impact on commercial and recreational fisheries from the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The affected area includes the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

“We are taking this action today because of the potentially significant economic hardship this spill may cause fishermen and the businesses and communities that depend on those fisheries,” Locke said. “The disaster determination will help ensure that the Federal government is in a position to mobilize the full range of assistance that fishermen and fishing communities may need.”

Locke made the determination under Section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.  The declaration was made in response to requests from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour based on the loss of access to many commercial fisheries and the existing and anticipated environmental damage from this unprecedented event.

Since May 2, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has closed a portion of federal waters affected by the spill to commercial and recreational fishing. This closure area, which is based on the scientific trajectory of the spill, now includes nearly 20 percent of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi and the waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay.

Full release
Related NOAA release

Latest NOAA status release on oil spill

Secretary Locke Completes Clean Energy Trade Mission to China

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addresses students and scientists at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.Secretary Locke wrapped up his China clean energy trade mission – the first Cabinet-level trade mission of the Obama administration –  Friday in Beijing. Over the last week, Locke visited Hong Kong and Shanghai and will continue on to Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday after participating in the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Throughout the mission Locke focused on opportunities for U.S.-China collaboration in the clean energy market and the special responsibility the two countries have to lead the way in combating global climate change. 

At his last stop in Beijing, Locke engaged in a first-of-its-kind dialogue and live webchat with Tsinghua University students and scientists who are working on cutting-edge, clean-energy technologies. Locke told the students that the United States, China and the entire world are counting on bright, motivated people to discover new energy technologies to reach energy efficiency goals while creating jobs in China and the United States.

He also visited the United Family Hospital New Hope Cancer Treatment Center, a joint U.S.-China venture featuring nearly $6 million worth of U.S. exports of medical technology.

In China, Locke traveled with representatives of 24 U.S. businesses. Ten executives will be continuing on with him to Jakarta, Indonesia, along with representatives from the Trade Development Agency (TDA), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).

The clean energy trade mission comes on the heels of President Obama’s call to double U.S. exports in the next five years and support 2 million American jobs.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke engages in a dialogue with 
students at Tsinghua University  working on , clean-energy tech

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke engages in a dialogue with students and scientists working on cutting-edge, clean-energy technologies at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.  The dialogue featured live questions from Chinese “netizens,” and a transcript of the event was streamed live on the Global Times Web site and later re-posted on NetEase.com.

NOAA: Ocean Stored Significant Warming Over Last 16 Years

The upper layer of the world’s ocean has warmed since 1993, indicating a strong climate change signal, according to a new study. The energy stored is enough to power nearly 500 100-watt light bulbs per each of the roughly 6.7 billion people on the planet.

“We are seeing the global ocean store more heatOcean waves breaking over rocks than it gives off,” said John Lyman, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, who led an international team of scientists that analyzed nine different estimates of heat content in the upper ocean from 1993 to 2008.

The team combined the estimates to assess the size and certainty of growing heat storage in the ocean. Their findings will be published in the May 20 edition of the journal Nature. The scientists are from NOAA, NASA, the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom, the University of Hamburg in Germany and the Meteorological Research Institute in Japan.

The team combined the estimates to assess the size and certainty of growing heat storage in the ocean. Their findings will be published in the May 20 edition of the journal Nature. The scientists are from NOAA, NASA, the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom, the University of Hamburg in Germany and the Meteorological Research Institute in Japan.  

Read the full story here.

Commerce's USPTO Co-Sponsored Collegiate Inventors Seeking Inventive Entries from Students

Harris Wang, Harvard Medical School; Arti Rai, USPTO Administrator for External Affairs; Stephen Diebold University of Illinois

The Invent Now Collegiate Inventors Competition, now in its 19th year, is inviting inventive students to enter its 2010 competition.

The Collegiate Inventors Competition is designed to recognize and honor student innovators at the graduate and undergraduate levels.  Since 1990, the Competition has honored numerous individuals and teams for their outstanding inventive contributions and innovative research.  This year, nearly $80,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the winning undergraduate and graduate students and advisors at a special awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in the fall.    The Competition is sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Abbott Fund.

The deadline for entering this year’s Competition is June 25, 2010.   Entries are judged on originality of the idea, process or technology, and their potential value and usefulness to society.

Read more here.