November 29, 2012
The National Ocean Service marked an important milestone this month—the 100th Ocean Today video. Ocean Today is a network of kiosks at 32 aquariums, museums and science centers that provides videos and other content to increase ocean literacy among the public.
Ocean Today is a NOAA-wide effort, managed here at NOS. The short videos provide viewers with insights on the mystery and beauty of the ocean, along with the role that NOAA plays in understanding and protecting it. The project was first developed for the Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History. Over the past four years, the kiosks spread to institutions across the country and even in Canada, Mexico and England. In all, more than 21 million people visit these facilities every year. You can also view the videos online at http://oceantoday.noaa.gov/.
Congratulations to the Ocean Today team and many thanks to all of you across NOAA who have helped to make Ocean Today a success!
National Ocean Service
NOAA's Ocean Today just launched its 100th video! The latest Making Waves podcast highlights this achievement and showcases the latest video from Ocean Today about an effort to promote safe and responsible whale watching.
The next ten years of the nation's ocean observation activities are about to take shape. The recent 2012 U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) Summit in Herndon, Virginia, welcomed 200 participants from the U.S. IOOS community. Each participant represented a larger IOOS sector, interest group, or subject matter expertise – including federal entities; local, state, and tribal governments; academic institutions and researchers; non-governmental organizations; industries such as shipping, fishing, construction, insurance, offshore energy and more; and international interests. As lead federal agency for U.S. IOOS, NOAA was well-represented. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction and NOAA Deputy Administrator spoke. Other participants included David Kennedy, National Ocean Service Assistant Administrator and representatives of all five Line Offices. Summit participants helped shape the direction of IOOS for the next decade. Following the Summit, contributors will finalize and socialize the final proceedings and recommendations to the U.S. IOOS community at-large. For more information, contact Kate Lambert.
One of NOAA's most popular information resources is now even easier to use. NOAA's Digital Coast provides the data, tools, and training most needed by coastal communities. A wide range of resources are available, from Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) data to guidance for local inundation mapping. User recommendations prompted the recent site redesign. A "Get Data Now" button is now on the front page, providing quicker access for those frequent users who want to go straight to the data delivery system. The top five products in each of the major content categories are now available from the home page, and the sorting function on the data and tool pages makes finding the right resource easier. Visit the Digital Coast at www.csc.noaa.gov/digitalcoast. For more information, contact Lindy Betzhold.
NOAA's Hydrographic Services Review Panel met this week in New Orleans to discuss hydrographic surveying, nautical charting, tides and current measurements, and geodetic and geospatial measurements for the Gulf of Mexico region. The three-day meeting was open to the public, with time for public comment periods in the afternoons. The directors of Coast Survey, National Geodetic Survey, and the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services participated at the meeting. Additionally, the panel invited representatives of the regional maritime community, including port authority officials and marine pilots, the geospatial community, and users of NOAA's tides and currents information. Topics included commercial shipping, navigation safety, accuracy of land elevation data for coastal management, and natural hazard warning and response for the Gulf region. For more information, contact Kathy Watson.
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has identified the remains of an early 20th century shipwreck in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to be those of the 315-foot British steamship Hannah M. Bell which sunk in 1911. Information gathered by Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Maritime Archaeologist and project lead Matt Lawrence, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Maritime Heritage Coordinator Brenda Altmeier, and volunteers from the National Association of Black Scuba Divers during a September 2012 field survey enabled sanctuary staff to confirm the wreck's origins. Similar to the way detectives use forensic information to solve a crime, sanctuary staff compared the dimensions and construction characteristics of the shipwreck known locally as 'Mike's Wreck' with historic shipping records in order to solve this mystery. No lives were lost when the Hannah M. Bell grounded about six miles offshore of Key Largo, Fla., on April 4, 1911 loaded with coal bound for Vera Cruz, Mexico. For more information, contact Brenda Altmeier or Matthew Lawrence.
This week, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) hosted researchers from the Royal Observatory of Belgium and Geoscience Australia at the NGS Corbin Training Center in Corbin, Virginia, to observe and discuss NGS's absolute antenna calibration program. NGS scientists demonstrated the new absolute antenna calibration system and processing software, and were on hand to answer questions about calibration operations. During this visit, the researchers planned experiment design for ground truth measurements and discussed methods and best practices for comparing various calibration institutions. NGS provides calibration of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) antennas as a service to the public. NGS is currently the only International GNSS Service (IGS)-certified calibration institution in the United States. High accuracy and precision GNSS solutions are not possible unless antenna calibrations from all institutions are consistent with one another and accurately reflect the actual phase behavior of an antenna. Therefore, independent tests and verification of calibration values from NGS and other calibration institutions gives the geodetic community confidence in the positioning solutions using these calibration values. For more information, contact Andria Bilich.
A new web resource for teachers has been launched to explain the physics and application of tides and currents knowledge to real-world situations, and the impacts of tides and currents on climate, environment, and society. Cooperatively developed with CO-OPS and the National Science Teachers Association, the new module has over 130 links for teacher and students, along with nine new lesson plans integrating real-time tides and currents data, the effects of tides and currents on oil spills, and how climate change is related to tides and currents. For more information, contact Bruce Moravchik.