In 1966, there was a major breakthrough in tide gauge technology with the introduction of the Analog-to-Digital (ADR) tide gauge. The ADR’s punch paper provided a computer compatible data recording, compared with earlier analog gauges which drew lines on a paper chart. The ADR paper tapes were read by an optical reader and translated onto nine-track magnetic tape for loading onto a computer system for processing. ADR gauges were used until 2003, when NOAA had fully transitioned to the Next Generation Water Level Measurement System.
In December 1866, the U.S. Coast Survey (NOAA's predecessor agency) began printing tide tables as an independent, annual publication. The first edition, for the year 1867, separated the predictions for the Atlantic coast and Pacific coast of the United States into two publications and gave only the daily high tides. Low tides were added in later years, as were tidal current predictions. In 2015, NOAA issued its 150th edition.
The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey used tide prediction machine No. 2, fondly referred to as "Old Brass Brains," to predict tides from 1912-1965. It was the first machine made to simultaneously compute the height of the tide and the times of high and low waters. Today, tide predictions are made on electronic computers.
Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Habitats for sea turtles, bottlenose dolphin, and manatees can be found in the deeper waters of this reserve. Oyster reefs and seagrass beds serve as nursery areas for important marine species such as shrimp, blue crab, speckled trout, and red fish. Credit: Gretchen L. Grammer.
Oyster beds at low tide. The North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve is comprised of four sites located near Corolla (Currituck Banks), Beaufort (Rachel Carson) and Wilmington (Masonboro Island and Zeke's Island) near Cape Hatteras. Credit: North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Pendleton Point in Islesboro, Maine. Did you know that Maine has more coastline than California? NOAA's official value for the total length of the U.S. shoreline is 95,471 miles. The NOAA shoreline length calculation was determined by hand in 1939-40 with a recording instrument on the largest-scale charts and maps available at that time. Shorelines of outer coast, offshore islands, sounds, bays, rivers, and creeks were included to the head of the tidewater or to a point where tidal waters narrow to a width of 100 feet. For the Great Lakes, the shoreline lengths were measured in 1970 by the International Coordinating Committee on Great Lakes Basic Hydraulic and Hydrologic Data.
Wells Beach, Maine. The economic benefits of tourism and coastal living contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. Economy. In 2011, the tourism and recreation industry in coastal shoreline counties employed almost three million people and contributed over $282 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Each year, the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaii at Hilo holds an international training program to assist developing nations in monitoring technologies for potentially active volcanoes. This year, National Geodetic Survey's Francine Coloma shared her expertise in deploying and managing GPS equipment, networks, and related surveying techniques in this humanitarian outreach effort. The program is an international training course in volcano hazards monitoring sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Disaster Assistance Program. This photo was shot at Holei Pali on the flank of Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.
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