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Monitoring & Understanding

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Monitoring & Understanding Our Changing Planet

Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

Taking the Pulse of Estuaries with Cutting-Edge Technology

Define “estuary.” Now pronounce it. If either challenge gives you pause, you’re in good company. Many people who live along the coast are not familiar with the term. They are, however, familiar with the benefits an estuary provides. More...

Image of the sea floor.

Seeing the Sea Floor

Ever wonder what the sea floor looks like? Just ask a NOAA hydrographer (an expert who maps and studies the sea floor) and you will learn that it is very similar to a continent — dotted with plains, mountains, and deep canyons. More...

NOAA Sentinel measures water levels

NOAA Sentinels Help Protect Our Coasts

America’s coastal communities are vulnerable to a wide range of hazards, including hurricanes, tsunamis, and shoreline erosion. To help reduce the effects of these hazards and provide critical information during severe coastal storms, NOAA has installed four large hurricane-hardened, water-level stations, called “NOAA’s Sentinels of the Coast,” to measure storm tides off the Gulf coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. More...

Fished killed by a harmful algal bloom

Keeping an Eye on Algal Blooms and Hypoxia

Dead fish or dolphins. Shellfish beds closed to harvesting. Coughing beachgoers with burning throats and eyes. Discolored water. Decaying algae piled along the beach. The cause? A harmful algal bloom (HAB) could be the culprit. More...