NOS Assistant Administrator Weekly Update

Hi Everyone,

Being able to see items from our history—whether our family history or our history as a nation—helps us connect with the past and share our stories with future generations. Construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture is underway in Washington, D.C. The museum is scheduled to open in 2015, but you can preview the museum's collections in person and online.

For example, take a look at the museum's Facebook page, which provides new photos of artifacts several times a week. In addition to documenting African American history, the museum is collecting artifacts that celebrate the rich contributions of African Americans to our culture, also reflected on the Facebook page. A Facebook account is not required to view the page.

Online, you can also visit the museum's website to learn about the building, collections and events. For example, the website includes first-hand accounts that the museum is gathering from people who were activists in the Freedom Movement during the 1950s and 1960s.

Those in the DC area can visit the museum's gallery's exhibit at the National Museum of American History, "Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963."

Understanding the history and culture of African Americans helps us understand our country's history and celebrate our culture as a diverse nation. I invite you to learn more through the resources noted here.

Thank you,

Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal
Zone Management, National Ocean Service

Around NOS

NOAA Preps for New "Virtual" Aids to Navigation

Soon the U.S. Coast Guard will begin testing virtual Aids to Navigation (ATONs). Unlike physical aids to navigation, such as buoys or lighthouses, information from the new Automated Identification System ATONs will be broadcasted over the air. In preparation for this impending change, Coast Survey has developed a new set of symbols to depict these virtual navigation aids which will be added to upcoming editions of NOAA nautical charts.

Contact: Julia Powell

Changes in Climate Could Make Pesticides More Toxic to Estuarine Organisms

Changing climate variables may influence pesticide toxicity in the coastal zone, according to a recent NCCOS study. Pesticides enter estuarine waters via runoff and drift from agricultural, turf grass, home and garden, and mosquito control applications. NCCOS researchers tested adult and larval grass shrimp, phytoplankton, and larval clams with pesticides commonly used to control insect, weed, and fungal pests. Then, the toxicity of the chemicals was compared using standard test conditions to toxicity under climate stress conditions (e.g., higher temperature, higher salinity, lower oxygen, and lower pH). In general, pesticides were more toxic under more extreme conditions than under conventional testing conditions. Study results suggest that future risk assessments should take climate variables into account in determining the safety of pesticide use within the coastal zone.

Contact: Marie Delorenzo

CO-OPS Brings Observing Systems Expertise to the Gulf of Mexico Region

CO-OPS has established a new team in Mobile, Ala., at the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center (DRC). The team is responsible for communicating and managing assignments, providing technical oversight, and conducting maintenance and repair for approximately 90 CO-OPS observing systems in locations ranging from Florida to Texas. The Mobile location will facilitate operations and maintenance of observing systems located in the Gulf of Mexico coastal waters due to its central location and proximity to many of the CO-OPS maintained stations, thus reducing travel costs and decreasing response time. CO-OPS, in collaboration with the Office of Response and Restoration, can assist the DRC with enhancing emergency preparedness, response and recovery operations, and ensure timely and accurate delivery of relevant data and information to decision makers before, during, and after an incident.

Contact: David Lane 

2011 Data Released on the U.S. Ocean and Great Lakes Economy

In 2011, the U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy supported almost three million jobs (an increase of 2.4 percent over 2010) and accounted for almost $300 billion dollars of the nation's gross domestic product. These are just a few highlights from the NOAA Coastal Services Center's Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) data set, now updated to include statistics for 2011. ENOW's data describe six economic sectors directly depending on the ocean and Great Lakes and include statistics for businesses, employment, wages, and gross domestic product. ENOW data are available for more than four hundred coastal counties, thirty coastal states, eight regions, and the nation.

Contact:  Jeffery Adkins

Combining Art and Science, Marine Debris Exhibit Opens with Symposium at Anchorage Museum

Gyre: The Plastic Ocean, an innovative and hands-on exhibit on marine debris, has opened at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska. The NOAA Marine Debris Program is a partner on the Gyre Project, which brings perspective to the global marine debris problem through art and science. It examines the complex relationship between humans, the ocean, and a culture of consumption, all the way down to how debris affects the pristine Alaska wilderness. The exhibit takes a close look at the evolution of plastics from its use to advance technology, such as transportation, to its use in everyday disposable items, such as single-use water bottles. The exhibit tells a global marine debris story through the work of artists from around the world and includes a National Geographic film, documentary photography, hands-on activities, as well as findings and trash gathered during a 2013 scientific expedition to study marine debris in Alaska.

Contact person: Asma Mahdi

Hosting International Guests at Table Mountain Geophysical Observatory

NGS hosted a mini-comparison of absolute gravimeters at the Table Mountain Geophysical Observatory (TMGO) in Longmont, Colo., from Feb. 17-20. The absolute gravimeters participating are from Austria and Germany, with two other meters belonging to the United States. TMGO is in close proximity to the manufacturer of the instruments where the European meters were sent for repairs. Regular comparisons between the few absolute gravimeters in the world are necessary to validate the achievable accuracy of each meter relative to the group mean. This information can be used in standardizing gravity surveys internationally. 

Contact: Mark Eckl

MPA Center Participates in Workshop on Pan-Arctic Network of MPAs

MPA Center staff recently participated in a workshop hosted by the Arctic Council's workgroup on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) to develop a framework for a pan-Arctic network of MPAs. The workshop was attended by 22 MPA experts from the Arctic nations and NGOs. Participants provided input to a framework document that will outline a common vision, objectives and definitions, as well as identifying opportunities for collaboration to strengthen, expand and connect the domestic MPA networks of Arctic nations. The framework will be completed in late 2014. 

Contact: Lauren Wenzel

Online Historical Sea Ice Atlas Roll-Out

On Feb. 18, scientists rolled-out the first digital atlas of historical sea ice concentration for the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering Seas over the past 160 years. The web-based tool enables users to view and download sea ice concentration data around Alaska from 1850 to the present. The Alaska Ocean Observing System, a region of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, collaborated on this effort with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy and the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning. Users can select historic dates and locations, and watch animations of how open water seasons have varied in time and space. Requests for data can be processed in graphic or map formats. The atlas includes a detailed glossary on types of sea ice and information on original data sources and how the data were compiled.

Contact: Jennie Lyons

NOS Assistant Administrator
NOS Assistant Administrator Holly Bamford

NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Holly Bamford

Quick Links
Web Highlight
web highlight image

Are you familiar with the Intracoastal Waterway? In today's podcast, learn about this approximately 3,000-mile route that supports commercial and recreational boating along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Tune in to hear from Coast Survey's Capt. Shep Smith and Dawn Forsythe.

Get Social

Questions or comments about this newsletter?
Send us an email

NOS Communications & Education Division