April 18, 2013
Our country faced a shocking tragedy on Monday in Boston. Along with parents across the country, I'm sitting a little longer with my young sons each evening before bedtime. No matter where we live, we feel the heartbreak of the victims and their families. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.
Monday also brought us news about furloughs at NOAA. To make it easier to track the latest information, we've set up a page on the For Employees site. You can also see the most recent updates on the For Employees home page.
Holly A. Bamford, Ph.D.
National Ocean Service
Do you know what oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops have in common? Get the facts with our latest Ocean Fact!
When NOAA recently tested the capabilities of Google Maps Engine (GME) by processing a geospatial dataset and uploading the data to GME the following morning—in a process called "cloud computing"—it was the first time that NOAA made a non-emergency response dataset available as a Geographic Information System (GIS) service in less than 24 hours. Until recently, the ability to host and serve data this way was encumbered by limited staff resources and the requirement that NOAA own the server software and hardware. In the cloud, these limitations disappear because populating the data stores is almost as easy as checking email. In addition to meeting NOAA charting requirements, data provided via the Cloud may make it easier for the public and other stakeholders to make more efficient use of NOAA data. For more information, contact Jon Sellars.
NOAA's Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary recently released a climate change impacts report entitled "Climate Change and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary: Interpreting Potential Futures." The report is an initial accomplishment under planned sanctuary climate change action plans, and provides a strong foundation of information for further actions and adaptations in the region. Existing observations and science-based projections were used to identify an extensive suite of potential climate change impacts to habitats, plants, and animals within the sanctuary and adjacent coastal areas. Key issues identified include projected extreme weather events (winds, waves, storms) and resultant coastal erosion, an increase in ocean acidity and water temperature, and more extreme weather patterns, including Pacific Northwest regional rainfall increases triggering 100-year magnitude floods. For more information, contact Ed Bowlby.
The largest recorded harmful algal bloom (HAB) in Lake Erie's history may be an omen for the future. A new multi-investigator study supported in part by funding from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, concludes the record-breaking 2011 bloom was likely caused by a combination of changing farming practices and weather conditions—conditions predicted to continue under a changing climate. Farming practices such as tillage and fertilizer use have changed over the last 10 years. In addition, more intense weather and increased runoff events have injected more phosphorus into Lake Erie. After 2011's bloom began to form, an extended period of weak circulation and warm weather further promoted its growth. The authors predict that all of these factors are likely to continue to occur in the future, increasing the chances of these toxic blooms. For more information, contact Elizabeth Turner.
The Digital Coast has improved access to data with the Digital Coast Data Registry. The registry is a collection of coastal geospatial data from many sources accessible in a variety of formats for use, download, and viewing. This new resource enhances the user's ability to discover all the ways data sets are available and to find additional data sets that may be of interest. Since these data sets are hosted from a variety of authoritative sources, users are saved the work of searching many disparate sites for information. Users of the registry can filter the data by thematic category, state or territory, offshore region, and service type. The registry also provides easier access to map services for map-making on the go. For more information, contact Lindy Betzhold.
From April 9-12, NOAA chaired the 12th Intergovernmental Session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Sub-Commission for the Caribbean in Panama. Key issues at the meeting included re-election of the U.S. chairperson, financial crisis at IOC, adoption of a biennial work plan, and an appeal by regional members to transform the Secretariat position from a half- to full-time position. This Sub-commission addresses many NOAA programmatic priorities in the NOAA draft Caribbean strategy including the Global Ocean Observing System, Caribbean large marine ecosystem management, harmful algal blooms, integrated coastal management, and capacity building. For more information, contact Arthur Paterson.
From April 4-5, NOAA Marine Debris Program staff presented at a plastics workshop hosted by the University of Waterloo, Ontario. The University staff is engaged in a feasibility study to detect plastics in the Great Lakes using remote sensing techniques. If found feasible and trial runs prove to be effective, this work could be applied nationwide. NOAA Marine Debris Program staff presented information on previous plastics research as well as experiences in at-sea and satellite debris detection technologies. The NOAA Marine Debris Program will continue to keep tabs on the project and remain engaged as it progresses. For more information, contact Sarah Opfer.