NOAA's navigation response teams (NRT) conduct hydrographic surveys to update NOAA’s suite of nautical charts. The teams are strategically located around the country and remain on call to respond to emergencies speeding the resumption of shipping after storms, and protecting life and property from underwater dangers to navigation. Five new NRT boats, including the one shown here, were procured over a three-year period with the final boat built in 2017.
On February 9, 2018, the NOAA Central Library unveiled the newly restored painting, Pathfinder, painted in 1899 by renowned maritime artist, Antonio Jacobsen. Included as part of the NOAA Central Library Rare Books collection, the painting is the oldest extant painting of a NOAA ancestor ship in the possession of NOAA.
The Pathfinder vessel was one of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey’s early ships, in service from 1899-1941. The history of the Pathfinder is unique, as its career spanned 40 years charting Philippine waters before its loss in the early days of World War II. In addition to helping open the Philippine Islands to then modern ship-borne commerce, its pre-war work was instrumental for both strategic and tactical purposes in the retaking of the Philippine Islands during World War II.
On November 16, 2017, volunteers at Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Texas cleaned up debris washed between the rocks in a jetty following Hurricane Harvey. The jetty shown here lines Aransas Pass, where oil tankers pass through to Corpus Christi Bay. The damage to the pier in the background was not caused by wind. It sustained damage from an oil tanker that was beached during the hurricane and broke free after the storm passed. The crew is cleaning up debris that washed between the rocks in the jetty during Harvey.
On November 16, 2017, volunteers replaced pea gravel blown away during Hurricane Harvey on the trail at the Wetland Education Center at Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Texas. The Wetland Education Center offers trails and interpretive signs that help educate visitors on the surrounding wetlands. Staff who remained on site during the hurricane said that pea gravel from the paths pelted buildings on the reserve "like thousands of bullets."
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.
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.
Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services staff installs an air gap sensor on the Don Holt Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina. The sensor is part of the Charleston Harbor Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System, or PORTS®. Information from the sensor is critical for under bridge clearance, as ships continue to maximize channel depths and widths while, at the same time, push the bounds of bridge heights.
The NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson prepares to bring aboard one of its launches after a day of hydrographic surveying in Long Island Sound. In 2012, the Thomas Jefferson and its two launches are working in a collaborative effort with the states of Connecticut and New York, to gather data that will help guide policy decisions about future uses of the sea floor, as well as to update nautical charts.
The NOAA Ship Fairweather is named after Mt. Fairweather, located in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve along the U.S.-Canada border. Mt. Fairweather was named by Captain Cook in 1778, presumably because of the good weather encountered at the time of his visit. Fairweather conducted a 2012 reconnaissance mission to help NOAA prioritize its efforts to update navigational charts in the Arctic.
NOAA’s newest survey vessel is the Ferninand R. Hassler. Hassler is a state-of-the-art coastal mapping vessel designed to detect and monitor changes to the sea floor. Data collected by the ship will be used to update nautical charts, detect potential hazards to navigation, and further enhance our understanding of the ever-changing marine environment.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn joins Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator; David Kennedy, NOS Assistant Administrator; Marc Miller, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director; and Senator Richard Durbin at signing ceremony on March 9, 2012, to approve the new Illinois Coastal Management Program.
A view of the new "Gateway to NOAA," a permanent exhibit now open in Silver Spring, Maryland. The exhibit--only steps away from the Silver Spring Metro stop--features breathtaking imagery, multimedia presentations, and amazing artifacts that illustrate how NOAA has, since its earliest history, sought to increase people's understanding of the land, the sea, and the sky.
Spectators look on as homemade cardboard boats race across the Thunder Bay River in Michigan during the 1st annual Cardboard Boat Regatta on July 4, 2011. The Regatta is part of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Maritime Festival, a celebration of the area's rich maritime heritage and America's birthday!
Students from Adelante Elementary School in Santa Barbara, Calif., conducted a point-to-point live broadcast with Aquanauts, scientists, and educators from 60-feet underwater and topside in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary during the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries' 'Aquarius 2010: If Reefs Could Talk' mission in October, 2010. Check out the mission log online.
Rapture Reef sits within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, which was created in 2006. One hundred times larger than Yellowstone National Park, the monument encompasses more than 140,000 square miles of ocean and coral reef habitat. It is the single largest fully protected marine conservation area in the world. Image credit: Robert Schwemmer, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries
NOAA Ship Fairweather in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. The Fairweather is designed and outfitted primarily for conducting hydrographic surveys in support of nautical charting, but the ship is capable of many other missions in support of NOAA programs. The Fairweather is equipped with the latest in hydrographic survey technology — multi-beam survey systems; high-speed, high-resolution side-scan sonar; position and orientation systems; hydrographic survey launches; and an on-board data-processing server. The Fairweather is named for Mt. Fairweather in southeast Alaska, which is the highest peak in the Fairweather Range -- the tallest coastal range on Earth.
Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services National Current Observation Program conducted several major surveys of tidal currents in response to user requests. Data has been collected in southeast Alaska since 2001 to help update tidal current predictions critical to safe navigation and other applications that are published annually in the U.S. Tidal Current Tables. Here, scientists deploy current meter buoys and anchors used for the surveys.
Divers from the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Eastern Carolina University photograph the German U-boat U-352. U-352 was surveyed off the coast of Morehead City, N.C., during the Battle of the Atlantic Expedition Summer 2008. The wreck site was surveyed using traditional archaeological mapping techniques coupled with video and photographic documentation. The site was discovered in the 1970s and has suffered the effects of storms, time, and looters. NOAA's objective during the survey was to map the site in detail and to assess its historical significance and archaeological integrity. NOAA divers used various technologies to document the sites, including employing underwater cameras and sonar to create a photo-mosaic of the wreck.
For decades, hazardous substances released through storm drains from area industries contaminated Commencement Bay and its waterways and sediments. In October 1991, NOAA and its co-trustees began a damage assessment and restoration planning process to restore injured resources such as wetlands and salmon habitat in this Washington State area.
An employee from the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services installs an air gap sensor which measures bridge clearance on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, New York. The sensors take readings every six minutes to account for changes in water level, volume of traffic crossing the bridges, and air temperature, all of which cause bridge clearance to fluctuate. As ships become taller, some are passing under bridges with just inches to spare. This new capability is available through NOAA's Physical Oceanographic Real-time System, which provides quality-controlled oceanographic and weather data at U.S. seaports to aid navigation.
On June 2, 2008, hundreds of NOAA employees and partners participated in the 5th annual NOAA Restoration Day in two separate events -- one in Maryland and the other in Virginia. This event has grown every year as NOAA employees in Maryland and Virginia work to restore habitat at two important sites in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The RV Sam Gray, a vessel operated by Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, assisting in the Battle of the Atlantic Expedition Summer 2008. NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, in collaboration with the National Park Service, Minerals Management Service, East Carolina University, the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute, and the State of North Carolina, conducted this archaeological expedition to survey ships sunk off the coast of North Carolina during World War II.
A scientist from the Minerals Management Service surveys the German U-boat U-701 during the Battle of the Atlantic Expedition Summer 2008 off the coast of North Carolina. The 2008 summer expedition was the first part of a larger multi-year project to research and document a number of historically significant shipwrecks tragically lost during WWII. The project is dedicated to raising awareness of the war that was fought so close to the American coastline and to preserving our nation's maritime history.
An employee from the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services installs an air gap sensor which measures bridge clearance on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, New York. The sensor is part of the New York/New Jersey Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System. Information from the sensor is critical for under-bridge clearance, as ships continue to maximize channel depths and widths while, at the same time, push the bounds of bridge heights.
Scientists at the Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston, South Carolina, draw up a water sample for chemical analysis. The sample is being drawn from a simulated salt-marsh ecosystem that has been exposed to an herbicide to study its fate and effects in a coastal environment.