Arctic Surveys Yielding Data and Savings

Friday, December 16, 2011

U.S.-Canada Arctic Ocean survey partnership saved costs, increased data; 2011 mission concludes joint seafloor survey operations.

 

A recent mission marked the completion of a five-year collaboration between the United States and Canada to survey the Arctic Ocean. The bilateral project collected scientific data to delineate the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the coastline, also known as the extended continental shelf (ECS).

 

The U.S. has an inherent interest in knowing, and declaring to others, the exact extent of its sovereign rights in the ocean as set forth in the Convention on the Law of the Sea. For the ECS, this includes sovereign rights over natural resources on and under the seabed including energy resources such as: oil and natural gas and gas hydrates; “sedentary” creatures such as clams, crabs, and corals; and mineral resources such as manganese nodules, ferromanganese crusts, and polymetallic sulfides. 

 

The 2011 joint Arctic mission spanned nearly six weeks in August and September and was the fourth year to employ flagship icebreakers from both countries, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent.

 

“This two-ship approach was both productive and necessary in the Arctic’s difficult and varying ice conditions,” said Larry Mayer, Ph.D., U.S. chief scientist on the Arctic mission and co-director of the NOAA-University of New Hampshire Joint Hydrographic Center. “With one ship breaking ice for the other, the partnership increased the data either nation could have obtained operating alone, saved millions of dollars by ensuring data were collected only once, provided data useful to both nations for defining the extended continental shelf, and increased scientific and diplomatic cooperation”.

 

Preliminary studies indicate the U.S. ECS, including the Arctic Ocean areas surveyed, total at least one million square kilometers, an area about twice the size of California. Additional data collection and analysis will lead to more accurate estimates of the extent of the U.S. ECS. 

 

U.S. ECS work is not limited to the Arctic and includes areas in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, Gulf of Alaska, Marianas and Line Islands, as well as areas off northern California and northwest of Hawaii. In addition to Arctic survey work, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) led missions in 2011 to collect seismic data in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, and scientists from the Joint Hydrographic Center collected bathymetric data northwest of Hawaii. NOAA and USGS funded the 2011 U.S. missions. Two U.S. ECS missions are planned for 2012, one in the Atlantic and one in the Arctic. 

 

“The amount and quality of the data collected as part of these joint Arctic missions met and often exceeded the expectations we would set each year,” said Deborah Hutchinson, Ph.D., a geologist with the USGS and U.S. science lead and liaison on board CCG Ship Louis S. St-Laurent.

This year’s U.S. Arctic mission was led by the Joint Hydrographic Center, a partnership between NOAA and the University of New Hampshire, while the Canadian mission was led by the Geological Survey of Canada of Natural Resources Canada.  

 

Scientists on board Healy used a multibeam echo sounder to collect bathymetric data to create three-dimensional images of the seafloor. Scientists aboard CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent collected seismic data to determine the thickness of the sediments under the seafloor and to better understand the geology of the Arctic Ocean. The 2011 Arctic mission traversed more than 5,600 total miles over the Beaufort Shelf, Chukchi Borderland, Alpha Ridge, and Canada Basin and reached more than 1,230 miles north of the Alaskan coast. 

“As in previous Arctic missions, we obtained data in areas we were not entirely sure the ice would allow us to proceed, even with a two-ship operation,” said Andy Armstrong, co-chief scientist on the Arctic mission and co-director of the NOAA-University of New Hampshire Joint Hydrographic Center. “This was especially true in the eastern part of the Canada Basin where some of the thickest Arctic ice is found.”

 

Data collected by these two nations tells other scientific stories for the first time. For example, USGS scientists collected baseline data on ocean acidification and scientists from the National Ice Center compared observed ice conditions with interpretations of the same ice seen on satellite imagery.

 

From 2006 to date, scientists on board CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent have collected nearly 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) of seismic data, vastly increasing the seismic data holdings in this area of the deep Arctic Ocean. Scientists from the United States and Canada are using these seismic data to revise models of the origin and tectonic evolution of this poorly understood portion of the ocean. 

 

Since the start of U.S. ECS work in the Arctic in 2003, Healy alone has mapped more than 320,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles) of the Arctic seafloor, or about the size of Arizona. 

 

“These data provided high resolution maps to help determine the outer limits of the U.S. ECS, while revealing previously undiscovered mountains, known as seamounts, and scours created by past glaciers and icebergs scraping along the ocean bottom 400 meters below the surface,” said Mayer.

 

The U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task Force is responsible for delineating the U.S. ECS and is chaired by the Department of State with co-vice chairs from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of the Interior. Ten additional agencies participate in the task force, including the U.S. Geological Survey, Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Arctic Research Commission, and the Executive Office of the President. Additional information on the joint U.S.-Canadian Extended Continental Shelf cruise is available at http://www.continentalshelf.gov and http://ess.nrcan.gc.ca/scient_e.php.
 

Maritime Reporter February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

ThyssenKrupp Says Submarines Part of Growth Story

Germany's Thyssenkrupp sees its submarine business as making an important contribution to its growth targets, the head of its Industrial Solutions business area said on Tuesday.

Two Newbuilds Delivered to Star Bulk

Star Bulk Carriers Corp. took delivery on February 27 of M/V Honey Badger (ex HN NE 164) and M/V Wolverine (ex HN NE 165), two 61,000 dwt Ultramax bulk carriers

Brazil Truck Strike Diminishes

Some truck drivers in Brazil continued blocking roads on Tuesday, slowing grains deliveries to southern ports, even as adherence to the strike diminished and a

Technology

ThyssenKrupp Says Submarines Part of Growth Story

Germany's Thyssenkrupp sees its submarine business as making an important contribution to its growth targets, the head of its Industrial Solutions business area said on Tuesday.

Added Value Innovation Drives Control of BWTS

Specifying for ballast water treatment systems can be a difficult process. Ian Hamilton, sales manager for marine electrical wiring control and instrumentation specialists CMR Group, offers guidance.

“Bright Ideas” program - Ash Center - Harvard University

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized the Port of Houston Partners

Maritime Safety

Winter in US Northeast Takes a Toll on Ferries

With its black hull rumbling against a field of broken ice, the Warren Jr. slowly eased away from a dock in the Boston suburb of Hingham on Tuesday, aiming to clear

USCG Marine Safety Alert

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a marine safety alert today to remind all gas carrier owners and operators to ensure that all personnel follow approved Safety Management

USCG Marine Safety Alert

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a marine safety alert today to remind vessel owners and operators to establish effective fuel oil changeover procedures during efforts

Government Update

Hike in Service Tax at Indian Ports

The Indian Ministry of Finance has advised an increase in service tax and applicable at all ports. The effective date has not yet been announced. The rate

Manila Port Congestion Eased: Palace

Malacañang has declared that the congestion at the Port of Manila has been resolved, noting the various measures that the government and the private sector have implemented to address the problem.

Canadian Navy Delays Opening of Arctic Facility

Canada's military has again delayed the opening of a major new Arctic port, a sign the government is struggling to assert sovereignty over a remote resource-rich region.

Arctic Operations

Zeroing in on Zukunft

The U.S. Coast Guard Commandant addresses a packed Passenger Vessel Association meeting and outlines both the challenges and opportunities facing his organization.

Viking Neptun Delivered for Technip

Viking Neptun was delivered from Kleven Verft to Eidesvik on February 17, and the naming ceremony was held in Stavanger on February 28. The vessel’s Godmother,

Royal Navy Data Provide Insights for Arctic Science

The researchers at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) have investigated the nature of turbulence in the ocean beneath the Arctic sea-ice using recently released

Surveyors

Ice Coverage on Great Lakes 89 pct: NOAA

Ice coverage on the Great Lakes is nearing 90 percent, reveals high resolution satellites images from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).   The entire Great Lakes is at 88.

ClassNK Updates Guidelines for Floating Offshore Facilities

ClassNK released a new version of its Guidelines for Floating Offshore Facilities for LNG/LPG Production, Storage, Offloading and Regasification.   Available on the ClassNK website,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Navigation Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2502 sec (4 req/sec)