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

People & Company News

Baltic Mercur II makes maiden voyage to Antwerp

This week Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers (ARRC) celebrates the maiden voyage of the Baltic Mercur II via the port of Antwerp as part of their regular transatlantic service to the US Gulf.

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

USS George Washington Completes Carrier Qualifications

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) completed its carrier qualifications (CQ), May 23. CQ allows

Technology

DNV GL’s Synergi to Manage Siem Offshore Newbuilding Projects

Siem Offshore has chosen DNV GL’s Synergi Project to manage nine newbuilding projects. Synergi Project software The software is used to optimize the collaboration

Huawei Bags MCT Submarine Cable Contract

Huawei Marine has signed a system design and construction agreement with a consortium comprising Telekom Malaysia Berhad, Symphony Communication and Telcotech

U.S. Senators Urge Obama to Block Arctic Oil Drilling

A group of 18 mostly Democratic U.S. senators on Friday urged the Obama administration to stop Royal Dutch Shell's preparations for oil exploration in the Arctic,

Maritime Safety

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

Wärtsilä's' Propulsion for Use with US Compliant ELA

Wärtsilä has developed propulsion systems that are capable of operating with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) and comply with the US Vessel General Permit 2013 (VGP-2013).

USS George Washington Completes Carrier Qualifications

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) completed its carrier qualifications (CQ), May 23. CQ allows

Government Update

Solarworld Wants Duties on Chinese Solar Goods in U.S. Extended

German solar manufacturer SolarWorld will apply to the United States for an extension of duties on Chinese panel imports that are due to end this year, weekly Euro am Sonntag said.

Alaska, Washington to build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

Launch of First Future Destroyer, Hobart

Speech delivered by the Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews during the launch of Hobart - the first future destroyer: Thank you for being here on this very important day.

Arctic Operations

Arctic Sea Ice Decline

Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is at its lowest May level since records began in the 1980s, says Al Jazeera.    The lowest levels in the history of Arctic sea ice

Alaska, Washington to build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

U.S. Senators Urge Obama to Block Arctic Oil Drilling

A group of 18 mostly Democratic U.S. senators on Friday urged the Obama administration to stop Royal Dutch Shell's preparations for oil exploration in the Arctic,

Surveyors

Mobil Says Oil Discovery off Guyana is 'Significant'

Unlike almost all its neighbors, Guyana isn’t an oil producer yet. But the energy giant Exxon Mobil recently announced it had discovered “significant” oil off the coast.

Carrier Schedule Reliability Improves in April

Transport consultant Drewry’s Carrier Performance Insight (CPI) for April records 67.6%, up by 4.1 percentage improvement on the previous month in the aggregate

China Denies Kra Canal Deal

China has denied it is involved in work on the Kra canal, defusing hype over a project that purportedly lets ships bypass the Strait of Malacca and Singapore's port, reports Strait Times.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.4401 sec (2 req/sec)