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Ocean Observation News

23 Jan 2024

RRS Sir David Attenborough Begins Research Mission in the Southern Ocean

(Photo: British Antarctic Survey)

Scientists aboard Britain's high-tech polar research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough are headed to the Weddell Sea to investigate how carbon dioxide moves and transforms in the Southern Ocean.The ship departed Tuesday from Punta Arenas, Chile for the 30-day scientific expedition.As the carbon in the seawater rises to the surface near Antarctica, it interacts with the atmosphere, ice, and microscopic plants and animals, called phytoplankton and zooplankton, near the ocean surface, before descending to the ocean depths.

05 Sep 2023

Sand Dredging is 'Sterilizing' Ocean Floor, UN Warns

© Alexey Seafarer / Adobe Stock

Around 6 billion tons of marine sand is being dug up each year in a growing practice that a U.N. agency said is unsustainable and can wipe out local marine life irreversibly.Sand is the most exploited natural resource in the world after water but its extraction for use in industries like construction is only loosely governed, prompting the U.N.

15 Aug 2023

Global Conservation Mission Sets Sail from UK in Darwin's Wake

(Photo: Darwin200)

Almost two centuries after Charles Darwin's voyage around the world, environmentalists plan to follow in his footsteps by undertaking a two-year journey across four continents to study endemic wildlife and boost conservation.The group will set sail on board a 105-year-old schooner on Tuesday from the southern English port of Plymouth, from where British naturalist Darwin's own expedition began in 1831, leading him to develop the theory of evolution by natural selection.The 40,000 nautical mile "Darwin200" expedition hopes to anchor in 32 ports, including all the major ports visited by Darwin's

14 Aug 2023

US Coast Guard Cutter Healy, Scientists Deploy Ice Stations

Researchers set up instruments to begin data collection on an ice floe next to USCGC Healy in the Beaufort Sea, Aug. 6, 2023. (Photo: Zane Miagany / U.S. Coast Guard)

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy (WAGB 20) crew and embarked researchers ventured onto a floe of multi-year ice for the first of three multi-instrument ice stations in the Arctic Ocean Basin late July and early August.As the Healy carefully approached and maintained position alongside an ice floe above 77 degrees north, the crew and a team of scientists, working in cooperation with the Office of Naval Research, (ONR) offloaded a diverse collection of equipment on to the floe carefully…

09 Jun 2023

North American Lobster Industry Confronts 'Ropeless' Traps After Whale Entanglements

© norrie39 / Adobe Stock

An emerging technology to fish for lobsters virtually ropeless to prevent whale entanglements is exciting conservationists, but getting a frigid reception from harvesters worried it will drive them out of business and upend their way of life.Injuries to endangered North Atlantic Right Whales ensnared in fishing gear have fueled a prominent campaign by environmental groups to pressure the industry to adopt on-demand equipment that only suspends ropes in the water briefly before traps are pulled from the water.The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch…

06 Jun 2023

Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-free In Summer By 2030s, Scientists Say

© Danita Delimont / Adobe Stock

The Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer by the 2030s, even if we do a good job of reducing emissions between now and then. That’s the worrying conclusion of a new study in Nature Communications.Predictions of an ice-free Arctic Ocean have a long and complicated history, and the 2030s is sooner than most scientists had thought possible (though it is later than some had wrongly forecast). What we know for sure is the disappearance of sea ice at the top of the world would not only be an emblematic sign of climate breakdown…

06 Jun 2023

Threat to Whales Complicates US Research into Seaweed for Biofuel

© Tony / Adobe Stock

In Cape Cod Bay, 10-year-old Pilgrim and her calf skim the water's glassy surface alongside the Shearwater research vessel to feed on tiny crustaceans.The two are among the last surviving 340 or so North Atlantic right whales left migrating along the U.S. East Coast – down from 480 right whales in 2010.The biggest threats they face include being struck by passing ships or getting entangled in ropes used for lobster fishing off the U.S. East Coast - scientists have recorded 98 such injuries or deaths of whales since 2017.Now, the whales face another threat as the U.S.

13 Jan 2023

What Does Climate Change Mean for Extreme Waves?

© TravisPhotoWorks / Adobe Stock

In 80% of the world, we don’t really know.Across much of the world’s oceans, waves are getting bigger. In the Southern Ocean, where storm-driven swell can propagate halfway across the world to California, the average wave has grown about 20cm in the past 30 years.These changes are part of climate change, and are likely to continue well into the future. If you’re making long-term plans near the sea – like building ships, or constructing flood defenses in coastal cities – you need more detail about how big those waves are going to get.In a study published this week in Science Advances…

05 Dec 2022

Coast Guard Monitoring Oil Discharge from Scuttled Liberty Ship

A seasonal oil sheen on Aug. 29, 2022, near Destin, Fla. Coast Guard and Florida Department of Environmental Protection have been monitoring periodic oil discharge from Liberty Ship Thomas Heyward. (Photo: Joshua Ronkowski / U.S. Coast Guard)

The U.S. Coast Guard and Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are monitoring periodic discharges of oil from the Liberty Ship Thomas Heyward, a World War II era vessel sunk in 1977 to serve as an artificial reef approximately six miles southwest of Destin, Fla.Following Hurricane Sally in September 2020, the National Response Center (NRC) began receiving reports of pollution in the vicinity of the artificial reef. Coast Guard personnel conducted preliminary investigations…

19 Aug 2022

New Buoys Aim to Help Protect Whales from Ship Strikes

(Photo: CMA CGM)

A network of acoustic monitoring buoys aims to help protect North Atlantic right whales—one of the world’s most critically endangered species—from ship strikes along the U.S. East Coast.Although North Atlantic right whales are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, serious threats to their survival abound with only approximately 336 of these great whales remaining on the planet. The installment of the buoys aims to aid in right whale’s survival and will fill a critical gap in monitoring along the East Coast.

15 Aug 2022

FerryBox: PONANT Exploration Vessel Collecting Arctic Ocean Data

©PONANT-Mike Louagie

PONANT’s new science-focused exploration vessel has started collecting Arctic Ocean data with -4H-JENA engineering’s FerryBox multi-parameter water measurement system on board.The system is now being used to evaluate the role of global warming and glacial meltwater on the rising level of oxygen in the oceans aboard PONANT’s Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s only luxury icebreaker, a hybrid-electric vessel powered by liquified natural gas.A unique concept with minimal environmental impact due to her green energy and propulsion systems…

20 Apr 2022

Silver Ships Delivers RHIB to NOAA Research Fish Biologist Team

(Photo: Silver Ships)

Mobile, Ala. boatbuilder Silver Ships announced it recently delivered a customized Ambar Series vessel to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).The vessel is a custom-built Ambar 6 meter (AM600), designed to be operated from NOAA oceangoing ships. At just under 28 feet in length, with a hull length of 20’ 5’’, this vessel is powered by two Mercury SeaPro 115hp, with an 80-gallon fuel tank, along with an 8’ 10’’ beam, 22’’ draft, a trailer, and a boat cradle for deck storage to make this custom vessel meet the needs for NOAA.Ambar series vessels…

08 Apr 2022

The Ship that Found Antarctica’s Endurance Wreck is Vital for Climate Science

(Photo: Saunders Carmichael-Brown / Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust)

It was 1914 when the English explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition aboard a ship called Endurance. It was an ill-fated journey: the ship got trapped in the ice and eventually crushed by pack ice in 1915. It sank to the bottom of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea. (Shackleton and his entire crew survived the ordeal by escaping in smaller boats.)It was difficult to believe that the Endurance might ever be found. The icy Weddell Sea is inhospitable and the wreck lay in more than 3000 metres of water.

08 Feb 2022

Maersk Vessels Transmit Live Weather Data to Meteorologists

(Photo: A.P. Moller - Maersk)

Container shipping giant A.P. Moller - Maersk said it has teamed up with National Meteorological Service of Germany, Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) to install automated weather stations enabling a portion of its fleet to transmit live data to help forecast weather and climate.In the largest project of its kind, A.P. Moller - Maersk (Maersk) has installed automated weather stations (AWS) on 50 of its vessels creating a pulsating oceanic web of weather and climate observations. All collected data is transmitted live to the National Meteorological Service of Germany…

27 Dec 2021

NOAA Using Sailing Vessel for Ocean Research

The 82- foot long S/V Iris tied up at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) dock, moored next to WHOI’s R/V Armstrong. The Iris departed Woods Hole on December 14, and will spend the next two months deploying approximately 78 Argo floats in the South Atlantic, before finishing its epic voyage back in Brest, France. (Courtesy of Blue Observer)

NOAA and partners have joined together to launch approximately 100 new Argo floats across the Atlantic ocean to collect data that supports ocean, weather and climate research and prediction. These will bolster the international Argo Program, which maintains a global array of about 3,800 floats that measure pressure, temperature and salinity of the upper 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) of the ocean.The French sailing vessel Iris recently arrived in Woods Hole, Mass., after deploying the initial batch of 17 Argo floats across the Atlantic.

19 Nov 2021

New Report Tracks Sources of Marine Litter

(Photo: GESMAP)

The sources and impact of sea-based marine litter form the focus of a new report by the Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), an advisory body to the United Nations sponsored by 10 UN entities. The report outlines the various sources of marine litter and the impact and assesses the current availability of data and identifies knowledge gaps for the main categories of sea-based sources of marine plastic litter. The Working Group was established by GESAMP…

14 Jul 2021

AAM Launches 50’ Research Vessel for NOAA

(Photo: All American Marine)

Boatbuilder All American Marine (AAM) said it has launched a new 50-foot research vessel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), designated for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in Washington State.The twin-engine Teknicraft Design vessel was constructed by AAM to USCG Subchapter T standards. It will carry up to 18 personnel on board on a near coastal route. Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary OCNMS) includes 3,188 square miles of marine waters off the rugged Olympic Peninsula coastline.

21 Jun 2021

Richard W. Spinrad Confirmed to Lead NOAA

Rick Spinrad (Photo: NOAA)

Richard “Rick” W. Spinrad, Ph.D., an internationally renowned scientist with four decades of ocean, atmosphere, and climate science and policy expertise, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and the 11th NOAA administrator.“As an accomplished and respected scientist, educator, communicator and executive, Rick has dedicated his career to the science that is at the core of NOAA’s mission,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.

01 Jun 2021

KIGAM Orders New Research Vessel

(Image: Ulstein)

South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co will build a new research vessel for Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM).The ULSTEIN SX134 design vessel will be 92 meters long and 21 meters wide and fulfil the general demands of the seismic and oceanographic research industry for operations of seismic streamer cables, seismic bottom nodes, seismic high-resolution seafloor mapping, seafloor survey and sediment sampling.The vessel has been designed to include a variety of installed equipment…

12 Apr 2021

NOAA Adjusts Hurricane Season Outlook Averages

(Photo: NOAA)

NOAA is updating its baseline numbers used for gauging hurricane season activity using more recent storm data.Once every decade, the agency revises its set of statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near- or below-average relative to the climate record. Beginning with this year’s hurricane season outlooks, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) will use 1991-2020 as the new 30-year period of record. “This update allows our meteorologists to make forecasts for the hurricane season with the most relevant climate statistics taken into consideration…

15 Mar 2021

RSS Sir David Attenborough Delivered to LR Class

(Photo: Lloyd's Register)

Britain’s new polar research ship, the RSS Sir David Attenborough, has been formally presented with Lloyd's Register (LR) certification after a four-year-long construction period, the classification society said.The high-profile vessel, the U.K.’s largest commercial newbuild for over 30 years, was delivered to Natural Environment Research Council and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) by Cammell Laird Shipbuilders. BAS undertake vital research in the polar regions, leading in polar science and polar operations…

25 Feb 2021

RRS James Clark Ross Makes Its Last Antarctic Call

Last call of the JCR at Rothera (Photo: Alex Wallace / BAS)

It's the end of an era for the U.K.'s RRS James Clark Ross, which made its final call to Rothera Research Station in Antarctic on February 19 after 30 years of service. British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said the polar research vessel will be sold at the end of the 2020/2021 Antarctic season and replaced by the newly built RRS Sir David Attenborough.Rothera was the RRS James Clark Ross’s final call of the ship’s five-and-a-half-month mission to deliver scientific and operational staff to Antarctica, and to resupply the U.K. stations in Antarctica for another year.

29 Jan 2021

NOAA's New Ocean Exploration Ship to Be Based in Newport, RI

Discoverer will have the ability to deploy remotely operated vehicles to explore the ocean. (Photo: NOAA)

Newport, R.I. has been chosen as the future homeport for a new NOAA oceanographic research vessel being built for the agency. Discoverer will be a state-of-the-art ship that operates around the nation and the world to study and explore the ocean.“Discoverer will be one of the world’s most advanced research vessels,” said Rear Adm. Nancy Hann, deputy director for operations for NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) and deputy director of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.