Why are scientists involved about Asian tiger shrimp?

image of an Asian tiger shrimp

Asian tiger shrimp are native to Pacific waters, however are actually discovered alongside the southeast and Gulf coasts of the US. Researchers are at present investigating the origin and doable influence of this invasive species.


Asian tiger shrimp are native to Indo-Pacific, Asian, and Australian waters, however are actually discovered alongside the southeast and Gulf coasts of the US. Whereas small numbers of this invasive species have been reported in U.S. waters for over a decade, sightings have notably elevated over the previous few years.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NOAA are actually working with state companies from North Carolina to Texas to look into whether or not these shrimp carry illness, compete for a similar meals supply, or prey instantly on native shrimp. An investigation can be underway to decide how this transplanted species reached U.S. waters, and what’s behind a current rise in sightings of the non-native shrimp.

Scientists haven’t but formally deemed the Asian tiger shrimp “established” in U.S. waters, and nobody is definite what triggered the current spherical of elevated sightings. The non-native shrimp species could have escaped from aquaculture amenities; nevertheless, there are not any recognized Asian tiger shrimp farms presently in operation within the U.S.  Ballast water from ships has been advised as one other pathway. One other risk is that they’re arriving on ocean currents from wild populations within the Caribbean and even as far-off as Gambia, a west African nation the place they’re recognized to be established.

With so many different theories about the place these shrimp are coming from and solely a handful of juveniles reported, it’s exhausting for scientists to conclude whether or not they’re breeding or just being carried in by currents.

To search for solutions, NOAA and USGS scientists are analyzing shrimp collected from the Gulf and Atlantic coasts to search for refined variations of their DNA, data which may supply beneficial clues to their origins. That is the primary take a look at the genetics of untamed caught Asian tiger shrimp populations discovered on this a part of the U.S., and should make clear whether or not there are a number of sources.

NOAA scientists are additionally launching a analysis effort to grasp extra concerning the biology of those shrimp and the way they might have an effect on the ecology of native fisheries and coastal ecosystems. As with all non-native species, there are considerations over the potential for novel avenues of illness transmission and competitors with native shrimp shares, particularly given the excessive progress charges and spawning charges in contrast with different species.

When you see a number of shrimp suspected to be an Asian tiger shrimp, you possibly can assist the analysis effort by noting the placement and submitting a report of the sighting with the USGS.

If doable, freeze a specimen to assist verify the identification and contribute to a tissue repository maintained by NOAA scientists.


Why do now we have spring tides within the fall?

graphic showing orbit of moon around Earth, illustrating spring and neap tides

A spring tide is a typical historic time period that has nothing to do with the season of spring. Somewhat, the time period is derived from the idea of the tide “springing forth.” Spring tides happen twice every lunar month all yr lengthy with out regard to the season. Neap tides, which additionally happen twice a month, occur when the solar and moon are at proper angles to one another.


Tides are long-period waves that roll across the planet because the ocean is “pulled” forwards and backwards by the gravitational pull of the moon and the solar as these our bodies work together with the Earth of their month-to-month and yearly orbits.

Throughout full or new moons—which happen when the Earth, solar, and moon are practically in alignment—common tidal ranges are barely bigger. This happens twice every month. The moon seems new (darkish) when it’s instantly between the Earth and the solar. The moon seems full when the Earth is between the moon and the solar. In each circumstances, the gravitational pull of the solar is “added” to the gravitational pull of the moon on Earth, inflicting the oceans to bulge a bit greater than typical. Which means excessive tides are a little bit increased and low tides are a little bit decrease than common.

These are referred to as spring tides, a typical historic time period that has nothing to do with the season of spring. Somewhat, the time period is derived from the idea of the tide “springing forth.” Spring tides happen twice every lunar month all yr lengthy, with out regard to the season.

Seven days after a spring tide, the solar and moon are at proper angles to one another. When this occurs, the bulge of the ocean brought on by the solar partially cancels out the bulge of the ocean brought on by the moon. This produces reasonable tides often known as neap tides, that means that prime tides are a little bit decrease and low tides are a little bit increased than common. Neap tides happen through the first and third quarter moon, when the moon seems “half full.”

NOAA’s tide and tidal present predictions take note of astronomical issues as a result of place of the moon and the solar.

What’s a seiche?

Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Standing_wave_2.gif#mediaviewer/File:Standing_wave_2.gif

This animation reveals a standing wave (black) depicted as a sum of two propagating waves touring in reverse instructions (blue and pink). Related in movement to a seesaw, a seiche is a standing wave by which the most important vertical oscillations are at every finish of a physique of water with very small oscillations on the “node,” or heart level, of the wave. Standing waves can kind in any enclosed or semi-enclosed physique of water, from an enormous lake to a small espresso cup.

Seiches and meteotsunamis. What is the distinction?

Seiches and meteotsunamis are sometimes grouped collectively, however they’re two completely different occasions. Winds and atmospheric stress can contribute to the formation of each seiches and meteotsunamis; nonetheless, winds are sometimes extra essential to a seiche movement, whereas stress typically performs a considerable position in meteotsunami formation. Generally a seiche and a meteotsunami may even happen on the identical time. Seiches are standing waves with longer intervals of water-level oscillations (sometimes exceeding intervals of three or extra hours), whereas meteotsunamis are progressive waves restricted to the tsunami frequency band of wave intervals (two minutes to 2 hours). Seiches are often restricted to partially or totally enclosed basins, akin to Lake Erie. Meteotsunamis can happen in such basins however are additionally prevalent on the open coast. A single meteotsunami can journey lengthy distances and affect a really massive vary of the shoreline.

You probably have noticed water sloshing forwards and backwards in a swimming pool, bathtub, or cup of water, you might have witnessed a small-scale seiche (pronounced saysh). On a a lot grander scale, the identical phenomenon happens in massive our bodies of water akin to bays and lakes. A seiche could happen in any semi- or fully-enclosed physique of water.

Seiches are sometimes brought on when robust winds and speedy modifications in atmospheric stress push water from one finish of a physique of water to the opposite. When the wind stops, the water rebounds to the opposite facet of the enclosed space. The water then continues to oscillate forwards and backwards for hours and even days. In a similar way, earthquakes, tsunamis, or extreme storm fronts can also trigger seiches alongside ocean cabinets and ocean harbors.

Lake Erie is understood for seiches, particularly when robust winds blow from southwest to northeast. In 1844, a 22-foot seiche breached a 14-foot-high sea wall killing 78 folks and damming the ice to the extent that Niagara Falls quickly stopped flowing. As just lately as 2008, robust winds created waves 12 to 16 toes excessive in Lake Erie, resulting in flooding close to Buffalo, New York. Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, can also be recognized to routinely kind small seiches after the passage of afternoon squall strains throughout summer time months.

In among the Nice Lakes and different massive our bodies of water, the time interval between the “excessive” and “low” of a seiche might be as a lot as 4 to seven hours.  That is similar to the time interval between a excessive and low tide within the oceans, and is commonly mistaken as a tide.

Was Moby Dick an actual whale?

Illustrations from Moby-Dick, published in 1851 and authored by Herman Melville.

Illustrations from Moby-Dick, revealed in 1851 and authored by Herman Melville.

Do you know?

In 2011, maritime heritage archaeologists working with NOAA’s Workplace of Nationwide Marine Sanctuaries discovered the wreckage of Two Brothers positioned practically 600 miles northwest of Honolulu.

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, the allegorical novel about Captain Ahab’s search to kill an awesome white whale, was based mostly on real-life occasions. Born in 1819, writer Herman Melville grew up through the peak of American dominance of the whaling trade, roughly the interval between 1820 and the beginning of the Civil Conflict. Weaving up to date accounts and his personal experiences as a whaler, Melville created his American masterpiece.

The younger Melville was famously impressed by the story of George Pollard, the previous captain of the whaler Essex. Whereas on a two-year whaling expedition crisscrossing the Pacific, the Essex was rammed by a sperm whale. Rapidly abandoning ship and hundreds of miles from land, Pollard and his crew escaped in leaky lifeboats to start a horrific ordeal leading to illness, hunger, and cannibalism. One of many few to outlive, Pollard was given a second likelihood at captaining one other whaler, the Two Brothers. However after 18 months within the Pacific, Pollard ran the Two Brothers aground, sinking the ship in what’s now the Papahānaumokuākea Marine Nationwide Monument.

The identify of the whale was additionally impressed by real-life occasions. In 1839, Melville learn a narrative in a journal about an albino sperm whale famed for its lethal assaults on whaling ships attempting to hunt it down. This whale, killed off the coast of Chile close to Mocha Island, was referred to as Mocha Dick.

Is the Earth spherical?

Earth from space

This NASA picture reveals Earth from area. The picture is a mixture of knowledge from two satellites. The Reasonable Decision Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite tv for pc collected the land floor information over 16 days, whereas NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite tv for pc (GOES) produced a snapshot of the Earth’s clouds.


Whereas the Earth seems to be spherical when seen from the vantage level of area, it’s truly nearer to an ellipsoid. Nonetheless, even an ellipsoid doesn’t adequately describe the Earth’s distinctive and ever-changing form.

Our planet is pudgier at the equator than on the poles by about 70,000 ft. That is because of the centrifugal power created by the earth’s fixed rotation. Mountains rising virtually 30,000 ft and ocean trenches diving over 36,000 ft (in contrast to sea degree) additional distort the form of the Earth. Sea degree itself is even irregularly formed. Slight variations in Earth’s gravity subject trigger everlasting hills and valleys within the ocean’s floor of over 300 ft relative to an ellipsoid.

Moreover, the form of the Earth is all the time altering. Typically this alteration is periodic, as is the case with day by day tides that have an effect on each the ocean and the crust; generally the change is gradual and regular, as with the drift of tectonic plates or the rebound of the crust after a heavy sheet of ice has melted; and generally the form of the planet adjustments in violent, episodic methods throughout occasions reminiscent of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or meteor strikes.

The Nationwide Geodetic Survey measures and screens our ever-changing planet. Geodesy is the science of measuring and monitoring the measurement and form of the Earth, together with its gravity subject, and figuring out the location of factors on the Earth’s floor.

Are there oceans on different planets?

Europa

Europa could have subsurface liquid water. Scientists hypothesize that Europa’s hidden ocean is salty, tidal, and causes its ice floor to maneuver, leading to giant fractures which can be clearly seen. Though Europa lies exterior of our photo voltaic system’s liveable zone, it could have the elements wanted to help life — water, power, and natural compounds. (Picture Credit score: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk).


Proof factors to oceans on different planets and moons, even inside our personal photo voltaic system. However Earth is the one identified planet (or moon) to have constant, secure our bodies of liquid water on its floor. In our photo voltaic system, Earth orbits across the solar in an space referred to as the liveable zone. The temperature inside this zone, together with an ample quantity of atmospheric stress, enable water to be liquid for lengthy intervals of time.

Scientists imagine a number of moons inside our photo voltaic system have vital subsurface liquid water deposits. Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa are two examples. Each seem to have salty, liquid oceans lined with thick layers of ice on the floor. Scientists have noticed water plumes erupting from Enceladus, and imagine related plumes might be discovered on Europa. The existence of those geysers additionally tells scientists that these moons have a supply of power, maybe from gravitational forces or radiation — power that retains the oceans liquid beneath the ice and will even help life.

Past our photo voltaic system, scientists have discovered hundreds of exoplanets — planets that orbit different stars — together with some within the liveable zone. Utilizing mathematical fashions, researchers estimate that greater than 1 / 4 of identified exoplanets could have liquid water, although the bulk would have subsurface oceans like these on Europa and Enceladus.

The seek for liquid water is crucial to the seek for life past Earth. Whereas scientists initially centered the search on discovering planets with liquid water on their floor, that considering is altering. Right here on Earth, we’ve examples of life flourishing in a number of the most excessive circumstances, such because the complicated ecosystems round hydrothermal vents on the seafloor. Scientists are reconsidering whether or not life might exist beneath an icy floor, even inside our photo voltaic system on moons like Europa and Enceladus.

What do geodesists do?

NGS surveyor measures the difference in elevation between two points in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Geodesists measure and monitor the Earth’s measurement and form, geodynamic phenomena (e.g., tides and polar movement), and gravity subject to find out the precise coordinates of any level on Earth and the way that time will transfer over time.


Utilizing all kinds of instruments, each on the land and in area, geodesists are specialists at measuring issues. Listed below are a couple of examples of what geodesists can measure.

  • With the precision of atomic clocks and lasers, geodesists can measure the pull of gravity so precisely, they might detect adjustments of 1 billionth of your physique weight.
  • With instruments that monitor the noise from exterior our personal galaxy, geodesists are capable of measure the distances between two factors on Earth to lower than a millimeter.
  • By bouncing alerts from satellites situated tons of of kilometers above the ocean, geodesists are capable of observe the rise of the imply ocean floor to about 1.7 millimeters per yr.
  • And, in all probability most well-known, by utilizing alerts generated by GPS satellites which are situated roughly 20,000 kilometers above the Earth, geodesists are capable of precisely decide the positions of factors to a couple centimeters in only a matter of minutes.

Inside the USA, this correct dedication of positions varieties the scientific foundation for all geodetic management, recognized collectively because the Nationwide Spatial Reference System (NSRS). Each non-military federal geospatial product of the USA is tied to the NSRS in order that they might all overlap and align precisely.

When Was the First Earth Day?

Cuyahoga River Fire Nov. 3, 1952. Courtesy of Cleveland Press Collection at Cleveland State University Library

 Firefighters battle a hearth on Ohio’s Cuyahoga River in 1952. The polluted river caught fireplace on a number of events between 1936 and 1969, when particles and oil had focused on the water’s floor and ignited. A blaze in 1969 got here at a time of accelerating environmental consciousness and symbolized years of environmental neglect. Picture courtesy of Cleveland Press Assortment at Cleveland State College Library.

On June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga River on the southern shores of Lake Erie caught on fireplace as chemical compounds, oil, and different industrial supplies that had oozed into the river one way or the other ignited. Just some months earlier than, on January 28, 1969, an oil rig leaked thousands and thousands of gallons of oil off the coast of Santa Barbara. That very same 12 months, stories surfaced that our nationwide image, the bald eagle, was quickly declining as a species as a result of chemical DDT, whereas around the globe, whales have been being hunted practically to extinction. These and different incidents caught the eye of the nationwide media and galvanized public consciousness of the various environmental insults being hurled on the nation and the planet.

In response to the general public outcry, Earth Day Founder Gaylord Nelson, who served because the Governor of Wisconsin (1958-1962) and within the U.S. Senate (1963-1981), organized a nationwide “teach-in” about environmental points to happen on April 22, 1970. Greater than 2,000 faculties and universities, 10,000 public faculties, and 20 million residents participated—practically 10 p.c of the U.S. inhabitants at the moment.

This outpouring of grassroots environmental activism marked the primary Earth Day—a recognition of the significance of caring for the atmosphere and accepting stewardship duty for the nation’s sources. It additionally helped set up a political local weather conducive to forming each the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Environmental Safety Company (EPA) on October 3, 1970. 

We wish to say that “Day by day is Earth Day at NOAA.” However ever since April 22, 1970, folks the world over take time to acknowledge the significance of defending the Earth’s pure sources—be they oceanic, atmospheric, terrestrial, or organic—for future generations.

What’s blue carbon?

This is an image of a mangrove, but did you know it is also an image of a sink? A carbon sink.

Sure, that is a picture of a mangrove, however do you know additionally it is a picture of a sink? A carbon sink. Don’t know what that’s? Learn beneath.

Do you know?

NOAA’s Nationwide Estuarine Analysis Reserves and their companions are working to make wetlands conservation and restoration worthwhile whereas lessening greenhouse fuel emissions via blue carbon monetary markets. These markets steadiness tasks that function heat-trapping emissions with contributions that take carbon out of the environment. Efforts so far have produced the first-ever U.S. information that makes salt marsh restoration eligible for worldwide carbon markets; analysis that paperwork carbon storage capabilities within the marsh; workshops and faculty curricula on the subject; and newsletters and technical help.

One thing that has a big impact on our day by day lives and is saved throughout the largest system of water on our planet should be a family identify, proper? Not essentially. Have you ever ever heard of blue carbon? Chances are high the reply isn’t any, however maybe you understand greater than you understand.

Blue carbon is just the time period for carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems. You have got in all probability heard that human actions emit (or give off) one thing known as carbon dioxide, which comprises atmospheric carbon. You have got additionally heard that these gases are altering the world’s local weather, and never in a great way. What you might not have heard is that our ocean and coasts present a pure method of lowering the affect of greenhouse gases on our environment, via sequestration (or taking in) of this carbon.

Sea grasses, mangroves, and salt marshes alongside our coast “seize and maintain” carbon, performing as one thing known as a carbon sink. These coastal programs, although a lot smaller in measurement than the planet’s forests, sequester this carbon at a a lot sooner price, and might proceed to take action for hundreds of thousands of years. A lot of the carbon taken up by these ecosystems is saved beneath floor the place we will not see it, however it’s nonetheless there. The carbon present in coastal soil is usually 1000’s of years outdated!

The larger image of blue carbon is one in every of coastal habitat conservation. When these programs are broken, an infinite quantity of carbon is emitted again into the environment, the place it may well then contribute to local weather change. So defending and restoring coastal habitats is an effective option to scale back local weather change. Once we defend the carbon in coastal programs, we defend wholesome coastal environments that present many different advantages to individuals, comparable to leisure alternatives, storm safety, and nursery habitat for business and leisure fisheries.

One technique of slowing local weather change impacts is to include coastal wetlands into the carbon market via the shopping for and promoting of carbon offsets. This strategy creates a monetary incentive for restoration and conservation tasks by serving to to alleviate federal and state carbon taxes aimed toward discouraging the usage of fossil fuels. When fewer greenhouse gases are emitted, much less air pollution is created. When there’s much less air pollution to tax, the method advantages not solely the surroundings but additionally the monetary well-being of the group doing the restoration.

How far does sound journey within the ocean?

illustration of whale and sound channel

Water temperature and strain decide how far sound travels within the ocean.


Whereas sound strikes at a a lot quicker velocity within the water than in air, the space that sound waves journey is primarily dependent upon ocean temperature and strain. Whereas strain continues to extend as ocean depth will increase, the temperature of the ocean solely decreases as much as a sure level, after which it stays comparatively steady. These elements have a curious impact on how (and the way far) sound waves journey.

Think about a whale is swimming via the ocean and calls out to its pod. The whale produces sound waves that transfer like ripples within the water. Because the whale’s sound waves journey via the water, their velocity decreases with rising depth (because the temperature drops), inflicting the sound waves to refract downward. As soon as the sound waves attain the backside of what’s often called the thermocline layer, the velocity of sound reaches its minimal. The thermocline is a area characterised by fast change in temperature and strain which happens at completely different depths all over the world. Under the thermocline “layer,” the temperature stays fixed, however strain continues to extend. This causes the velocity of sound to extend and makes the sound waves refract upward.  

The realm within the ocean the place sound waves refract up and down is named the “sound channel.” The channeling of sound waves permits sound to journey 1000’s of miles with out the sign dropping appreciable power.  In reality, hydrophones, or underwater microphones, if positioned on the correct depth, can decide up whale songs and artifical noises from many kilometers away.

Why does the ocean have waves?


VIDEO: What are waves? This is what you’ll want to know in lower than a minute. Transcript


The ocean isn’t nonetheless. Whether or not observing from the seashore or a ship, we anticipate to see waves on the horizon. Waves are created by vitality passing via water, inflicting it to maneuver in a round movement. Nonetheless, water doesn’t really journey in waves. Waves transmit vitality, not water, throughout the ocean and if not obstructed by something, they’ve the potential to journey throughout a complete ocean basin.

Waves are mostly attributable to wind. Wind-driven waves, or floor waves, are created by the friction between wind and floor water. As wind blows throughout the floor of the ocean or a lake, the continuous disturbance creates a wave crest. Some of these waves are discovered globally throughout the open ocean and alongside the coast. 

Extra probably hazardous waves will be attributable to extreme climate, like a hurricane. The robust winds and strain from any such extreme storm causes storm surge, a collection of lengthy waves which might be created removed from shore in deeper water and intensify as they transfer nearer to land. Different hazardous waves will be attributable to underwater disturbances that displace massive quantities of water shortly similar to earthquakes, landslides, or volcanic eruptions. These very lengthy waves are known as tsunamis. Storm surge and tsunamis should not the forms of waves you think about crashing down on the shore. These waves roll upon the shore like a large sea stage rise and may attain far distances inland.

The gravitational pull of the solar and moon on the earth additionally causes waves. These waves are tides or, in different phrases, tidal waves. It’s a frequent false impression {that a} tidal wave can be a tsunami. The reason for tsunamis should not associated to tide data in any respect however can happen in any tidal state.

Video Transcript

Waves transmit vitality, not water, and are generally attributable to the wind because it blows throughout the ocean, lakes, and rivers.
Waves attributable to the gravitational pull of the moon and the solar are known as tides. The ebb and circulation of waves and tides are the life drive of our world ocean.

What’s an Operational Forecast System?

hourly forecast of water levels for Chesapeake Bay

These maps present typical hourly forecasts of various oceanographic circumstances for Chesapeake Bay. Comparable hourly spatial animations for the following 48 hours can be found on-line for different areas and are up to date each six hours.

An Operational Forecast System (OFS) gives a nowcast and forecast (as much as 120 hours) of water ranges, currents, salinity, water temperatures, and winds for a given space. These methods are positioned in coastal waters across the nation and the Nice Lakes in vital ports, harbors, and estuaries.

Nowcasts and forecasts are scientific predictions concerning the current and future states of oceanographic and meteorological parameters inside coastal areas. A nowcast covers the previous 24 hours to the current and gives mannequin output for areas the place observational information will not be obtainable. A forecast gives info from the current time as much as 48 hours out and these are up to date each six hours. Nowcasts and forecasts are generated from NOAA real-time and forecast circumstances.

Actions wherein winds, water ranges, currents, water temperature, or salinity are necessary might profit from the data supplied by an operational forecast system. These versatile methods can be utilized for all the things from search and rescue to leisure boating and fishing to storm impact monitoring.

Operational Forecast Techniques are operated and maintained by NOAA’s Heart for Operational Oceanographic Merchandise and Companies.

Operational Forecast System vs. NOAA Tide Tables

For many years, mariners within the U.S. have trusted NOAA’s Tide Tables for the most effective estimate of anticipated water ranges and tidal currents. These tables present correct predictions of the astronomical tide and tidal currents (i.e., the change in water degree and present as a result of gravitational results of the moon and solar and rotation of the Earth). Nevertheless, they can’t predict localized water degree modifications and variations in currents attributable to wind, atmospheric stress, and river movement, which are sometimes vital. Because of this, OFS had been established to offer water degree, present, temperature, wind and salinity nowcasts and forecast steering primarily based on real-time statement information, meteorological forecasts, and astronomical predictions.

What’s aquaculture?

VIDEO: What’s aquaculture? Here is an outline in underneath two minutes. Transcript


Because the demand for seafood has elevated, expertise has made it potential to develop meals in coastal marine waters and the open ocean. Aquaculture is a technique used to provide meals and different industrial merchandise, restore habitat and replenish wild shares, and rebuild populations of threatened and endangered species.

There are two fundamental varieties of aquaculture—marine and freshwater. NOAA efforts primarily deal with marine aquaculture, which refers to farming species that dwell within the ocean and estuaries.

In the US, marine aquaculture produces quite a few species together with oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, seaweeds, and fish similar to salmon, black sea bass, sablefish, yellowtail, and pompano. There are various methods to farm marine shellfish, together with “seeding” small shellfish on the seafloor or by rising them in backside or floating cages. Marine fish farming is usually achieved in internet pens within the water or in tanks on land.

U.S. freshwater aquaculture produces species similar to catfish and trout. Freshwater aquaculture primarily takes place in ponds or different artifical techniques.

NOAA is dedicated to supporting an aquaculture business that’s economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. NOAA consultants and companions work to know the environmental results of aquaculture in several settings and supply greatest administration practices to assist cut back the chance of unfavorable impacts.

Video Transcript

Aquaculture is breeding, elevating, and harvesting fish, shellfish, and aquatic crops. Principally, it’s farming in water. U.S. aquaculture is an environmentally accountable supply of meals and industrial merchandise, helps to create more healthy habitats, and is used to rebuild shares of threatened or endangered species.

What’s a marsh organ?

An installed marsh organ at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve in the Florida Panhandle

An put in marsh organ on the Apalachicola Nationwide Estuarine Analysis Reserve within the Florida Panhandle. A NOS-sponsored venture within the Gulf of Mexico employs the marsh organ to imitate sea stage rise impacts on marsh vegetation and inform forecast fashions. Picture courtesy of Jim Morris, College of South Carolina.


Scientists are at all times searching for methods to measure sea-level rise and its long-term results on coastal processes. To that finish, the College of South Carolina and NOAA’s Nationwide Facilities for Coastal Ocean Science developed a easy system known as a “marsh organ” (as a result of its graduated “pipes” resemble these of an organ) to find out how nicely an estuary could reply to rising sea ranges.

Organising the marsh organ is a very muddy course of. Scientists working to put in the instrument could discover themselves waist-deep within the comfortable marsh sediments! As soon as the organ is in place, they fill the tubes with mud and plant marsh grasses in every one. In a yr or two, they return to the marsh organ to reap the grass and measure how a lot it has grown. 

Every “pipe” of the marsh organ represents a various water-level “elevation.” Because the tides ebb and stream, the marsh and the pipes are topic to rising and falling water ranges. Relying on the quantity of flooding and different components, the marsh vegetation develop accordingly. The info is then used to tell a mannequin that helps scientists forecast the future well being of the marsh.

How does NOAA monitor water ranges across the nation?

A National Water Level Observation Network station in San Francisco, California

An NWLON station in San Francisco, California.


The Nationwide Water Degree Commentary Community (NWLON) is a everlasting observing system that features 210 repeatedly working water degree stations all through the U.S. and its territories. NWLON is the “go-to” supply for presidency and commercial-sector navigation, recreation, and coastal ecosystem administration.

Correct water degree knowledge is crucial for a lot of coastal actions, from navigation and engineering to restoration and preservation. Along with water ranges, the stations measure different oceanographic and meteorological parameters resembling water temperature and wind pace. NOAA makes use of this info to make sure protected navigation via entry to real-time knowledge 24 hours a day, seven days every week. NOAA nowcast and forecast fashions use the information to offer a glance into current and future oceanographic situations, which might improve tsunami and storm surge warnings. NOAA additionally makes use of this knowledge to publish annual tide predictions.

NWLON supplies historic in addition to present-day water degree info. Historic knowledge is used to compute relative native imply sea degree traits and to grasp the patterns of excessive tide occasions. The primary water degree observing stations had been established within the 1850s, and a few have been gathering knowledge ever since!

NWLON is managed by NOAA’s Middle for Operational Oceanographic Merchandise and Companies.

What’s an ocean glider?

VIDEO: What’s an ocean glider? This is an outline in below two minutes. Transcript

Scientists at the moment are experimenting with utilizing gliders to find populations of spawning fish. The glider illustrated right here is outfitted with an acoustic receiver to “pay attention” for vocalizations—grunting sounds—made by some fish as they mass collectively to spawn within the U.S. Caribbean. The car information the geolocation of the sounds that it “hears” onto an onboard reminiscence card. Study extra.

Do you know?

In 2009, a glider named the “Scarlet Knight” made historical past by crossing the Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to Spain. Study extra.

An ocean glider is an autonomous, unmanned underwater car used for ocean science. Since gliders require little or no human help whereas touring, these little robots are uniquely suited to gathering information in distant areas, safely and at comparatively low price.

Gliders could also be geared up with all kinds of sensors to observe temperature, salinity, currents, and different ocean situations. This data creates a extra full image of what’s occurring within the ocean, in addition to tendencies scientists won’t in any other case be capable to detect from satellites or giant analysis ships.

Whereas there are various glider designs that use completely different strategies to maneuver via the water, all gliders share the power to journey far distances over lengthy intervals, with out servicing. Unmanned gliders pattern the ocean in locations the place it’s impractical to ship individuals, and at a fraction of the price, permitting us to gather information even in the course of a hurricane. It’s these traits together with developments in sensor applied sciences that make gliders more and more essential as instruments for gathering ocean information.

The glider illustrated on this animation is the Slocum glider. It could seem like a torpedo, however it doesn’t have propellors or an inner engine. As an alternative, it makes use of a pump to softly change its buoyancy over time. This permits the glider to slowly transfer up and down via the water. And because it does so, the massive fins protruding of the edges of the craft create carry to propel it ahead. It’s just like how a glider within the air works, besides the ocean glider can glide up as simply because it glides down.

Video Transcript

An ocean glider is autonomous: it travels via the ocean with out human assist. It’s pre-programmed with journey waypoints after which let out to gather ocean information for days, weeks, or months. Totally different sensors mounted on the glider accumulate completely different sorts of knowledge. This glider is fitted with an acoustic sensor to pay attention for and report noises made by fish throughout spawning season. After gathering information for a set time period, the glider completes its journey. The glider then surfaces and transmits its place so individuals can come choose it up. Mission full!

What’s HAZMAT?

ship near oil spill

In January 2010, NOAA’s Workplace of Response and Restoration was notified of a collision between a crude oil tanker (T/V Eagle Otome) and a barge in Port Arthur, Texas.

HAZMAT is an abbreviation for “hazardous supplies”—substances in portions or varieties that will pose an affordable threat to well being, property, or the surroundings. HAZMATs embrace such substances as poisonous chemical substances, fuels, nuclear waste merchandise, and organic, chemical, and radiological brokers.  HAZMATs could also be launched as liquids, solids, gases, or a mix or type of all three, together with mud, fumes, fuel, vapor, mist, and smoke.

HAZMAT spills have brought about well being issues, accidents, and even demise in folks and animals, and have broken buildings, properties, property, and the surroundings. Given such dire penalties, it’s cheap to conclude that one might not encounter HAZMATs each day. The reality, nevertheless, is that many merchandise containing hazardous chemical substances are routinely used and saved in properties, and are transported on daily basis on the nation’s highways, railroads, waterways, and pipelines.

HAZMAT Incidents

1000’s of incidents happen every year during which HAZMATs are launched into the surroundings because of accidents or pure disasters. Along with probably harming folks and the surroundings, spills in coastal waters might trigger substantial disruption of marine transportation with potential widespread financial impacts. Each coastal and inland spills are known as HAZMAT incidents, and are routinely addressed by first responders like firefighters and native legislation enforcement.

NOAA HAZMAT Response

Below the Nationwide Contingency Plan, NOAA supplies scientific assist to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for oil and different HAZMAT spills, and participates in emergency response actions in coastal and near-coastal waters.

NOAA’s Workplace of Response and Restoration responds to 120-150 HAZMAT incidents every year. Most are oil spills originating from leaking pipelines or vessel collisions, in addition to hurricanes and drilling properly blowouts, such because the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill within the Gulf of Mexico.

For the 1000’s of minor incidents dealt with by first responders, NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Safety Company collaborate on instruments just like the CAMEO software program suite that supply quick entry to chemical properties and different related info.

What’s a Portuguese Man o’ Conflict?

The Portuguese man o’ war is recognized by its balloon-like float.

The Portuguese man o’ battle is acknowledged by its balloon-like float, which can be blue, violet, or pink and rises as much as six inches above the water line. Picture credit score: Elizabeth Condon, Nationwide Science Basis

The Portuguese man o’ battle, (Physalia physalis) is typically referred to as a jellyfish, however is definitely a species of siphonophore, a bunch of animals which can be intently associated to jellyfish. A siphonophore is uncommon in that it’s comprised of a colony of specialised, genetically similar people referred to as zooids — clones — with varied types and capabilities, all working collectively as one. Every of the 4 specialised elements of a person o’ battle is chargeable for a particular job, corresponding to floating, capturing prey, feeding, and copy. Discovered largely in tropical and subtropical seas, males o’ battle are propelled by winds and ocean currents alone, and generally float in legions of 1,000 or extra!

Resembling an 18th-century Portuguese warship below full sail, the person o’ battle is acknowledged by its balloon-like float, which can be blue, violet, or pink and rises as much as six inches above the waterline. Lurking under the float are lengthy strands of tentacles and polyps that develop to a mean of 10 meters (about 30 toes) and will prolong by as a lot as 30 meters (about 100 toes). The tentacles include stinging nematocysts, microscopic capsules loaded with coiled, barbed tubes that ship venom able to paralyzing and killing small fish and crustaceans. Whereas the person o’ battle’s sting isn’t lethal to individuals, it packs a painful punch and causes welts on uncovered pores and skin.

Beachcombers be warned: The stalwart man o’ battle should sting you even weeks after having washed ashore.

What’s a Excessive Seas Forecast?

map of high seas forecast areas

NOAA’s Excessive Seas Forecasts are marine climate forecasts ready for mariners and transmitted world wide in real- and near-real-time. Word: the above map i

Seafaring could be very harmful for ships at sea. For hundreds of years, little may very well be executed to make transport safer, as a result of unpredictability of the climate, the huge measurement of the ocean, and an absence of worldwide cooperation within the open ocean. Nevertheless, the 1912 sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic, with greater than 1,500 casualties, sparked world concern about security and requirements for ships at sea. This tragedy would result in new worldwide conventions that established security necessities and offered extra correct and standardized climate forecasts.

As we speak, Nationwide Meteorological and Hydrological Companies world wide present real- or near-real-time climate forecasts and information which can be transmitted globally. The World Meteorological Group’s (WMO) International Observing System depends on member international locations, which use their services on land, at sea, and in area through satellites to forecast climate situations. Collectively, these assets enable meteorological and different environmental observations on a world scale.

As a member of WMO, NOAA’s Nationwide Climate Service (NWS) gives Excessive Seas Forecasts for giant areas of the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The NWS additionally gives marine forecasts for U.S. coastal areas and the Nice Lakes, offshore waters, and a part of the Arctic Ocean. The NWS’s Unified Floor Evaluation of world climate additionally gives information on a posh set of floor observations. These forecasts from NOAA, in addition to predictions from different Nationwide Meteorological and Hydrological Companies world wide, can be found to anybody, and, most significantly, to all ships at sea.

What are the vampire squid and the vampire fish?

A Vampire squid

A vampire squid surrounded by marine snow is captured on movie throughout a dive on the E/V Nautilus. Picture credit score: Ocean Exploration Belief

The vampire squid is a small ( 12-inch-long ) cephalopod present in deep temperate and tropical seas. Initially considered an octopus as a result of it lacks the 2 lengthy tentacles that normally lengthen previous a squid’s eight arms, the vampire squid possesses traits of each squid and octopi, and occupies its personal order in taxonomy (scientific classification).

Its enormous, vibrant blue eyes — proportionally the biggest within the animal kingdom — darkish colour, and the velvety, cloak-like webbing that connects its arms give the vampire squid its widespread title. Its scientific title, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, actually means “vampire squid of Hell”! Whereas it doesn’t suck blood like its legendary namesake, the vampire squid is a “residing relic” that developed from an ancestor of the octopus, and its lineage goes again 165 million years within the fossil file.

The vampire squid is an extremophile, inhabiting the darkish ocean depths from 2,000-3,000 ft . If threatened, this defensive deep-sea Dracula does not eject ink, as do most of its cephalopod cousins. Nor can it change colour to confuse intruders the best way its shallow-water cousins can; residing because it does in the deep ocean, the place little mild penetrates, color-changing is a pointless technique. As a substitute, the vampire squid squirts a copious cloud of sticky, bioluminescent mucus towards would-be predators (and the occasional analysis ROV). Ewww!

vampire fish

A payara, generally known as a “vampire fish.” Picture credit score: Unique Fish Wikia

On the freshwater facet, the vampire fish is a nickname for the payara, an considerable gamefish discovered within the Amazon Basin. Whereas this massive, 1.5-to-3 foot fish doesn’t suck the blood of its prey, its six-inch-long fangs, which protrude from an undershot jaw, end in a face solely a (payara) mom might love.

In recent times, the payara has gained reputation as an occupant in massive, “aggressive” freshwater aquariums. Stay goldfish are amongst this fangy predator’s favourite prey. Consequently, aquarists are suggested to pick out tankmates too huge to suit inside this vampire’s saber-toothed maw!

What’s seaspeak?

NOAA Corps Ensign Diane Perry on the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

Whether or not on the excessive seas or at port, misunderstood communication can result in critical and even harmful conditions. “Seaspeak”, the official language of the seas, helps to stop miscommunication.


Have you ever ever puzzled how crews on ships at sea talk? These days, crews include women and men from all around the world, and sometimes, a single ship’s crew comes from quite a lot of completely different nations. However that was not at all times the case. Again within the Nineteen Sixties, america and the UK dominated ocean site visitors, and 80 % of ships’ crews had been native English audio system. By the top of Seventies, nonetheless, the state of affairs had reversed, and as we speak, 80 % of ship’s crews don’t converse English as a primary language.

So what occurs when a ship captain wants to speak together with his or her crew, to a different ship, or to shore? Whether or not on the excessive seas or at port, misunderstood communication can result in critical and even harmful conditions.

To keep away from such confusion, in 1983 a gaggle of linguists and transport specialists created a brand new system of communication referred to as Seaspeak. English was chosen because the precept lexicon for Seaspeak as a result of it was the most typical language spoken on ships at the moment, and, importantly, it was additionally the language of civil aviation. In 1988, the Worldwide Maritime Group made Seaspeak the official language of the seas.

Seaspeak defines the principles of how you can speak on a ship’s radio. The variety of phrases is proscribed to make sure that messages and conversations are quick and clear. Eight phrases, referred to as message markers, precede every sentence. These phrases are Recommendation, Reply, Info, Instruction, Intention, Query, Request, and Warning.

An vital rule of Seaspeak is that numbers made up of two or extra digits are spoken in single digits. For instance, the quantity 33 is spoken as “three three” and the time 9:33 a.m. is spoken as “zero 9 three three.” Coordinated Common Time—the first time customary or worldwide time scale by which the world regulates clocks and time—is at all times used at sea.

What’s marine biogeography?

Making a habitat ecosystem map of the seafloor—a key part of marine biogeography—is a difficult course of. Study the way it works on this two-minute video. Study extra.

By mapping benthic habitats, finding out what happens on the underside of a physique of water, and assessing the relationships between the setting and the organisms that dwell there, biogeographers present helpful data to guard and preserve marine sources.

Marine biogeographers typically use Geographic Info Methods, or GIS, to assist of their analysis of marine animals, crops, and habitats. Scientists and GIS specialists develop map-based knowledge that describe the distribution and ecology of residing marine sources and their connections to human communities. State and federal planners can apply these instruments and data to place aquaculture websites and different vitality services, and to guard fisheries and coral spawning areas. Info from biogeographers permits planners to think about potential eventualities, reminiscent of new growth, that will, or could not, affect the setting.

NOAA’s Nationwide Facilities for Coastal Ocean Science conducts analysis on the distribution and ecology of marine crops and animals to foretell future traits. Instruments reminiscent of surveys, maps, and stories present particular data to evaluate ecosystem circumstances, anticipate adjustments within the setting, and consider how individuals’s social and financial wants could be met.

What’s the Nice Loop?

Boating along the Erie Canal, part of the Great Loop (credit: Gladys Lorraine Buzzell)

Boating alongside the Erie Canal, a part of the Nice Loop (picture courtesy of Gladys L. Buzzell).


The Nice Loop is a steady waterway that leisure mariners can journey that features a part of the Atlantic, Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Nice Lakes, Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America’s heartland. Anybody who completes the journey is then named an official ‘Looper.’

For a protected and satisfying journey, there are some things to contemplate when touring the Nice Loop—a fantastic period of time, a ship with lower than a 5 foot draft to journey inland waterways, NOAA nautical charts, and a NOAA radio. Alongside the way in which, it’s doable to go to quite a lot of nationwide marine sanctuaries and estuarine analysis reserves.

Map showing the Great Loop (image courtesy of Raven Cove Publishing).

Map exhibiting the Nice Loop (picture courtesy of Raven Cove Publishing).

How does a boater embark on the Nice Loop? For those who begin in Chicago, proceed south in a counter-clockwise course to benefit from the river currents that run into the Mississippi River. Whereas just a few folks keep on the Mississippi all the way in which to the Gulf of Mexico, most ‘Loopers’ select to exit on the Tennessee River to keep away from heavy barge site visitors on the bigger waterway. This path results in the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, which additionally flows to the Gulf.

Whatever the Southern route chosen, boaters can float downstream to the nice and cozy waters of the Gulf and discover the Flower Backyard Banks Nationwide Marine Sanctuary. From there, cruise east on the Gulf’s Intracoastal Waterway. Whereas absorbing some Florida solar, go to the Florida Keys Nationwide Marine Sanctuary.

Then journey north up the Intracoastal Waterway and uncover the Grey’s Reef Nationwide Marine Sanctuary. Proceed north on the Intracoastal to New York Metropolis. From the Large Apple, it is a straight shot up the Hudson to the Erie Canal. Then head west throughout to the Nice Lakes. Boaters might go to Thunder Bay Nationwide Marine Sanctuary when crusing up Lake Huron after which lastly returning again to Chicago.

What are barnacles?

Image of gooseneck barnacles found in the rocky tide pools of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Photo credit: Elizabeth Weinberg, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries

These aren’t dragon claws—they’re gooseneck barnacles! These filter feeders are discovered within the rocky tide swimming pools of Olympic Coast Nationwide Marine Sanctuary. Their shells are made up of a number of white plates that assist shield them from predators and from drying out.


Of the greater than 1,400 species of barnacles discovered on the earth’s waterways, the most typical ones are known as acorn barnacles. As anybody who’s ever maintained a vessel is aware of, eradicating barnacles requires some elbow grease (or a strain washer). That is why some boaters name them by their slang identify: “crusty foulers.”

How do barnacles persist with the undersides of vessels, to different sea life, to one another, and to just about something they arrive involved with? They secrete a fast-curing cement that’s among the many strongest pure glues recognized, with a tensile energy of 5,000 kilos per sq. inch and an adhesive energy of 22-60 kilos per sq. inch. The glue is so robust that researchers try to determine how it may be used commercially.

Barnacles like locations with a lot of exercise, like underwater volcanos and intertidal zones, the place they reside on sturdy objects like rocks, pilings, and buoys. Shifting objects like boat and ship hulls and whales are significantly susceptible to the pesky critters. Giant barnacle colonies trigger ships to tug and burn extra gas, resulting in vital financial and environmental prices. The U.S. Navy estimates that heavy barnacle progress on ships will increase weight and drag by as a lot as 60 p.c, leading to as a lot as a 40 p.c enhance in gas consumption!

Barnacles feed by feather-like appendages known as cirri. Because the cirri quickly lengthen and retract by the opening on the high of the barnacle, they comb the water for microscopic organisms. They shortly withdraw into their protecting shells in the event that they sense a possible risk. Barnacles secrete laborious calcium plates that utterly encase them. A white cone made up of six calcium plates kinds a circle across the crustacean. 4 extra plates type a “door” that the barnacle can open or shut, relying on the tide. When the tide goes out, the barnacle closes up store to preserve moisture. Because the tide is available in, a muscle opens the door so the feathery cirri can sift for meals.

What’s an oil spill trajectory?


VIDEO: Predicting the place oil could go within the water is not any straightforward activity. This is what it’s essential know in a minute. Transcript


Throughout the specter of an oil spill, responders must know the place that spilled oil will go as a way to shield shorelines with containment increase, stage cleanup gear, or shut areas for fishing and boating.

With a purpose to reply these questions, NOAA oceanographers use specialised laptop fashions to foretell the motion of spilled oil on the water floor. They predict the place the oil is almost definitely to go and the way quickly it might arrive there. Throughout a serious spill response, trajectory maps are created to indicate predictions for the trail of spilled oil.

Trajectory maps are produced utilizing a NOAA-developed laptop mannequin known as GNOME (Basic NOAA Operational Modeling Atmosphere), which helps to foretell the motion of oil. GNOME can forecast the consequences that currents, winds, and different bodily processes have on the motion of oil within the ocean. Throughout an oil spill, this mannequin is up to date day by day based mostly on area observations, aerial surveys, and new forecasts for ocean currents and winds.

Along with displaying oiled places and potential beached oil on a trajectory map, oceanographers will even embrace an uncertainty boundary on the map to point different places the place oil probably may very well be positioned. This uncertainty boundary is important to account for variations in fashions in addition to adjustments in currents and winds.

Video Transcript

Throughout the specter of an oil spill, NOAA predicts the place the oil may unfold. To foretell the place oil may go, we mannequin how climate, wind, tides and currents have an effect on oil motion. However pure variability in wind, climate and water currents can change the trajectory of a spill in methods troublesome to foretell. To get the perfect forecast doable we use plane and area observations to observe the precise course and extent of an oil spill. These observations are then fed again into our laptop mannequin to enhance the subsequent forecast. Predicting the trajectory of an oil spill is difficult. However having higher knowledge and know-how helps us present the place oil is and the place it might unfold. NOAA continues to refine each present and rising methods in oil spill science.

What’s the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)?

The global conveyor belt, shown here, circulates cool subsurface water and warm surface water throughout the world.

The worldwide conveyor belt, proven right here, circulates cool subsurface water and heat floor water all through the world. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation is a part of this complicated system of worldwide ocean currents. This illustration is captured from a brief video produced by NOAA Science on a Sphere.

The ocean’s water is continually circulated by currents. Tidal currents happen near shore and are influenced by the solar and moon. Floor currents are influenced by the wind. Nevertheless, different, a lot slower currents that happen from the floor to the seafloor are pushed by modifications within the saltiness and ocean temperature, a course of known as thermohaline circulation. These currents are carried in a big “international conveyor belt,” which incorporates the AMOC.

AMOC stands for Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The AMOC circulates water from north to south and again in an extended cycle inside the Atlantic Ocean. This circulation brings heat to varied components of the globe and in addition carries vitamins essential to maintain ocean life.

The circulation course of begins as heat water close to the floor strikes towards the poles (such because the Gulf Stream within the North Atlantic), the place it cools and types sea ice. As this ice types, salt is left behind within the ocean water. Because of the great amount of salt within the water, it turns into denser, sinks down, and is carried southwards within the depths beneath. Finally, the water will get pulled again up in direction of the floor and warms up in a course of known as upwelling, finishing the cycle.

The whole circulation cycle of the AMOC, and the worldwide conveyor belt, is kind of gradual. It takes an estimated 1,000 years for a parcel (any given cubic meter) of water to finish its journey alongside the belt. Although the entire course of is gradual by itself, there may be some proof that the AMOC is slowing down additional. NOAA funds analysis to raised perceive this potential slowing, in addition to to analyze the AMOC’s position in coastal sea degree modifications and its relationship to excessive occasions.

Is the AMOC slowing down?

As our local weather continues to vary, is there a risk that the AMOC will decelerate, or come to a whole cease? Whereas analysis exhibits it’s weakening over the previous century, whether or not or not it can proceed to gradual or cease circulating fully stays unsure. If the AMOC does proceed to decelerate, nonetheless, it may have far-reaching local weather impacts. For instance, if the planet continues to heat, freshwater from melting ice on the poles would shift the rain belt in South Africa, inflicting droughts for hundreds of thousands of individuals. It might additionally trigger sea degree rise throughout the U.S. East Coast.

Can a coral reef get well from bleaching and different nerve-racking occasions?

​Coral reef​s ​​​​in the clear blue waters of Kure Atoll in ​Hawaii's Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument​

​Coral reef​s ​​​​within the clear blue waters of Kure Atoll in ​Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine Nationwide Monument​.


Local weather change and ocean acidification may end up in mass coral bleaching occasions, elevated susceptibility to illness, slower progress and reproductive charges, and degraded reef construction.

There are not any fast fixes on the subject of a altering local weather. In the long run, coral reefs world wide will profit probably the most from the discount of greenhouse gases. Within the brief time period, we are able to enhance coral reef resilience by addressing native stressors, like runoff from land-based sources of air pollution and overharvesting of fish.

NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program helps native managers and communities just do that. The thought is straightforward. We all know local weather change is the only best international menace to coral reefs. Selling reef resilience is a neighborhood resolution. A resilient coral reef is one that may both resist a large-scale nerve-racking occasion or get well from it. For this to occur, native threats should be saved to a minimal to cut back stress and enhance total reef situation. Scientists are additionally honing methods to judge how resilient a coral reef ecosystem is in order that managers can take focused actions which have the best influence.

Wholesome coral reefs help an incredible variety of marine life and are sometimes known as the rainforests of the ocean. Coral reefs present many advantages to folks, together with coastal safety, meals, jobs, medication, and leisure actions.

What are microplastics?


VIDEO: What are microplastics? This is what it is advisable know in lower than a minute. Transcript


Plastic is essentially the most prevalent kind of marine particles present in our ocean and Nice Lakes. Plastic particles can are available in all sizes and styles, however these which might be lower than 5 millimeters in size (or concerning the measurement of a sesame seed) are known as “microplastics.”

Microbeads are tiny pieces of polyethylene plastic added to health and beauty products, such as some cleansers and toothpastes

Microbeads are tiny items of polyethylene plastic added to well being and wonder merchandise, comparable to some cleansers and toothpastes.

As an rising discipline of examine, not so much is understood about microplastics and their impacts but. The NOAA Marine Particles Program is main efforts inside NOAA to analysis this matter. Standardized discipline strategies for gathering sediment, sand, and surface-water microplastic samples have been developed and proceed to endure testing. Ultimately, discipline and laboratory protocols will permit for world comparisons of the quantity of microplastics launched into the atmosphere, which is step one in figuring out the ultimate distribution, impacts, and destiny of this particles.

Microplastics come from a wide range of sources, together with from bigger plastic particles that degrades into smaller and smaller items. As well as, microbeads, a sort of microplastic, are very tiny items of manufactured polyethylene plastic which might be added as exfoliants to well being and wonder merchandise, comparable to some cleansers and toothpastes. These tiny particles simply move by water filtration programs and find yourself within the ocean and Nice Lakes, posing a possible risk to aquatic life.

Microbeads should not a latest downside. In response to the United Nations Setting Programme, plastic microbeads first appeared in private care merchandise about fifty years in the past, with plastics more and more changing pure elements. As just lately as 2012, this challenge was nonetheless comparatively unknown, with an abundance of merchandise containing plastic microbeads in the marketplace and never quite a lot of consciousness on the a part of customers.

On December 28, 2015, President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, banning plastic microbeads in cosmetics and private care merchandise.

Video Transcript

Plastic is in all places. A variety of it results in the ocean. Most plastics within the ocean break up into very small particles. These small plastic bits are known as “microplastics.” Different plastics are deliberately designed to be small. They’re known as microbeads and are utilized in many well being and wonder merchandise. They move unchanged by waterways into the ocean. Aquatic life and birds can mistake microplastics for meals. Analysis is being performed. However there’s nonetheless a lot we do not know. In 2015, the U.S. banned the usage of microbeads. However microplastics are nonetheless an enormous downside. You possibly can assist maintain plastic out of the ocean. Bear in mind: Scale back. Reuse. Recycle.

The place do fish go when it freezes outdoors?

White Shoal Lighthouse in northern Lake Michigan. (Courtesy Dick Moehl, Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association)

White Shoal Lighthouse in northern Lake Michigan.

Have you ever ever questioned how fish survive in chilly winter climate, or the place they go when lakes and ponds freeze over?

Like many individuals, fish are typically much less lively within the chilly. As cold-blooded creatures, their metabolism dips when temperatures take a dive.

The layer of ice that types on prime of a lake, pond, river, or stream gives some insulation that helps the waterbody retain its warmth. As a result of heat water sinks in very chilly freshwater, fish in these water our bodies typically collect in teams close to the underside. Some species, like koi and gobies, could burrow into gentle sediments and go dormant like frogs and different amphibians, however most fish merely college within the deepest swimming pools and take a “winter relaxation.”

On this resting state, fishes’ hearts decelerate, their wants for meals and oxygen lower, and so they transfer about little or no. Should you’ve ever gone ice fishing, you already know {that a} lengthy line, a sluggish, colourful lure, and a hearty portion of persistence are sometimes required to land this quiet quarry! Widespread ice-fishing species embrace walleye, northern pike, yellow perch, and rainbow trout.

Do you know?

Similar to the human “snowbirds” who fly south for the winter, saltwater fish typically cruise to hotter climes when the mercury plummets. With the exceptions of the polar areas, salty ocean water hardly ever freezes. Oceangoing species additionally have a tendency to remain close to the underside, the place hotter water and swifter currents prevail.


Extra Data

Search Our Info

Get Social

Final up to date: 02/26/21
Creator: NOAA
How one can cite this text

Contact Us

What are the Roaring Forties?

A research vessel ploughs through the waves, braving the strong westerly winds of the Roaring Forties in the Southern Ocean.  Credit: Nicolas Metzl, LOCEAN/IPSL Laboratory

A analysis vessel braves the robust westerly winds of the Roaring Forties throughout an expedition to measure ranges of dissolved carbon dioxide within the floor of the ocean.


Through the Age of Sail (circa fifteenth  to nineteenth centuries), these robust prevailing winds propelled ships throughout the Pacific, usually at breakneck pace. However, crusing west into heavy seas and powerful headwinds may take weeks, particularly round Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America, making it one of the vital treacherous crusing passages within the world.

The Roaring Forties take form as heat air close to the equator rises and strikes towards the poles. Heat air transferring poleward (on either side of the equator) is the results of nature making an attempt to cut back the temperature distinction between the equator and on the poles created by uneven heating from the solar.

This course of units up international circulation cells, that are primarily accountable for global-scale wind patterns. The air descends again to Earth’s floor at about 30 levels’ latitude north and south of the equator. That is generally known as the high-pressure subtropical ridge, also called the horse latitudes. Right here, because the temperature gradient decreases, air is deflected towards the poles by the Earth’s rotation, inflicting robust westerly and prevailing winds at roughly 40 levels. These winds are the Roaring Forties.

The Roaring Forties within the Northern Hemisphere don’t pack the identical punch that they do within the Southern Hemisphere. It’s because the big land plenty of North America, Europe, and Asia hinder the airstream, whereas, in the southern hemisphere, there’s much less land to interrupt the wind in South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Whereas the Roaring Forties could also be fierce, 10 levels south are even stronger gale-force winds known as the Livid Fifties. And 10 levels south of the Livid Fifties lie the Screaming Sixties! We are able to thank the intrepid sailors of yore for these wildly descriptive phrases.

What’s a catcher seaside?

A classic example of a catcher beach along the shores of Hawaii.

A basic instance of a catcher seaside alongside the shores of Hawaii.

This map shows debris concentrations from an aerial survey done in Alaska in 2012. The map points to two known catcher areas, along Kruzof Island and Gore Point.

This map reveals particles concentrations from an aerial survey carried out in Alaska in 2012. The map factors to 2 identified catcher areas, alongside Kruzof Island and Gore Level.

To not be confused with a dumping floor or closely trashed public seaside, a catcher seaside usually receives its accumulations of particles attributable to its form and placement together with high-energy waves, storms, or winds. Consciousness and customary data of a lot of these areas range considerably by state, though many states have a superb understanding of the place catcher seashores are situated. In lots of circumstances, catcher seashores are present in distant areas which are tough to entry and could be difficult by way of particles cleanup and removing.

A selected instance of a catcher seaside could be discovered alongside the shores of Gore Level, Alaska. The geography of this location makes it a really high-density catcher seaside, because it stands proud like a hook into the Gulf of Alaska present. Scientists and group teams have been monitoring and cleansing this catcher seaside for over 9 years as a result of a variety of particles finally ends up there annually. Most notably in 2007-2008, a cleanup effort in Gore Level eliminated greater than 20 tons of particles from lower than a mile of shoreline! The particles included piles of logs reaching 10-15 ft excessive—proof of the power of the winter storms that deliver particles ashore in that a part of Alaska.

What does the ocean need to do with human well being?

Ocean water contamination warning sign on the beach

Our ocean and coasts have an effect on us all!


Our ocean and coasts have an effect on us all—even these of us who do not stay close to the shoreline. Think about the financial system. Via the fishing and boating trade, tourism and recreation, and ocean transport, our coastal and marine waters help hundreds of thousands of jobs. U.S. customers spend over billions yearly for fishery merchandise. Then there’s journey and tourism. Our seashores are a high vacation spot, attracting hundreds of thousands of individuals a yr. And let’s not neglect concerning the Nice Lakes—these huge our bodies of water provide greater than 40 million individuals with ingesting water. Our ocean, coasts, and Nice Lakes serve different vital wants, too—wants which might be more durable to measure, however no much less vital—corresponding to local weather regulation, nutrient recycling, and maritime heritage. Final however not least, a wholesome ocean and coasts present us with sources we depend on daily, starting from meals, to medicines, to compounds that make our peanut butter simpler to unfold! So what does all of this need to do with human well being?

Ocean in Misery

Once we consider public well being dangers, we might not consider the ocean as an element. However more and more, the well being of the ocean is intimately tied to our well being. One signal of an ocean in misery is a rise in seaside or shellfish harvesting closures throughout the nation. Intensive use of our ocean and runoff from land-based air pollution sources are simply two of many components that stress our fragile ecosystems—and more and more result in human well being considerations. Waterborne infectious ailments, dangerous algal bloom toxins, contaminated seafood, and chemical pollution are different indicators. Simply as we will threaten the well being of our ocean, so, too, can our ocean threaten our well being. And it isn’t public well being alone which may be threatened; our coastal economies, too, might be at important danger.

Closing the Security Hole

All through the U.S., there are literally thousands of seaside and shellfish closures or advisories every year because of the presence of dangerous marine organisms, chemical pollution, or algal toxins. To handle public well being threats and advantages from the ocean, NOAA scientists and companions are growing and delivering helpful instruments, applied sciences, and environmental data to public well being and pure useful resource managers, decision-makers, and the general public. These services embrace predictions for dangerous algal blooms and dangerous microbes to scale back publicity to contaminated seafood, and early warning methods for contaminated seashores and ingesting water sources to guard and stop human sickness.

Rising Well being Threats

Whales, dolphins, and different marine mammals eat a lot of the identical seafood that we eat, and we swim in shared coastal waters. Not like us, nonetheless, they’re uncovered to potential ocean well being threats corresponding to poisonous algae or poor water high quality 24 hours a day, seven days per week. These mammals, and different sentinel species, can shed vital mild on how the situation of ocean environments might have an effect on human well being now and sooner or later. Because the principal stewardship company answerable for defending marine mammals within the wild, NOAA’s Marine Mammal Well being and Stranding Response Program helps a community of nationwide and worldwide tasks aimed toward investigating well being considerations. This analysis cannot solely warn us about potential public well being dangers and result in improved administration of the protected species, however may additionally result in new medical discoveries.

Cures from the Deep

Retaining our ocean wholesome is about greater than defending human well being—it is also about discovering new methods to avoid wasting lives. The variety of species present in our ocean presents nice promise for a treasure chest of prescription drugs and pure merchandise to fight sickness and enhance our high quality of life. Many new marine-based medicine have already been found that deal with some kinds of most cancers, antibiotic resistant staph infections, ache, bronchial asthma, and irritation.

The place is Earth’s Largest Waterfall?

infographic showing the world's largest waterfall

Within the Denmark Strait, southward-flowing frigid water from the Nordic Seas meets hotter water from the Irminger Sea. The chilly, dense water rapidly sinks beneath the hotter water and flows over the large drop within the ocean ground, making a downward move estimated over 123 million cubic toes per second. Obtain Infographic | Infographic Textual content


Rivers flowing over Earth’s gorges create waterfalls which might be pure wonders, drawing hundreds of thousands of holiday makers to their breathtaking magnificence, grandeur, and energy. However no waterfall is bigger or extra highly effective than those who lie beneath the ocean, cascading over immense cataracts hidden from our view.

Certainly, the world’s largest waterfall lies beneath the Denmark Strait, which separates Iceland and Greenland. On the backside of the strait are a collection of cataracts that start 2,000 toes beneath the strait’s floor and plunge to a depth of 10,000 toes on the southern tip of Greenland—practically a two-mile drop.

However how can there be waterfalls within the ocean? It’s as a result of chilly water is denser than heat water, and within the Denmark Strait, southward-flowing frigid water from the Nordic Seas meets hotter water from the Irminger Sea. The chilly, dense water rapidly sinks beneath the hotter water and flows over the large drop within the ocean ground, making a downward move estimated at nicely over 123 million cubic toes per second. As a result of it flows beneath the ocean floor, nonetheless, the huge turbulence of the Denmark Strait goes utterly undetected with out the help of scientific devices.

Infographic Textual content

The world’s largest waterfall is within the ocean

This infographic illustrates how a big underwater cataract (waterfall) naturally kinds beneath the waves throughout the Denmark Strait. A map within the higher proper of the graphic reveals the placement of Denmark Strait, between Greenland and Iceland.

Hotter floor waters move northward. These hotter waters steadily lose warmth to the environment and sink. Denser, chilly water flows southward in a deep present alongside the ocean ground over an undersea ridge within the Strait. The peak of the Denmark Strait cataract is roughly 11,500 toes. By comparability, the biggest waterfall on land is 3,212 toes.

Search Our Information

Get Social
Extra Data

Do you know?

The world’s oceans transfer in what known as the Meridional Overturning Circulation, extra generally known as the worldwide conveyor belt. The conveyor belt circles the globe, transporting warmth and water and serving to to stabilize world local weather. It’s also a significant part of the worldwide ocean nutrient and carbon dioxide cycles. Heat floor waters are depleted of vitamins and carbon dioxide, however are re-enriched as they journey via the belt of colder, nutrient-rich water in deeper and backside layers. The ocean’s meals chain depends upon this combination, which helps the expansion of phytoplankton, seaweed, and life itself.


Final up to date: 02/26/21
Writer: NOAA
Methods to cite this text

Contact Us

What’s a backscatter?

VIDEO: How does backscatter assist us perceive the ocean flooring? This is an outline in underneath two minutes. Transcript

Backscatter is the reflection of a sign (resembling sound waves or mild) again within the route from the place it originated. Backscatter is often utilized in medical ultrasounds to grasp traits of the human physique, however on this planet of hydrography and marine science, backscatter from soundwaves helps us perceive traits of the ocean flooring.

backscatter image

Blue Carbon

A backscatter mosaic, which data the power of the sonar return from the ocean flooring, is overlaid on a nautical chart.

NOAA ships outfitted with multibeam echo sounders use beams of sound to map the ocean flooring. These sonar methods acquire two kinds of 3D information: sea flooring depth and backscatter. The ocean flooring depth, or bathymetry, is computed by measuring the time it takes for the sound to depart the sonar, hit the ocean flooring, and return to the sonar. Backscatter is computed by measuring the quantity of sound that’s mirrored by the ocean flooring and acquired by the sonar.

Totally different backside varieties “scatter” sound power in another way, telling scientists about their relative hardness and roughness. More durable backside varieties (like rock) mirror extra sound than softer backside varieties (like mud), and smoother backside varieties (like pavement) mirror extra sound than bumpier backside varieties (like coral reef).

Combining bathymetry and backscatter information collected by multibeam echo sounders permits scientists to create very detailed 3D maps of the ocean flooring and the habitats current there. The data is used for a number of functions, together with marine ecosystem safety, coastal hazard preparedness, and navigation security.

Video Transcript

Backscatter—measure of sound that’s mirrored by the ocean flooring and acquired by the sonar. A stronger return sign signifies a tough backside resembling coral or rocks. A weaker return sign signifies a tender backside resembling mud. Scientists use this info to create detailed 3D maps of the ocean flooring and the habitats current on the underside of the ocean with the purpose of enhancing navigation security and marine ecosystem safety.

What’s a present survey?

Do you know?

An Operational Forecast System offers a nowcast and forecast (as much as 48 hours) of water ranges, currents, salinity, water temperatures, and winds for a given space. These methods are positioned in coastal waters and the Nice Lakes in important ports, harbors, and estuaries.

NOAA’s Heart for Operational Oceanographic Merchandise and Companies offers tidal present predictions to business and leisure mariners who depend on this data for protected navigation.  With the intention to present probably the most correct predictions attainable, NOAA should periodically resurvey numerous coastal and estuarine areas.  Survey areas are chosen based mostly on mariners’ navigation wants, oceanographic analyses, and the period of time that has handed because the final survey. Given trendy enhancements in measurement and computing know-how, these surveys vastly enhance the accuracy of tidal predictions. In 2017, for instance, NOAA concluded a three-year present survey of Puget Sound, Washington, to replace the area’s tidal present predictions. Previous to the survey, predictions had been based mostly on restricted quantities of information collected within the Nineteen Thirties-Nineteen Sixties.

To gather the info they want, NOAA scientists usually deploy Acoustic Doppler Present Profilers (ADCPs) to measure currents all through the water column at numerous areas for a interval of 1 to 4 months. The observations collected from the ADCPs are used to generate tidal present predictions at these areas.  Along with present measurements, NOAA typically deploys salinity, temperature, oxygen, and stress sensors at choose areas to trace the motion of assorted water lots. Whereas the mixed information is used to create higher tidal prediction fashions, additionally it is used to help the creation of NOAA Operational Forecast System (OFS) hydrodynamic fashions.  These fashions present short-term forecasts of water ranges, currents, water temperature, and salinity in coastal areas. 

Infographic Transcript: Coastal & Estuarine Present Surveys

Instrument Deployments: Annually NOAA measures ocean currents at completely different coastal and estuarine areas by deploying dozens of short-term devices.

Currents: Ocean currents describe the motion of water from one location to a different. Currents are noticed at depths all through the water column and are measured over a interval from one to 4 months.

Acoustic Doppler Present Profiler (ADCP): This instrument measures the currents by emitting beams of sound, which mirror off of particles within the water and again to the ADCP.

Harmonic Evaluation: After the ocean present measurements are collected, oceanographers obtain
the info after which analyze it via a pc program. A statistical course of
known as harmonic evaluation determines the half of the present attributable to the tides.
This “tidal present” can then be predicted at that location for a few years into the
future. Different components that affect the present, resembling wind, can’t be forecast for
various days and aren’t included within the prediction.

Tidal Present Predictions: Within the graph above, NOAA predicts at “Lovely Bay” that the tidal present will flood (stream inland) at 1 pm, slack (low present pace) at 4 pm, and ebb (stream out to sea) at 7 pm. The quickest currents seem at peak flood and ebb.

How are present predictions used? Because of NOAA tidal present predictions, kayakers trying to depart “Lovely Bay” know to keep away from the time of peak flood at 1pm after they could be paddling
towards the present. Tidal present predictions present important data for each
leisure and business marine navigation. Predictions of the tidal present might be
accessed on-line for 1000’s of coastal and estuarine areas.

 

What’s a meteotsunami?

a stormy ocean, iStock image

Stormy climate over the ocean can typically gasoline the event of meteotsunamis, a sequence of waves usually a lot smaller and fewer harmful than these related to seismically generated tsunamis.

Seiches and meteotsunamis. What is the distinction?

Seiches and meteotsunamis are sometimes grouped collectively, however they’re two totally different occasions. Winds and atmospheric stress can contribute to the formation of each seiches and meteotsunamis; nevertheless, winds are usually extra necessary to a seiche movement, whereas stress typically performs a considerable function in meteotsunami formation. Generally a seiche and a meteotsunami may even happen on the similar time. Seiches are standing waves with longer durations of water-level oscillations (usually exceeding durations of three or extra hours), whereas meteotsunamis are progressive waves restricted to the tsunami frequency band of wave durations (two minutes to 2 hours). Seiches are often restricted to partially or absolutely enclosed basins, resembling Lake Erie. Meteotsunamis can happen in such basins however are additionally prevalent on the open coast. A single meteotsunami can journey lengthy distances and affect a really massive vary of the shoreline.


You’ve heard of tsunamis—these large oceanic waves triggered primarily by earthquakes that may roll ashore, inflicting lack of life and catastrophe. However have you ever heard of meteotsunamis?

Meteotsunamis are massive waves that scientists are simply starting to raised perceive. In contrast to tsunamis triggered by seismic exercise, meteotsunamis are pushed by air-pressure disturbances typically related to fast-moving climate occasions, resembling extreme thunderstorms, squalls, and different storm fronts. The storm generates a wave that strikes in direction of the shore, and is amplified by a shallow continental shelf and inlet, bay, or different coastal function.

Meteotsunamis have been noticed to succeed in heights of 6 ft or extra. They happen in lots of locations all over the world, together with the Nice Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Coast, and the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas.

Figuring out a meteotsunami is a problem as a result of its traits are nearly indistinguishable from a seismic tsunami. It may also be confused with wind-driven storm surge or a seiche. These uncertainties make it tough to foretell a meteotsunami and warn the general public of a possible occasion. Nonetheless, NOAA scientists have recognized atmospheric circumstances which are more likely to generate a meteotsunami and proceed to work on methods to forecast them.

Are tides larger when the moon is instantly overhead?

Earth viewed from the surface of the moon

This NASA picture from the Apollo 8 mission exhibits the Earth seen over the horizon of the moon. Whereas the moon and solar trigger tides on our planet, the gravitational pull of those celestial our bodies doesn’t dictate when excessive or low tides happen.


Tides originate within the ocean and progress towards the coastlines, the place they seem because the common rise and fall of the ocean floor. Because of Sir Isaac Newton’s 1687 discovery, we all know that tides are very long-period waves that transfer by the ocean in response to forces exerted by the moon and solar. Nevertheless, these gravitational forces don’t management when excessive or low tide occasions happen. Different forces, extra regional than the moon or solar, management the tides. Lots of them need to do with the geography and form of the Earth.

The form of our planet has loads to do with variations in gravitational pull at numerous places. If Earth was a real sphere lined by an ocean of fixed depth, then it might be true {that a} excessive tide occasion would happen on the location with the moon overhead. The tidal “bulge” would transfer across the Earth with the moon, however this isn’t the case with our planet. The Earth just isn’t a real sphere, however bulges barely on the Equator. Additionally it is dotted with massive land lots (continents). Areas the place the Earth’s floor is larger, akin to mountains, have a stronger gravitational power than do locations the place the floor is decrease, akin to a valley or cavern. On the similar time, the depth of the world ocean varies vastly. All of those components play into the peak of the tides.

One other factor to think about when enthusiastic about tides is the dimension of time. There are lags in time when an observer experiences excessive or low tide, and the lag varies from one location to a different. For instance, the rising slope of the ocean ground approaching the U.S. East (often known as the continental rise, continental slope, and continental shelf) slows down the tidal “bulge” or “wave” of water. The lag may be hours and even near a complete day in some elements of the world. Consider the wave or bulge that you simply see if you throw a rock right into a pond. The wave travels outward in a hoop. If there’s a tree or different obstruction within the pond, the ring of waves would journey and wrap round it. The identical holds true for the tides.

NOAA’s Heart for Operational Oceanographic Merchandise and Providers makes use of superior acoustic and digital tools to measure and monitor the tides alongside our coasts. NOAA has water remark stations in additional than 3,000 places across the U.S. to look at water ranges and generate tidal predictions.

How do hurricanes kind?

satellite image of Hurricane Katrina

Hurricanes kind over the ocean, usually starting as a tropical wave—a low strain space that strikes by way of the moisture-rich tropics, probably enhancing bathe and thunderstorm exercise.

Recipe for a Hurricane

Whipping up a hurricane requires various substances available in tropical areas:

  • A pre-existing climate disturbance: A hurricane usually begins out as a tropical wave.
  • Heat water: Water at the least 26.5 levels Celsius over a depth of 50 meters powers the storm.
  • Thunderstorm exercise: Thunderstorms flip ocean warmth into hurricane gasoline.
  • Low wind shear: A big distinction in wind pace and course round or close to the storm can weaken it.

Combine all of it collectively, and also you’ve received a hurricane—perhaps. Even when all these elements come collectively, a hurricane doesn’t all the time develop.

Hurricanes are powerhouse climate occasions that suck warmth from tropical waters to gasoline their fury. These violent storms kind over the ocean, usually starting as a tropical wave—a low strain space that strikes by way of the moisture-rich tropics, probably enhancing bathe and thunderstorm exercise.

As this climate system strikes westward throughout the tropics, heat ocean air rises into the storm, forming an space of low strain beneath. This causes extra air to hurry in. The air then rises and cools, forming clouds and thunderstorms. Up within the clouds, water condenses and kinds droplets, releasing much more warmth to energy the storm.

When wind speeds inside such a storm attain 74 mph, it’s labeled as a hurricane. The phrases “hurricane” and “tropical cyclone” confer with the identical form of storm: a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation.

Throughout only one hurricane, raging winds can churn out about half as a lot vitality as {the electrical} producing capability of the whole world, whereas cloud and rain formation from the identical storm may launch a staggering 400 occasions that quantity.

What’s a glass sponge?

a glass sponge

Probably the most well-known glass sponge is a species of Euplectella, proven right here within the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Generally referred to as the “Venus flower basket,” this sponge builds its skeleton in a manner that entraps a sure species of crustacean inside for all times.


Glass sponges within the class Hexactinellida are animals generally discovered within the deep ocean. Their tissues include glass-like structural particles, referred to as spicules, which are made from silica (therefore their title). Some species of glass sponges produce extraordinarily massive spicules that fuse collectively in lovely patterns to kind a “glass home”—a fancy skeleton that always stays intact even after the sponge itself dies. The skeleton of the glass sponge, along with numerous chemical substances, gives protection in opposition to many predators. Nonetheless, some starfish are recognized to feed on these uncommon creatures of the deep.

Most glass sponges stay connected to laborious surfaces and eat small micro organism and plankton that they filter from the encompassing water. Their intricate skeletons present many different animals with a house.

Probably the most well-known glass sponge is a species of Euplectella, referred to as the “Venus flower basket,” which builds its skeleton in a manner that entraps a sure species of crustacean inside for all times. This sponge typically homes two small, shrimp-like Stenopodidea, a male and a feminine, who stay out their lives contained in the sponge. The crustaceans breed, and when their offspring are tiny, they escape to discover a new Venus flower basket of their very own. The pair contained in the basket clear it and, in return, the basket gives meals for the crustaceans by way of its waste. The animals finally develop too massive to flee the sponge, so they’re pressured to “keep put” for the remainder of their lives.

Will we nonetheless want lighthouses?

Point Arena Lighthouse

Level Enviornment Lighthouse, which sits close to the northern boundary of Higher Farallones Nationwide Marine Sanctuary. Picture credit score: Robert Schwemmer

Lighthouses and beacons are towers with vibrant lights and fog horns positioned at essential or harmful areas. They are often discovered on rocky cliffs or sandy shoals on land, on wave-swept reefs within the sea, and at entrances to harbors and bays. They serve to warn mariners of harmful shallows and dangerous rocky coasts, and so they assist information vessels safely into and out of harbors. The messages of those long-trusted aids to navigation are easy: both STAY AWAY, DANGER, BEWARE! or COME THIS WAY!

Whereas lighthouses nonetheless information seafarers, these days, the World Positioning System (GPS), NOAA’s nautical charts, lighted navigational aids, buoys, radar beacons, and different aids to navigation successfully warn mariners of harmful areas and information them to secure harbors. Some 48,000 federal buoys, beacons, and digital aids of the marine transportation system mark greater than 25,000 miles of waterways, harbor channels, and inland, intracoastal and coastal waterways, and serve greater than 300 ports.

On August 7, 1789, Congress permitted the Lighthouse Act—the primary public works program undertaken by the brand new federal authorities—which established and supported lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers. Members of Congress thought the invoice was so essential that they handed the measure even earlier than they established pay for themselves!

August 7 Is acknowledged as Nationwide Lighthouse Day. Even with the arrival of superior navigation know-how, many lighthouses nonetheless sparkle for seafarers.

What’s the carbon cycle?

Begin with our brief video overview after which get the larger image with our accompanying article.

VIDEO: The carbon cycle describes the method through which carbon atoms regularly journey from the ambiance to the Earth after which again into the ambiance. Human actions have an incredible affect on this cycle. Burning fossil fuels, altering land use, and utilizing limestone to make concrete all switch large portions of carbon into the ambiance. Because of this, the quantity of carbon dioxide within the ambiance is quickly rising — it’s now higher than at any time within the final 3.6 million years. Transcript

mangroves

Blue Carbon

Blue carbon is the time period for carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems. Sea grasses, mangroves, salt marshes, and different programs alongside our coast are very environment friendly in storing CO2. These areas additionally soak up and retailer carbon at a a lot sooner price than different areas, similar to forests, and might proceed to take action for hundreds of thousands of years. The carbon present in coastal soil is commonly hundreds of years outdated. When these programs are broken or disrupted by human exercise, an infinite quantity of carbon is emitted again into the ambiance, contributing to local weather change.

Carbon is the muse of all life on Earth, required to type advanced molecules like proteins and DNA. This factor can also be present in our ambiance within the type of carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon helps to control the Earth’s temperature, makes all life doable, is a key ingredient within the meals that sustains us, and supplies a serious supply of the power to gas our international financial system.

The carbon cycle describes the method through which carbon atoms regularly journey from the ambiance to the Earth after which again into the ambiance. Since our planet and its ambiance type a closed surroundings, the quantity of carbon on this system doesn’t change. The place the carbon is positioned — within the ambiance or on Earth — is continually in flux.

On Earth, most carbon is saved in rocks and sediments, whereas the remainder is positioned within the ocean, ambiance, and in dwelling organisms. These are the reservoirs, or sinks, via which carbon cycles.

Carbon is launched again into the ambiance when organisms die, volcanoes erupt, fires blaze, fossil fuels are burned, and thru quite a lot of different mechanisms.

Within the case of the ocean, carbon is regularly exchanged between the ocean’s floor waters and the ambiance, or is saved for lengthy durations of time within the ocean depths.

People play a serious function within the carbon cycle via actions such because the burning of fossil fuels or land growth. Because of this, the quantity of carbon dioxide within the ambiance is quickly rising; it’s already significantly higher than at any time within the final 800,000 years.

Video Transcript

What’s the carbon cycle? Carbon is the chemical spine of all life on Earth. The entire carbon we at present have on Earth is identical quantity we’ve got at all times had. When new life is fashioned, carbon types key molecules like protein and DNA. It is also present in our ambiance within the type of carbon dioxide or CO2. The carbon cycle is nature’s means of reusing carbon atoms, which journey from the ambiance into organisms within the Earth after which again into the ambiance again and again. Most carbon is saved in rocks and sediments, whereas the remainder is saved within the ocean, ambiance, and dwelling organisms. These are the reservoirs, or sinks, via which carbon cycles. The ocean is a big carbon sink that absorbs carbon. Marine organisms from marsh vegetation to fish, from seaweed to birds, additionally produce carbon via dwelling and dying. Typically lifeless organisms change into fossil fuels that undergo combustion, giving off CO2, and the cycle continues.

What are coquina and tabby?

The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida, stands sentinel over Matanzas Bay. The coquina structure remains sturdy after three centuries. (Photo credit: iStock Getty Images)

The Castillo de San Marcos Nationwide Monument in St. Augustine, Florida, stands sentinel over Matanzas Bay. The coquina construction stays sturdy after three centuries.

Gazebo and oak tree at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. Photo courtesy Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

The pure coquina outcroppings at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park close to Palm Coast, Florida, are among the many largest on the Atlantic Coast. Credit score: Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

Almost each little one who’s performed on the seashore has constructed a easy sand citadel by making a turret
with an upturned bucket of sand. Others, extra elaborate (and sometimes constructed with assist from an
bold mum or dad), boast a number of constructions surrounded by moats and rivers that ebb and move
with the movement of ocean waves.

However do you know that close to St. Augustine, Florida — the nation’s oldest metropolis — there exists an
precise “citadel” fabricated from sand? Situated on 20.5 acres on the western shore of Matanzas Bay, the
Castillo de San Marcos Nationwide Monument is the oldest (circa 1695) and largest masonry fort in
the continental United States.

The Castillo’s masonry, or stonework, is essentially comprised of coquina (Spanish for “small
shells”) — a pure concrete derived from the ocean. Coquina is a uncommon type of limestone
composed of the shell fragments of historic mollusks and different marine invertebrates, which, over
time, are glued collectively by dissolved calcium carbonate within the shells. Coquina can also be the identify of
a typical tiny clam discovered in every single place on Florida seashores. Their shells, which are available
numerous colours, are mirrored within the Castillo’s muted hues.

As a constructing materials, coquina is light-weight, straightforward to seek out (it’s indigenous to the Florida coast),
straightforward to make use of, and almost indestructible. Not solely is coquina bullet-proof, it’s just about cannon-ball-
proof! Attributable to its plentiful microscopic air pockets, coquina is well compressed. In days gone, cannon
balls fired on the Castillo merely lodged in its partitions. Which, one supposes, is why the previous fort nonetheless
stands after 300 years.

Probably the greatest locations to see coquina in its pure state is Washington Oaks Backyard State Park
close to Palm Coast, Florida, about 30 miles south of St. Augustine. The park’s picturesque coquina
outcroppings are a number of the largest on the Atlantic Coast.

A associated constructing materials is tabby, usually referred to as coastal concrete, which is mainly artifical
coquina. Tabby consists of the lime from burned oyster shells combined with sand, water, ash,
and different shells. Way back to the 1600s, Spanish and English settlers used tabby to construct their
properties and different constructions, and to pave their roads, all through the coastal Carolinas, Georgia,
and Florida.

Many tabby buildings nonetheless stand right now, together with Georgia’s Fort Pulaski close to Savannah and the
R.J. Reynolds mansion on Sapelo Island. These historic constructions, amongst many others, are
testomony to each the ingenuity of early People and the untold bounty of the ocean.

How lengthy do Greenland sharks dwell?

 Close-up image of a greenland shark taken at the floe edge of the Admiralty Inlet, Nunavut.

Shut-up picture of a greenland shark taken on the floe fringe of the Admiralty Inlet, Nunavut.

Picture credit score – Hemming1952 | Wikimedia Commons | Used below the Inventive Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Worldwide | Modifications: measurement

Scientists have suspected for some time that Greenland sharks lived extraordinarily lengthy lives, however they didn’t have a technique to decide how lengthy. The age of different shark species may be estimated by counting progress bands on fin spines or on the shark’s vertebrae, very similar to rings on a tree. Greenland sharks, nonetheless, haven’t any fin spines and no exhausting tissues of their our bodies. Their vertebrae are too smooth to kind the expansion bands seen in different sharks. Scientists may solely guess that the sharks lived a very long time based mostly on what they knew — the sharks develop at a really sluggish charge (lower than 1 cm per 12 months) they usually can attain over 6 meters in measurement.

However current breakthroughs allowed scientists to make use of carbon relationship to estimate the age of Greenland sharks. Contained in the shark’s eyes, there are proteins which are fashioned earlier than beginning and don’t degrade with age, like a fossil preserved in amber. Scientists found that they might decide the age of the sharks by carbon-dating these proteins. One research examined Greenland sharks that had been bycatch in fishermen’s nets. The biggest shark they discovered, a 5-meter feminine, was between 272 and 512 years outdated in response to their estimates. Carbon relationship can solely present estimates, not a definitive age. Scientists proceed to refine this technique and will present extra correct measurements sooner or later. However even on the decrease finish of the estimates, a 272-year lifespan makes the Greenland shark the longest-lived vertebrate.

One idea to clarify this lengthy lifespan is that the Greenland shark has a really sluggish metabolism, an adaptation to the deep, chilly waters it inhabits. A NOAA remotely operated car doing a dive off New England encountered a Greenland shark at a depth of 783 meters, however these sharks are recognized to dive as deep as 2,200 meters. They’re additionally the one shark that may face up to the chilly waters of the Arctic Ocean year-round.

The sluggish metabolism may clarify the shark’s sluggish progress, sluggish getting old, and sluggish motion — its prime pace is below 2.9 kilometers per hour. As a result of the sharks develop so slowly, they aren’t thought to succeed in sexual maturity till they’re over a century outdated. Meaning eradicating mature Greenland sharks from the ocean impacts the species and the ecosystem for a lot of a long time. Although the Greenland shark was once hunted for its liver oil, the vast majority of Greenland sharks that find yourself in fishing nets and contours now are caught by chance. Lowering bycatch is essential in conserving this distinctive species.

What’s latitude?

iStock graphic of earth with lines showing latitude

Latitude strains begin on the equator (0 levels latitude) and run east and west, parallel to the equator. Strains of latitude are measured in levels north or south of the equator to 90 levels on the North or South poles. A transcript is on the market that describes this infographic content material in plain textual content. (Picture credit score: iStock)



Strains of latitude, additionally referred to as parallels, are imaginary strains that divide the Earth. They run east to west, however measure your distance north or south. The equator is essentially the most well-known parallel. At 0 levels latitude, it equally divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. From the equator, latitude will increase as you journey north or south, reaching 90 levels at every pole.

Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory, Credit: City of Gaithersburg

Since 1899

Do you know that the Nationwide Ocean Service (NOS) has been monitoring latitude since 1899? A scientist with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (later included into NOS) constructed an observatory close to his dwelling in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and commenced accumulating latitude measurements as a part of a worldwide challenge to watch the wobble of the Earth on its polar axis. One other observatory was inbuilt Ukiah, California, becoming a member of worldwide stations at places alongside the thirty ninth parallel north. Satellite tv for pc information changed human observations within the Eighties, however the information from the observatories continues to be getting used.

There are different named strains of latitude. They’re based mostly on the solar’s place throughout Earth’s orbit, they usually assist us perceive local weather, climate, and ocean currents. The Tropic of Most cancers, at roughly 23 levels north, and the Tropic of Capricorn, at roughly 23 levels south, are the boundaries of what we think about the tropics. The Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle are at roughly 66 levels north and south, respectively. They mark the boundaries of the Arctic and Antarctic areas.

Every diploma of latitude covers about 111 kilometers on the Earth’s floor. One diploma of latitude might be additional divided into 60 minutes, and one minute might be additional divided into 60 seconds. A second of latitude covers solely about 30.7 meters. In contrast to longitude strains, which get nearer to one another on the poles, latitude strains are parallel. Irrespective of the place you might be on Earth, latitude strains are the identical distance aside.

Latitude and longitude have been utilized in astronomy and navigation since historic instances. By calculating the angle between the horizon and a celestial object (often the solar or the North Star), navigators may decide their approximate latitude utilizing fundamental instruments. The calculations had been easy, so measuring latitude at sea was dependable a whole bunch of years earlier than correct longitude measurements may very well be calculated throughout a voyage. If the North Star was 60 levels above the horizon, the observer was at 60 levels latitude (north). This course of was extra complicated within the southern hemisphere, the place the North Star is just not seen.

We nonetheless look to the sky to find out our place, however the gear is a little more refined. A constellation of over 30 world positioning satellites orbit the Earth, transmitting alerts to receivers on land. NOS’s Nationwide Geodetic Survey manages a community of stationary world positioning satellite tv for pc receivers referred to as Repeatedly Working Reference Stations (CORS). When mixed with different positioning information within the Nationwide Spatial Reference System, processed CORS information can present latitude, longitude, and top positions correct to inside a couple of centimeters.

half of the Earth viewed from space

Whereas the Earth seems to be spherical when seen from the vantage level of house, it’s really nearer to an ellipsoid. Our planet is pudgier on the equator than on the poles as a result of centrifugal power created by the earth’s fixed rotation. The truth that the Earth is just not an ideal sphere makes calculating latitude strains with excessive levels of accuracy a sophisticated endeavor.



Levels of Accuracy

If we assume the Earth is an ideal sphere, strains of latitude are comparatively easy to calculate. The latitude of a sure level on the floor of the Earth is the angle between two strains: a line from that location to the middle of the Earth and a line from the middle of the Earth to the Equator. This technique of calculation provides us geocentric strains of latitude. Nonetheless, this technique is just not correct sufficient for astronomy, world positioning, and different real-world purposes. As a substitute, we use what is called geodetic latitude. This technique of calculating latitude for any level on Earth accounts for the truth that the Earth is definitely squished on the poles as a result of centrifugal power created by the planet’s rotation. Measuring latitude strains with excessive levels of accuracy is however one element of geodesy, the science of precisely measuring and understanding the Earth’s geometric form, orientation in house, and gravity subject.


Infographic Transcript: Latitude

  • The left picture reveals the Earth tilted on its axis. A piece has been lower away to point out latitude strains (or parallels) that run horizontally from the equator to the North Pole. These are labeled from 0 to 80 levels north. The equator and the Greenwich meridian line (prime meridian) are additionally labeled. Extra strains are drawn from the middle of the Earth to every labeled parallel. These illustrate that the latitude measurement for every level equals the angle made between the road to the middle of the earth and one drawn by way of the aircraft of the equator. Close to the South Pole, an arrow signifies the course of the Earth’s rotation on its axis.
  • The proper picture reveals the Earth with the equator and Greenwich meridian line labeled. The world north of the equator is labeled Northern Hemisphere; the realm south of the equator is labeled Southern Hemisphere. Latitude strains are labeled from the north pole (90 levels north) to the equator (0 levels) and all the way down to the south pole (90 levels south).