WEEKLY OCEAN NEWS
11-15 December 2017
Items of Interest:
- Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2017 Campaign is underway -- The twelfth in the series of GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaigns for 2017 will continue through Monday, 18 December. GLOBE at Night is a worldwide, hands-on science and education program designed to encourage citizen-scientists worldwide to record the brightness of their night sky by matching the appearance of a constellation (Pegasus in the Northern Hemisphere and Grus in the Southern Hemisphere) with the seven magnitude/star charts of progressively fainter stars. Activity guides are also available. The GLOBE at night program is intended to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution. The GLOBE at night program is intended to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution. The first series in the 2018 campaign is next and is scheduled for 6-15 January 2018. [GLOBE at Night]
- In pursuit of Northern Lights -- An article was posted recently on NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information that provides useful information to all who are interested in viewing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. This article contains maps and links to a variety of websites that help the potential viewer with assessing the current geomagnetic activity and the geographic location, especially in terms of the geomagnetic latitude and longitude. Consideration of light pollution from artificial illumination and the phase of the moon should also be considered. [NOAA NCEI News]
- Student scholarships announced -- The NOAA Office of Education recently announced that scholarships are available to undergraduate and graduate students who are majoring in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences, along with several of the other scientific and technical disciplines that support NOAA's mission and programs. [NOAA Office of Education] These scholarships include:
- The Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) Undergraduate Scholarships: http://www.noaa.gov/opportunities/eppmsi-undergraduate-scholarship-program. This program provides an opportunity for rising junior students to study disciplines relating to the NOAA's mission. Students attending Minority Serving Institutions are encouraged to apply. The application deadline for the 2017 EPP Undergraduate Scholarship Program is 31 January 2018.
- Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program: http://www.noaa.gov/office-education/hollings-scholarship. This program is designed to: (1). increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology, and education and foster multidisciplinary training opportunities; (2) increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy; (3.) recruit and prepare students for public service careers with NOAA and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government; and (4.) recruit and prepare students for careers as teachers and educators in oceanic and atmospheric science and to improve scientific and environmental education in the United States. The application deadline for the 2017 Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program is 31 January 2018.
Ocean in the News:
- Eye on the tropics -- Tropical cyclone activity was limited to the Indian Ocean basin during the last week:
- In the northern Indian Ocean basin, Tropical Cyclone Ockhi, which had briefly become a category 3 cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale during the previous weekend, had weakened to a tropical storm as it continued traveling to the north-northeast toward the coast of India at the start of last week. By Tuesday, Ockhi had reached a position approximately 510 miles to the south-southeast of Karachi Pakistan as it dissipated. However, locally heavy rains accompanying the remnants of Cyclone Ockhi fell across the coastal regions of northwestern India.
Satellite images and additional information on Tropical Storm Ockhi can be found on the NASA Hurricane Page.
A tropical storm, identified as Tropical Storm 4B, formed over the waters of the Bay of Bengal off the northeastern coast of India over this past weekend. However, this tropical storm was relatively short lived, as it began to dissipate by late Saturday (local time) as it was centered approximately 280 miles to the south-southwest of Kolkata, India. Rain associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm 4B was moving across northeast India and Bangladesh on Sunday.
- In the southern Indian Ocean Basin, Tropical Storm Dahlia had weakened to a tropical depression and dissipated at the start of last week approximately 460 miles to the north-northwest of Learmonth, Australia. Consult the NASA Hurricane Page for satellite images and additional information on Tropical Storm Dahlia.
- Lives saved by new storm surge watches and warnings -- During the recent 2017 hurricane season, NOAA's National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the National Weather Service (NWS) issued storm surge watches and warnings along the coasts of the contiguous United States for the first time. Since storm surge is a leading cause of tropical cyclone-related fatalities, NHC and NWS have developed new storm surge watch/warning products, in close cooperation with emergency managers, social scientists, the media and the public to make these products understandable and unambiguous. Although three category 4 hurricanes (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) made landfall in the United States during this past season, no storm surge fatalities in the nation were reported. [NOAA News]
- An active Atlantic hurricane season provided many research opportunities -- The 2017 hurricane season in the North Atlantic basin afforded research scientists from NOAA and their colleagues several opportunities to collect environmental data using new autonomous aircraft and underwater drones for use in operational and experimental NOAA forecast models. [NOAA Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research News]
- Lives in Bangladesh are saved by coastal flooding forecasts -- During the last six years, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Bangladesh Department for Meteorology (BMD) have implemented a Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP) designed to improve coastal flooding forecasting capabilities in Bangladesh, one of the most flood-prone nations in the world. The project was funded by USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and supported by a team of international experts from meteorological agencies in Australia, Canada and Japan. BMD successfully applied the Coastal Inundation Forecasting model in the three most recent cyclones, radically reducing the death toll compared to earlier years. [WMO News]
- Mitigating the impact of killer waves -- The role of U.S. Tsunami Warning System in helping coastal communities prepare for and respond to tsunamis is highlighted. The NOAA-led National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program is also mentioned. [NOAA Stories]
- The depths of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary are catalogued -- A new field guide documenting deep-sea corals, sponges, sea stars, fishes, and other organisms offshore of the central California coast has been prepared by scientists from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The focus of this guide has been on the Sur Ridge, an underwater feature in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary that is located approximately 28 miles off the course. [NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries News]
- Drones used to help monitor health of leopard seals -- Scientists from NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Center have been using photographs taken from drones as a relatively fast, simple and inexpensive way to monitor the health of leopard seals who reside along the Antarctic Peninsula. The accuracy of these aerial measurements was tested by manually catching and measuring the same seals. [NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center]
- Endangered species report made to Congress -- NOAA Fisheries recently made its Endangered Species Biennial Report to the US Congress. This report summarizes efforts made by the agency to recover all domestic species under NOAA Fisheries' jurisdiction for the two years running from October 2014 through September 2016. During this period, the number of listed species under NOAA Fisheries jurisdiction increased 18 percent. [NOAA Fisheries Feature Story]
- Looking for a link between solar storms and marine animal beachings -- Scientists from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have been collaborating in an investigation of the possible connection between space weather involving coronal mass ejections and mass stranding events involving marine mammals such as dolphins, whales and porpoises. The scientists have been collecting and analyzing massive data sets including oceanographic and meteorological data from NASA and NOAA satellites. They have identified several hot spots for grounding: New Zealand, Australia, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, all of which share key geographic characteristics like sloping beaches and fine-grained sediment. [NOAA News]
- Seven of nation's universities have received grants to tackle coastal flooding, changing marine resources and drought -- NOAA Research recently announced that seven of the nation's leading research universities have received monetary grants for projects designed to conduct research on coastal flooding, changing marine resources and drought. The funding for the NOAA Research Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program. [NOAA Climate Program Office News]
- An All-Hazards Monitor -- This Web portal provides the user information from NOAA's National Weather Service, FAA and FEMA on
current environmental events that may pose as hazards such as tropical
weather, fire weather, marine weather, severe weather, drought and
floods. [NOAA/NWS Daily Briefing]
- Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com]
- 11 December 1901...Italian physicist and radio pioneer
Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic
Ocean, covering over 2000 miles from Cornwall in England to
Newfoundland, Canada. (The History Channel)
- 12 December 1966...A Greek passenger ferry foundered in
heavy seas near Heraklion, Crete with the loss of 241 lives.
- 13 December 1577...Five ships and 164 men under the command
of English seaman Francis Drake (later knighted) set sail from
Plymouth, England, to embark on Drake's circumnavigation of the globe,
the first by a British explorer. The journey took almost three years.
(The History Channel)
- 13 December 1642...Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman
became the first European explorer to sight the South Pacific island
group now known as New Zealand. (The History Channel)
- 13 December 1816...The first US patent for a dry dock was
issued to John Adamson of Boston, MA. (Today in Science History)
- 13 December 1879...The first federal fish-hatching steamer
was launched at Wilmington, DE.
- 14 December 1287...Zuider Zee seawall in the Netherlands
collapsed with the loss of over 50,000 lives. (Wikipedia)
- 14 December 1902...The British Cable Ship Silverton set
sail from the San Francisco Bay Area to lay the first telephone cable
between San Francisco and Honolulu. The project, which involved laying
a cable across 2277 nautical miles, was completed by 1 January 1903 as
the ship landed and the first test message sent the same day. (Today in
- 14 December 1988...The first transatlantic underwater
fiber-optic cable went into service.
- 14 December 1991...A ferry, the Salem Express, carrying 569
passengers sank in the Red Sea off the coast of Safaga, Egypt, after
hitting a coral reef. Over 460 people were believed drowned.
- 14 December 2002...Carrying 2,862 Volvos, BMWs, and SAABs, the Norwegian car transporter ship Tricolor collided with another ship due to thick fog and sank off the coast of Dunkirk, France. (National Weather Service files)
- 15 December 1488...Bartholomeus Diaz returned to Portugal
after sailing round Cape of Good Hope.
- 15 December 1582...The Spanish Netherlands, Denmark and
Norway adopted the Gregorian calendar.
- 15 December 1965...The third cyclone of the year killed
another 10,000 people at the mouth of the Ganges River, Bangladesh.
- 15 December 1987...High seas to 12-foot heights caused in
part by 30-mph winds associated with an arctic cold front capsized a
fishing boat in the coastal waters near California's Channel Islands.
The ship's cargo shifted in the high seas and strong winds. Three of
the nine people onboard drowned. (Accord's Weather Calendar)
- 15 December 1992...Cyclone John hit the sparsely populated northwest coast of Australia with winds gusting to 185 mph. John was the strongest cyclone to hit Australia in over 100 years. (National Weather Service files)
- 16 December 1897...The Argonaut, the
first US submarine with an internal combustion engine, was demonstrated
on the Patapsco River. Simon Lake invented and patented the engine.
(Today in Science History)
- 16-17 December 1997...Torrential rain from Super Typhoon
Paka fell on Guam with nearly 21 inches of rain observed at Tiyan
before instrumentation failed two hours before Paka's eye passed to the
south. Winds gusted to 171 mph before wind instruments failed. However,
unofficial sources at Andersen Air Force Base believed that wind gusts
may have reached 236.7 mph during the height of the storm. This super
typhoon left major damage to 60 percent of the homes on Guam and caused
500 million dollars in damage. Fortunately, no one was killed and only
two injuries were reported. (The Weather Doctor) (Accord's Weather
- 16 December 2000...NASA announced that an ocean was most
likely located beneath the icy surface of the Jovian moon Ganymede.
- 17-18 December 1832...The HMS Beagle
with Charles Darwin onboard rounded Cape San Diego at Tierra del Fuego
(the southern tip of South America) then sailed through the Strait of
Le Maire, to anchor at Good Success Bay and visit Vurland.
- 17-18 December 1944...A typhoon with wind gusts to 142 mph
in the Philippine Sea devastated Task Force 38 of Admiral Halsey's
Third Fleet northeast of Samar. Approximately 800 men were lost, the
destroyers USS Hull, USS Monaghan
and USS Spence sank, while 21 other ships were
damaged, along with loss of 147 aircraft. The wind and sea tore life
vests from the backs of some survivors. (Naval Historical Center)
(Accord's Weather Calendar)
Return to RealTime Ocean Portal
Prepared by Ocean Central Staff and Edward J. Hopkins,
© Copyright, 2017, The American Meteorological Society.