Biodiversity: NOAA research voyage aims to track rare North Pacific right whales

New data from the Gulf of Alaska expedition will help guide ongoing conservation efforts


North Pacific right whales are among the most endangered marine mammal species. There may be as few as 30 individuals remaining. Photo via NOAA.

Staff Report

FRISCO —There may only be about 30 North Pacific right whales remaining, but fisheries scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are determined to do all they can to try and save the species.

To start, a team of researchers has set out on a month-long research voyage to track the whales in the Gulf of Alaska, where they sometimes visit. North Pacific right whales may be the  most endangered marine mammal to visit U.S. waters. The species was decimated by historic whaling in the 19th century, as well as illegal whaling by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Continue reading

July 2015 was the hottest month on record for Earth

All signs point toward more record-breaking heat ahead


Only a few small parts of the planet saw anywhere near average or below average temperatures in July 2015.


There is little question that average global temperatures have been soaring since the 1970s.

Staff Report

FRISCO — July 2015 was the hottest month on record for planet Earth by any measure, federal climate scientists said this week during their monthly global climate update. What’s more, the researchers are 99 percent sure that 2015 will end up as the hottest year since humankind has been tracking the climate, going back to about 1880.

That would break the record set just last year and is sure sign that greenhouse gases are inexorably heating the planet, despite year-to-year variations in the rate of warming. Continue reading

NOAA to webcast deep-sea explorations

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer systematically explores the deep oceans of the world. (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer systematically explores the deep oceans of the world. (Credit: NOAA)

Research voyage begins Aug. 1; scientists say they expect to find new species

Staff Report

FRISCO — Ocean enthusiasts will have a chance to do some armchair exploring the next few months as NOAA scientists deploy unmanned submarines to explore protected areas in the central Pacific Ocean.

Starting Aug. 1, anyone with an internet connection can join the expedition in real time at NOAA’s research ship, the Okeanos Explorer, will visit deeper waters in and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Continue reading

June 2015 is another record-warm month for the planet

Year to date also the warmest ever, new NOAA report says


Most of the world’s land and ocean areas were much warmer than average in June.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Global temperatures soared to another record high in June, reaching 1.58 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average and breaking the mark set just last year by 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit — which may not sound like much, but it’s a pretty big increment in the world of temperature records.

The first six months of 2015 were also record warm, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center said in its monthly State of the Climate report released today. For the first six months of the year, the global land and ocean surface average temperaure was 1.53 degrees above the 20th century average, beating the 2010 record by 0.16 degrees Fahrenheit. Read the full report here.Both land and sea surface temperatures were record warm in June, with the  globally-averaged land surface temperature running 2.27 degrees Fahrenheit above average, and global sea surface temps at 1.33 degrees above the 20th century average.

Continue reading

Climate: Coral reefs taking a big hit this year

A diverse coral reef in the U.S. Virgin Islands. PHOTO BY CAROLINE ROGERS/USGS.

Coral reefs in the Caribbean, like this one in the U.S. Virgin Islands, are at risk of bleaching as global warming heats up the world’s oceans. Photo by Caroline Rogers/USGS.

Warm oceans leading to widespread reef bleaching

Staff Report

FRISCO — Ocean researchers have updated their warnings of potential coral reef bleaching based on unusually warm ocean temperatures across the north Pacific, equatorial Pacific, and western Atlantic oceans this summer.

Scientists with NOAA’s coral reef watch say they expect  bleaching of corals on Northern Hemisphere reefs through October, potentially leading to the death of corals over a wide area and affecting the long-term supply of fish and shellfish.

“The bleaching that started in June 2014 has been really bad for corals in the western Pacific,” said Mark Eakin, NOAA Coral Reef Watch coordinator. “We are worried that bleaching will spread to the western Atlantic and again into Hawaii.” Continue reading

Climate: May precipitation sets all-time U.S. record

Wettest month ever, federal climate trackers say


Wetter-than-average conditions prevailed across a huge swath of the central U.S. during May, leading to a record-wet month for the U.S.

Staff Report

FRISCO — May 2015 was wet, not just in Colorado, but across the country, with average precipitation smashing the all-time record for the month — and for any month — during the 121-year span that records have been kept.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center, the May precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 4.36 inches, 1.45 inches above average. For the spring season (March-May), the precipitation total for the lower 48 states was 9.33 inches, 1.39 inches above average, and the 11th wettest on record.  Continue reading

New NOAA study says there’s no global warming slowdown

NOAA says there's no global warming hiatus.

NOAA says there’s no global warming hiatus.

Greenhouse gases heating the world faster than ever

Staff Report

FRISCO — After carefully analyzing the best global temperature data available, including more readings  from ocean buoys and the Arctic, federal climate scientists concluded that there has been no slowdown in the rate of global warming the past 15 years.

“Adding in the last two years of global surface temperature data and other improvements in the quality of the observed record provide evidence that contradict the notion of a hiatus in recent global warming trends,” said Thomas R. Karl, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Our new analysis suggests that the apparent hiatus may have been largely the result of limitations in past datasets, and that the rate of warming over the first 15 years of this century has, in fact, been as fast or faster than that seen over the last half of the 20th century,” Karl said. Continue reading


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