Satellite mapping could help avert whale-ship crashes

Naval training exercises off the coast of California could pose a threat to endangered marine mammals.
A new satellite mapping program could help avert collisions between whales and ships . Photo courtesy NOAA.

‘No ship captain or shipping company wants to strike a whale’

Staff Report

Satellite data about whale movements and ocean conditions have helped scientists create monthly whale hotspot maps that could help avert collisions between ships and marine mammals.

Developed by researchers with NOAA Fisheries, Oregon State University and the University of Maryland, the WhaleWhatch program alerts ships where there may be an increased risk of encountering these endangered whales.  NASA helped fund the project, which draws on ocean observations from NASA and NOAA satellites. Continue reading “Satellite mapping could help avert whale-ship crashes”

Climate: U.S. was record warm in June 2016

Deadly heatwaves and flooding part of emerging pattern of extremes

Utah and Arizona reported a record-warm June average temperature, with most other states also coming in above average.

Staff Report

Blistering, record heat in the Southwest helped propel the lower 48 states to a new high-temperature record in June, with an average reading of 71.8 degrees Fahrenheit for the month. That included a new monthly temperature record set in Death Valley National Park, where the average temperature in June was 101.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

The warmest-ever June reading broke the record set during the Dust Bowl era, in 1933, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The year-to-date is the third-warmest on record, the monthly state of the climate summary report said.

Continue reading “Climate: U.S. was record warm in June 2016”

Climate: More global heat records tumble

Warm, warmer … warmest

February 2016 topped a string of preceding warm months with record-shattering global temperatures.

Staff Report

Above-average temperatures were widespread across the globe in February, making it another record-breaking month — with the highest departure from average on record. Combining land and ocean surface temperatures from thousands of measuring stations, NOAA announced this week that the global average temperature for the month was 2.18 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. Read the full report here. Continue reading “Climate: More global heat records tumble”

Global warming: Goodbye to sea scallops?

A northward shift of the Gulf Stream could warm waters off the New England coast significantly, according to a new NOAA study. Graphic courtesy NASA.
Rapidly warming ocean temperatures off the New England coast are affecting many marine species. Graphic courtesy NASA.

New vulnerability assessment to help guide fisheries management

Staff Report

Rapidly warming ocean temperatures off the coast of the Northeastern U.S. are likely to have a big impact on nearly all fish and other marine life in the region. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration carefully surveyed 82 species in a recent study, trying to identify which are the most vulnerable to global warming.

“Our method identifies specific attributes that influence marine fish and invertebrate resilience to the effects of a warming ocean and characterizes risks posed to individual species,” said Jon Hare, a fisheries oceanographer at NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and lead author of the study. “This work will help us better account for the effects of warming waters on our fishery species in stock assessments and when developing fishery management measures.” Continue reading “Global warming: Goodbye to sea scallops?”

Feds expand critical habitat for North Atlantic right whales

New protection to aid recovery of rare marine mammals

NOAA has expanded critical habitat for endangered North American right whales. Photo courtesy NOAA.
NOAA has expanded critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

North Atlantic right whales will have a little more protection off the East Coast, as NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service expanded critical habitat to cover feeding areas in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank region and southeast calving grounds from North Carolina to Florida.

The expansion does not include any new restrictions or management measures for commercial fishing operations, but it would require more extensive review of any proposed activities in the region. Continue reading “Feds expand critical habitat for North Atlantic right whales”

Study outlines path for U.S. ‘Energiewende’

In just 15 years, renewable energy could power most of the U.S. @bberwyn photo.

Huge cuts in greenhouse emissions possible by 2030

Staff Report

Germany’s deliberate transition to renewable energy — the Energiewende — has made headlines around the world, but the U.S. also has the potential to  make a big shift toward renewable energy.

Solar, wind and other weather-driven renewable resources could supply most of the nation’s electricity by 2030 and potentially cut greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by up to 78 percent,  according to a new study by researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado. Continue reading “Study outlines path for U.S. ‘Energiewende’”

2015 sets global temperature record by a wide margin

Experts say no sign of slowdown in long-term warming trend

2015’s global average temperature broke the record by the biggest margin ever, and 2016 could be even warmer.

By Bob Berwyn

The average global temperature for 2015 was the warmest since record-keeping started in 1880, breaking the mark set last year by a full quarter degree, according to the latest climate update from NASA and NOAA.

Discussing the new temperature record in a telephone conference call, experts with the two agencies said 2016 could be hotter yet because of warmth stored in the oceans. There’s no sign at all that the long term global warming trend will slow down any time soon, said NASA researcher Gavin Schmidt. Continue reading “2015 sets global temperature record by a wide margin”