Breaking Waves: Ocean News

06/11/2018 - 14:20
Ocean Leadership ~ From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What it was The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing titled “A Decade of the Digital Coast Partnership Program: Successes and Opportunities.” Why it matters From planning infrastructure to making evacuation recommendations during a hurricane, the nearly 40 percent of Americans who live on the nation’s coasts need access to reliable information and tools to address the needs of their communities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Digital Coast compiles and curates information from hundreds of private organizations, academic institutions, and government agencies to make robust data on the nation’s coasts readily accessible in a timely manner. Coastal communities frequently use these data to make wise, cost-effective, and even life-saving coastal management decisions. Key points Senators and witnesses alike hailed the successes of NOAA’s Digital Coast. Subcommittee Chairman Dan Sullivan (AK) and Ranking Member Tammy Baldwin (WI) both cheered the program’s collaboration with stakeholders in the private sector, academia, and government entities to build the platform into a tool for better coastal management at every level. Among the main successes is the project’s impressive return on investment, which is expected to exceed 400 percent over the next 15 years of continued operation. Mr. Paul Barnes (Geographic and Information Services Director; Harrison County, Mississippi) testified on behalf of the National Association of Counties on the benefits of Digital Coast for counties across the country. He pointed out one of the main strengths of the partnership is it provides accessibility to communities who lack the resources to gather these data themselves. Mr. Barnes shared how he and other county planners use the platform when siting new public infrastructure projects to ensure their long-term safety and viability, particularly in advance of coastal changes. Communities also use the Digital Coast in emergency situations by using visualization tools to make decisions on evacuations and safety. Mr. Tyson Fettes (Register of Deeds; Racine County, Wisconsin) explained how its flood level data improved real-time disaster response during record flooding in Racine County in 2017. Senators and witnesses agreed leveraging the power of partnerships through Digital Coast saves tax dollars, improves safety, and contributes to vibrant coastal economies in both the short- and long-term. Quotable “Beyond just a database, Digital Coast also provides tools for coastal communities to decipher and use the high-tech mapping data to make accurate decisions and smart investments in their communities.” — Chairman Dan Sullivan (AK) “This tiny Digital Coast program, funded at $1.7 million in fiscal year 2017, has been leveraged to save countless taxpayer dollars that would otherwise be spent duplicating effort or wasting time and money to find this data elsewhere.” — Ranking Member Tammy Baldwin (WI) “Digital Coast provides a high return on investment, is a leading public-private partnership, and supports economic development. In short, Digital Coast is government done right.”— Ms. Nicole LeBoeuf, Deputy Assistant Administrator, NOAA Next Steps Last year, Ranking Member Baldwin introduced the Digital Coast Act (S.110) to formally authorize and expand the project. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent just months after being introduced but still awaits action in the House. The House must pass S.110 by January 3, 2019 — the end of the 115th Congress — for it to be signed into law. Find Out More Watch the full hearing Visit the NOAA Digital Coast website Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership Senate Commerce Committee Hits The Ground Running New Congress Means New Legislation Maritime Enhancement and Digital Coastal Monitoring NOAA’s New Lake Level Viewer Aids Great Lakes Community Planning Federal Agencies Remapping Coastal Areas Damaged by Hurricane Sandy Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post NOAA Digital Coast: Panel Praises The Power Of Partnerships appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
06/11/2018 - 13:39
Singer apologises for firing ticker-tape cannon at gig after outcry from environmentalists Gary Barlow has promised not to use confetti cannons after being criticised by environmental campaigners for firing the tiny pieces of plastic during a concert at the Eden Project. The environmental attraction in Cornwall is running a campaign against single-use plastics and has banned the sale of plastic water bottles and similar items in its shops. But the singer-songwriter went off-message during his appearance on 6 June, when the crowd was showered with ticker tape. Continue reading...
06/11/2018 - 13:00
New Australia Institute paper finds neither Coalition nor Labor’s pollution reduction targets would see us doing our fair share Pollution reduction targets for 2030 proposed by the Coalition and Labor will not see Australia contributing its fair share to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate agreement, according to new research. A paper from the progressive thinktank the Australia Institute finds the Turnbull government’s target of a 26-28% reduction on 2005 levels is “inadequate according to any recognised principle-based approach” and the Labor target of a 45% reduction is “the bare minimum necessary for Australia to be considered to be making an equitable contribution to the achievement of the Paris agreement’s two degree target”. Continue reading...
06/11/2018 - 09:25
Champion of wildlife conservation in towns and cities George Barker, who has died aged 77, was a champion of wildlife conservation in towns and cities. During his long service in the government wildlife service, the Nature Conservancy Council (NCC), and its successor bodies, he became the acknowledged expert on urban nature conservation, a field that had been largely neglected. His openness to new ideas, unusual in a public servant, and gentle advocacy over four decades, helped to make a success of urban wildlife conservation both at home and abroad. Acting almost alone at first, Barker set about destroying the myth of the “urban wildlife desert”. Long before ecosystem services became a crucial part of urban planning and design, Barker realised that city landscapes can be surprisingly rich in wildlife, especially in post-industrial “brownfield” sites such as quarries and spoil-heaps. These places were seen as derelict land and were completely unprotected. Barker also understood that urban parks and even gardens can become reservoirs for wildlife if managed in the right way. Continue reading...
06/11/2018 - 08:38
Ocean Leadership ~ The Ocean Plastics Lab, currently on the National Mall in Washington, D. C., illustrates the pollution threat and points to solutions. (From EOS.org/ By Randy Showstack) — Plastic seems to be everywhere in the oceans, from urban harbors to remote beaches, from the middle of the oceans to the depths of the seas. It endangers marine creatures that ingest plastic or get entangled in it, harms coral reefs, and potentially presents a hazard to human health as microplastics move up the food chain. Testifying to the ubiquitousness of plastic, scientists in April reported on the finding of a plastic bag nearly 11,000 meters beneath the surface of the ocean in the Mariana Trench. Earlier this week, an autopsy of a pilot whale in Thailand revealed 80 plastic bags in its stomach among other plastic items. And right now, a long-distance swimmer, Ben Lecomte, is on his way from Japan to San Francisco, aiming to swim through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to bring attention to it. An international traveling exhibit now in Washington, D. C., also is calling attention to plastics pollution in the oceans and what can be done about it. The Ocean Plastics Lab, which is on the National Mall from 4 to 17 June and open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily, graphically presents the problem by leading visitors through different sections of the exhibit to see the waste, detect its impacts, and examine potential solutions. Several walls in the science-based exhibit, for instance, are covered with debris representing the mess of plastic already in the oceans and the estimated 4.8–12.7 billion kilograms more entering the oceans annually. Elsewhere in the interactive display, visitors can scan bar codes to see how long different types of plastic last, find out what kinds of plastics float or sink, and learn about research into plastics and solutions to the problem. Addressing the Issue as a “Matter of Urgency” Experts estimate that an average of 8.7 billion kilograms of plastic gets deposited into the oceans every year. In other words, “about 35 shipping containers of plastic end up in the sea every hour, and the plastic which for so long seemed to just disappear is reappearing in all sorts of places,” said Boris Ruge, minister and deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Germany, Washington, D. C., during the exhibit’s opening ceremony on 4 June. The exhibit is an initiative of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the German Marine Research Consortium, and the European Commission and has more than 60 partners from around the world, including the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA. “We must address this issue as a matter of urgency, and science can play a decisive role in strengthening public awareness. This is exactly what the Ocean Plastics Lab is intended to do,” Ruge said of the exhibit, which already has been to Belgium, France, and Italy. Important Personally and Professionally Attendees at the ceremony included Tim Gallaudet, acting administrator of NOAA. Gallaudet, a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, told Eos that he is personally and professionally concerned about the issue. “I’ve been to plenty of beaches and areas of the ocean that are just deplorable, not in their natural state and quite polluted,” Gallaudet said. “Personally, it’s something I think is important to fix and remedy.” Gallaudet highlighted NOAA’s efforts on the issue, including the agency spending more than $17 million over the past decade to remove 6,500 metric tons of marine debris from U.S. ocean and coastal areas. “At NOAA, we’re trying to champion the blue economy: It’s our fisheries, it’s recreation and tourism within our [marine] sanctuaries, it’s … Read the full article here: https://eos.org/articles/roving-exhibit-highlights-ocean-plastics-problem The post Roving Exhibit Highlights Ocean Plastics Problem appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
06/11/2018 - 08:17
Supermarket says South African lemons are mature but need longer to turn yellow Tesco has started selling green lemons after relaxing its quality specifications in an attempt to avoid shortages in its UK stores and reduce food waste. Although the skins are slightly green, the fruit is as zesty and robust as lemons that have turned completely yellow, while the flesh inside is ripe and edible. Continue reading...
06/11/2018 - 07:58
Ocean Leadership ~ Dr. John Lehrter recently wrapped up research expedition number two of 2018. Both delivering different samples to analyze, but all in a quest to answer the larger question. How does the ocean work? (From Dauphin Island Sea Lab) — “It’s like being invited to another lab,” Dr. Lehrter said. “ There’s a great deal of collaboration, and a lot of these big questions require teams of people with different areas of expertise.” Dr. Lehrter’s April to May cruise, sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory, included the Dauphin Island Sea Lab/University of South Alabama, the University of Delaware, Florida International University, and Florida Atlantic University. His January cruise also included four universities on board: the University of Delaware, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Consortium, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab/University of South Alabama. “We are all using one basic water sample,” Dr. Lehrter’s lab member Mai Fung said. “But that sample can be used in so many ways by different researchers to understand interactions between biology, chemistry, and physics.” Each expedition provided a chance to study different areas by Dr. Lehrter and his team, Mai Fung (Ph.D. Student) and Alex Hagemeyer (M.S. Student). In January, the DISL/USA group looked at ocean acidification and hypoxia and understanding how biology affects geochemistry in the coastal environment. This expedition was the fifth in a series. A sixth similar expedition is scheduled for the fall. Ocean acidification occurs as the pH level drops (hydrogen ion increases) within the ocean. The Mississippi River affects this process as it dumps nitrogen and phosphorus along the Louisiana Shelf. The team measures the primary production and respiration of the Louisiana shelf, which are stimulated by nitrogen and phosphorus, by incubating water samples from throughout the water column for 24 hours. The net result of  the production and respiration processes contributes to coastal ocean acidification in combination with the global uptake of carbon dioxide that is driving open ocean acidification. The team also looked at sediment samples from a few stations to measure fluxes of carbon dioxide, pH, and oxygen. By looking at the flux, the team can determine what is coming out of the sediment and into the water column. Dr. Lehrter said similar processes are happening in other coastal regions. By understanding primary production, respiration, ocean acidification, and hypoxia within the coastal region, the results may be applied globally to… Read the full article here: https://skimmer.disl.org/expeditions-put-marine-scientists-into-the-beaker-of-possible-answers/ The post Member Highlight: Research Expeditions: Bringing Scientists Together appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
06/11/2018 - 05:44
European commission’s inaction is putting people’s health at risk, law firm says People’s health is being put at risk by Brussels’ slow response to the use of dangerous chemicals, according to a report. A study by ClientEarth, an environmental law organisation, found that in nine out of 10 cases the European commission’s decision to ban a toxic chemical after it had been identified was “excessively delayed”, sometimes for up to four years. Continue reading...
06/11/2018 - 05:00
The WSJ disguises climate misinformation as “opinion” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Opinion page has long had a conservative skew, and unfortunately that has extended to politicizing climate change with biased and factually inaccurate editorials. Over the past several weeks, the WSJ’s attacks on climate science have gone into overdrive. On May 15th, the Opinion page published a self-contradictory editorial from the lifelong contrarian and fossil fuel-funded Fred Singer that so badly rejected basic physics, it prompted one researcher to remark, “If this were an essay in one of my undergraduate classes, he would fail.” Continue reading...
06/11/2018 - 01:00
Don’t think bringing children along for the ride means you have to miss out on one of cycling’s true pleasures. You just need to do a bit of extra planning One of the great joys of riding a bike is touring – pedalling from place to place, without a fixed timetable, ideally with camping gear and everything else you need strapped to your bike. So that poses a question: can you do it with children? The answer is a qualified yes – qualified in the sense you just need to do a bit more planning. We recently tried out a first brief family cycling tour with our son, now seven, and learned a lot in the few days of cycling through the Surrey and West Sussex countryside. Continue reading...