What is the most venomous marine animal?

They may not look dangerous, but the sting from a box jellyfish could be enough to send you to Davy Jones’s locker-a watery grave, that is. Box jellyfish, named for their body shape, have tentacles covered in biological booby traps known as nematocysts – tiny darts loaded with poison. People and animals unfortunate enough to be injected with this poison may experience paralysis, cardiac arrest, and even death, all within a few minutes of being stung. But don’t choose the mountains over the ocean just yet. Of the 50 or…

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A Year Locked in Ice

September 20, 2019 – The most ambitious research expedition ever to target the central Arctic got underway as the German icebreaker RV Polarstern pulled out of Tromso on September 20, destined for an ice floe where it will serve as a drifting base for hundreds of scientists during the next 13 months. More than 10 years after CIRES scientist Matthew Shupe conceived of the idea, the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) has become a $150 million voyage of discovery led by the Alfred Wegener Institute,…

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Partnerships Promote Better Understanding of the North Atlantic as a Whole

by Dr. Martha Nizinski, NOAA Fisheries National Systematics Laboratory We often hear the statement that “it takes a village” to describe accomplishments that may not have been realized without a little help from our friends. So too is the case for scientific exploration and discovery. No matter the ocean, country, or province, many of the fundamental questions asked by the worldwide network of marine scientists are similar. Collaborations and partnerships allow us to move forward more quickly to address our goals. All benefit when the community of stakeholders agree to…

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NOAA increases chance for above-normal hurricane season

August 8, 2019 – NOAA forecasters monitoring oceanic and atmospheric patterns say conditions are now more favorable for above-normal hurricane activity since El Nino has now ended. Two named storms have formed so far this year and the peak months of the hurricane season, August through October, are now underway. “NOAA will continue to deliver the information that the public depends on before, during and after any storms throughout the hurricane season,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “Armed with our next-generation satellites, sophisticated weather models, hurricane hunter aircraft,…

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Watch live: NOAA expedition to unexplored waters off U.S. Southeast coast

June 20, 2019 – Curious about what lies and lives deep beneath the surface of the ocean? Now’s your chance to see it with your own eyes. From June 21-July 11, tune into NOAA’s live video broadcasts of dives to depths as deep as two miles (3,200 meters) as part of an expedition off the southeastern coast of the United States. After collecting high-resolution mapping data of the seafloor and water column, we’ll use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) deployed from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to explore deep-sea coral and sponge habitats, potential shipwrecks, submarine canyons and…

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Peeking Inside the Anatomy of a Derelict Vessel

By Doug Helton The waterways and coastlines of the U.S. are a national resource, providing critical habitat, supporting jobs and providing views and recreation, but they are also a dumping ground for sunken, abandoned, and derelict vessels. Abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) are a problem in most ports and waterways. Some are dilapidated but still afloat, and others are left stranded on shorelines or hidden just below the surface of the water. Most derelict and abandoned vessels are the result of chronic processes — rot and rust and deterioration from…

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Vessels and Corals: A Tale in American Samoa

By Robin Garcia In December 1991, Tropical Cyclone Val struck American Samoa. It was the worst cyclone to impact the Samoan Islands since the Apia cyclone of 1889. Among the devastation caused, nine fishing vessels were grounded on the coral reef in Pago Pago Harbor on Tutuila Island, the largest and most populated island in American Samoa. About 1,500 gallons of oil was released into the harbor during the grounding incident. The U.S. Coast Guard in Hawaii responded to the incident and performed an initial cleanup of the vessels. The…

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The North American Satellite Tracking of Pollution (NASTOP) Program

On May 2, 2018, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its counterpart in the north, Environment and Climate Change Canada, worked together to create the North American Satellite Tracking of Pollution (NASTOP) Program to bolster our shared capacity to respond to marine pollution events. Much like NOAA, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) works to preserve and enhance the natural environment — including water. Canada and the U.S. share two major coastlines and the Great Lakes. During a spill response, it’s important to have an understanding of the needs…

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U.S. moved closer to being drought-free in April

May 8, 2019 – April showers indeed brought May flowers as well as sizeable drought relief for the United States, with a near-record low of 2% coverage for the country. April 2019 was also, however, a climatological mixed bag: A major, late-season blizzard hit the northern Plains, while unusual warmth was felt in Alaska and across the Mid-Atlantic. Here’s a snapshot of highlights from NOAA’s latest monthly climate report: Climate by the numbers April 2019 The average temperature during April across the contiguous U.S. was 52.9 degrees F (1.8 degrees above average),…

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NOAA satellites helped rescue 340 people in 2018

February 14, 2019 – The pilot of the rowboat Alba had a noble goal – to raise awareness and funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health. And he was going to row 3,400 nautical miles, from Norfolk, Va., to his home in Scotland, to do it. But on June 15, 2018, when he faced life-threatening danger as his boat began to take on water off Nantucket, Massachusetts, he did the right thing. He set off his Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, called an EPIRB, and a NOAA satellite picked…

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How the Ghosts of Shipwrecks Past Continue to Haunt U.S. Waters

By Ellen Ramirez October 31, 2018 – Deep under the surface of U.S. waters, lying in wait to strike, is an environmental threat the size of an army. This army — while deadly and toxic in its own right — is not made up of soldiers and weapons, but rather of vessels from long ago, now derelict and forgotten. Scattered throughout coastal waters and left silent and still in the places where they fell, these derelict vessels are relics of wars, battles, disasters, and other shipwrecks from the past. Aged…

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Top Five Weird Ocean Phenomena

The ocean may conjure images of beautiful waves, shipwrecks, and marine life. But strange thingshappen in the ocean as a result of weather and currents. The five events described below are just a few of them. 1. St. Elmo’s Fire St. Elmo’s Fire is a colorful discharge of atmospheric electricity that typically occurs during a thunderstorm. When a sharp object (such as a ship’s mast) comes in contact with an extraordinarily high electrical field and a large number of electrons, the electrons can glow in various colors, like a neon sign, resulting in this…

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NOAA Awards Teledyne Webb Research $7 Million IDIQ Contract

October 4, 2018 – Teledyne Webb Research, a division of Teledyne Technologies and a leading provider of neutrally buoyant, autonomous drifters and profilers, autonomous underwater gliding vehicles, and moored underwater sound sources, has received an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the provision of Slocum gliders, sensors, and service components. The award has a maximum value of $7,000,000 USD over five years, with an initial procurement in excess of $600,000 USD. The U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR) Program of the NOAA…

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Oceaneering International Commenced NOAA Survey Operation

September 27, 2018 — Oceaneering International today announced that it has commenced a survey project for the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support updates to navigational charts and research in marine habitats and fisheries in the Tampa Bay area offshore Florida. Under the terms of the project, which is currently underway, Oceaneering is expected to complete the acquisition of approximately 650 nautical miles of survey data by mid-December 2018. Roderick A. Larson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Oceaneering, said, “We are honored to continue our…

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Stern of World War II U.S. destroyer discovered off remote Alaskan island

August 15, 2018 – For almost 75 years, the stern of the destroyer USS Abner Read lay somewhere below the dark surface of the Bering Sea off the Aleutian island of Kiska, where it sank after being torn off by an explosion while conducting an anti-submarine patrol. Seventy-one U.S. Navy Sailors were lost in the aftermath of the blast, during a brutal and largely overlooked early campaign of World War II. Heroic action by the crew saved the ship, but for the families of the doomed Sailors, the final resting…

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