NOAA Names Shepard Smith as Director of Coast Survey

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Following his selection by the Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and approval by President Barack Obama, Shepard Smith was promoted from captain to rear admiral (lower half) and named director of the NOAA Office of Coast Survey during a change of command ceremony on August 26. As the nation's chief hydrographer, Smith will oversee NOAA's charts and hydrographic surveys, ushering in the next generation of navigational products and services for mariners who need integrated delivery of coastal intelligence data.

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NOAA Engineers a More Reliable, Cost Efficient Current Sensor for Mariners

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Navigating into seaports is now safer and more efficient for mariners thanks to improved NOAA technology that ships rely on to give them information about currents. The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) developed a more reliable, cost-saving version of a current sensor system that can now be placed at more remote locations along navigation channels.

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Why do scientists measure sea surface temperature?

This item was filled under Basics, Economy, Facts, Ocean Observations, Ocean Science


Sea surface temperature provides fundamental information on the global climate system. Because the ocean covers 71 percent of Earth's surface, scientists record sea surface temperature (SST) to understand how the ocean communicates with Earth's atmosphere. SST provides fundamental information on the global climate system. SST is an essential parameter in weather prediction and atmospheric model simulations, and is also important for the study of marine ecosystems.

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NOAA Collects Aerial Imagery in Aftermath of Severe Storms and Flooding in Louisiana

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On August 14, NOS's National Geodetic Survey (NGS) began collecting damage assessment imagery in the aftermath of the Aug. 2016 severe storms that caused significant flooding in Louisiana. Aerial imagery is being collected in specific areas identified by FEMA and the National Weather Service. View before and after images of affected areas.

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Filleting the Lion

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The lionfish, a native of the Western Pacific Ocean, is a venomous, voracious predator that’s flourishing in coastal waters of the U.S. Southeast and the Caribbean. This invasive species has the potential to harm reef ecosystems because it is a top predator that competes for food and space with overfished native stocks such as snapper and grouper. Scientists fear that lionfish will also kill off helpful species such as algae-eating parrotfish, allowing seaweed to overtake the reefs.

Fortunately for our coral reefs, the flashy lionfish has caught the attention of the hungriest predators of all: people! Once stripped of its venomous spines, cleaned, and filleted like any other fish, the lionfish becomes delectable seafood fare. NOAA scientists researching the lionfish’s spread and impact are now encouraging a seafood market as one way to mitigate the species’ impacts on reef communities.

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Least Terns Find a New Home

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Volunteers from NOAA, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Audubon, and others transformed part of an old Navy dock into an unlikely nesting hotspot for the least tern. As of August 7, 2016, least terns have created seven nests (and hatched eleven chicks!) on the pier behind NOAA's Office for Coastal Management.

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NOAA helps save nearly 100 wetland acres for Michigan restoration

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The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water, making habitat restoration critically important for severely degraded industrial areas near their shores. In Michigan, NOAA has moved that goal forward by supporting the recent purchase of 98.8 wetland acres near Muskegon Lake, which feeds directly into Lake Michigan.

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What is marine telemetry?

This item was filled under Ecosystems, Facts, Ocean Life, Ocean Science


Marine telemetry interprets into data the movements and behavior of animals as they move through oceans, coastal rivers, estuaries, and the Great Lakes. Telemetry devices, called tags, are affixed to a wide range of marine species, from tiny salmon smolts to giant 150-ton whales. Tags are attached to the outside of an animal with clips, straps, or glue, and are sometimes surgically inserted in an animal's body.

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Get to Know Your National Marine Sanctuaries

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National marine sanctuaries are special areas that protect important marine ecosystems around the nation. Some sanctuaries are breeding and feeding grounds for endangered whales, others contain thriving coral reefs or kelp forests, and many are home to historic shipwrecks and other archaeological treasures. NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries manages a national network of such places, encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of U.S. ocean and Great Lakes waters. The goal of the sanctuary system is to protect important natural and cultural places, while still allowing people to enjoy and use the ocean. In total, NOAA manages thirteen national marine sanctuaries and co-manages two marine national monuments.

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What are the doldrums?



Known to sailors around the world as the doldrums, the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, (ITCZ, pronounced and sometimes referred to as the “itch”), is a belt around the Earth extending approximately five degrees north and south of the equator. Here, the prevailing trade winds of the northern hemisphere blow to the southwest and collide with the southern hemisphere’s driving northeast trade winds.

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