Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mara Kerr inspire ocean awareness with new book

In her new novel, "Oceanus," author Mara Kerr tells a story about love, life, and water with the hope that it will inspire readers' ocean awareness.

From Oceanusthebook

It begins with David’s remarkable journey and his unique love affair with a mermaid named Coral.
Together, they decide to raise Coral’s mermaid daughter, named Jasmine.
David must teach Jasmine all about the current state of our oceans and the precious marine life living in it.
David understands that without the improved health of the oceans, both Jasmine and Coral’s chances for survival are not good.

David and his friends—Noah, Joshua, and Pete—introduce Jasmine to many fascinating marine creatures and teach her ocean awareness by traveling from California to Hawaii and to Bora Bora.

On the way to Bora Bora, David and his sailing friends run into a life-threatening storm; making matters worse are the dangerous pirates that attempt to steal their boat.
Coral and Jasmine face their own troubles during a scary kidnapping that endangers all the mermaids’ lives.

The time is now for saving our oceans.
It is true that ocean awareness can be generated through the heart.
Real inspiration has the power to change.
Our planet is suffering, and our oceans are being savaged.
Oceanus shows us the magnificent healing power of love.

“Did you know that the plankton in the ocean produce 50% of the world’s oxygen?”
And, did you know the plankton absorb over 20% of the carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere?
Learn more about amazing plankton by reading “
The time is now to fall in love with the ocean, again & again & again…
When not busy writing,
Mara Kerr likes to produce movies as she did with "In the Wake of Giants," a humpback whale documentary awarded Best National Marine Sanctuary Short Film at the BLUE Ocean film festival.
Save our oceans with power of love…

Friday, May 6, 2011

Australia releases draft marine parks plan

A draft plan for marine parks off the coast of Western Australian has received a mixed response in the south west of the state
>>> geolocalization with the Marine GeoGarage <<<

From The West Australian

A proposed network of marine reserves covering 538,000 square kilometres of the Australia's south-west has been released by the Federal Government.

draft plan, unveiled by Environment Minister Tony Burke in Fremantle this morning, covers breeding and feeding grounds for sea lions, southern right whales and blue whales.

It also includes the
Perth Canyon, a deep sea canyon similar in size to the Grand Canyon that is popular with recreational fishers.

The proposed marine reserves only affect Commonwealth waters, which start 5.5km off the coast.

Mr Burke said there was a unique opportunity for the Government and community to protect the region's marine environment for future generations.

"Almost 90 per cent of the marine species in parts of the south-west are not found anywhere else in the world and a third of the world's whale and dolphin species are found in this region," he said.

"But the fact is that our marine environment is under long-term pressure from climate change and increasing industry activity."

Mr Burke said the Government had worked with the fishing industry, recreational fishing groups, environment groups and other users to develop the plan.

The draft plan will be subject to a three month public comment period before it is finalized.

Links :
  • SMH : Government releases draft marine parks plan
  • WAtoday : Vital gaps in new marine park plan: Greens

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New alarm on melting ice : 5-foot sea level spike

NASA : Artic sea ice concentration

From AFP

Warming in the Arctic occurring at twice the global average is on track to lift sea levels by up to 1.6 metres (5.3 feet) by 2100, a far steeper jump than predicted a few years ago, a consortium of scientists reported Tuesday.

Melting ice and snow has accounted for 40 percent of recent increases in ocean levels and are likely to play an even larger role in future, according to the Oslo-based Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Project (

"Global sea level is projected to rise 0.9 to 1.6 metres (3.0 to 5.3 feet) by 2100, and the loss from Arctic glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet will make a substantial contribution to this," AMAP said in a report.

Even the low end of this range would have devastating consequences for coastal cities and densely-populated, low-lying deltas in Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and many other countries, scientists have warned.

Higher seas would literally cover some small island nations, ruin vast expanses of land used to grow food, and boost the intensity of deadly hurricanes and other extreme weather events.
In early 2007, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (
IPCC) said the world's oceans would creep up 18 to 59 centimetres (7 to 23 inches) by century's end.
But the panel's landmark report did not include the potential impact of melting ice, especially from the massive Greenland Ice Sheet, which alone holds enough frozen water to push up sea levels by at least five metres (16 feet).

The new study shows that the past six years have been the warmest period ever recorded for the Arctic, and that summer temperatures were higher in the past few decades than at any time in the last 2,000 years.
"The changes that are emerging in the Arctic are very strong, dramatic even," said
Mark Serreze, director of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, and a contributor to the report.
"But this is not entirely a surprise. We have known for decades that, as climate change takes hold, it is the Arctic where you are going to see it first, and where it is going to be pronounced," he said by phone.

The report forecasts that the Arctic Ocean, within three or four decades, will likely become nearly ice free during the summer months.
Three of the last four years have seen polar sea ice shrinking to its smallest area since satellite images became available, with a record low in 2007 of 4.13 million square kilometres (1.56 million square miles).

The report also highlights new evidence that changes in Arctic snow and ice conditions may actually be accelerating the warming process.
"The fact that highly reflective snow and ice surfaces are diminishing means that darker land or ocean surfaces are absorbing more of the sun's energy, warming the Earth's surface and the air above," the researchers said.

Rather than being bounced back into space by white surfaces, in other words, the sun's heat is trapped inside the atmosphere.
The study identified eight of these so-called natural "feedback mechanisms" that have become both symptom and cause of climate change.
Rising average temperatures, for example, threaten to unlock long-frozen stores of carbon dioxide and methane -- at least 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2 -- from the region's permafrost.

"The amount of carbon that is locked up in permafrost is equivalent to what is in the atmosphere today," said Serreze. "The question is how much of it is going be released."
Drawing from the research of several hundred climate scientists and glaciologists, the report comes ahead of a May 12 meeting in Greenland of foreign ministers from Arctic Council nations: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
Founded in 1991, AMAP is now a working group of the Council.

Links :

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The most notorious terrorist meets a watery grave

Senior U.S. officials said Monday, May 2, 2011 that Osama bin Laden's body was put aboard the USS Carl Vinson
and then placed into the North Arabian Sea for burial

From GovtExecutive

Troops aboard the
USS Carl Vinson sent the washed and weighted body of Osama bin Laden to the bottom of the North Arabian Sea Monday, ending the nearly decade-long pursuit of America's most wanted enemy.

Bin Laden was buried at sea because no country would accept his remains, said a senior Defense Department official at a Pentagon press briefing.
"The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker," the official said.

Some news reports suggested U.S. officials wanted to deny bin Laden a traditional burial to prevent the site from becoming holy ground for followers who view him as a martyr.
A sea burial may not necessarily prevent that from happening.

By coincidence, the May-June issue of
Pathfinder magazine, the in-house publication of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, has an article on how the agency assists the Navy-Marine Corps Mortuary Affairs Office in recording sea burial locations on nautical charts, pinpointing location and time of burial.

In 1996 the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency began honoring this tradition by using NGA-distinctive talents: technology and data.
In partnership with the U.S. Navy, NGA provides a unique version of its hydrographic maps of the coastlines and oceans: burial at sea charts.

The charts mark the location of the deceased service member’s burial at sea and include information about the ship providing the service and the deceased’s service record.
The charts provide a one- of-a-kind memorial for families.

“Families have always praised the charts; many have them framed and placed on the wall with the deceased’s picture and the shadow box with the burial flag,” said Robert Culling- ford, Burial at Sea Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Va.

“The charts NGA provides are a great contribution to the Navy’s Burial at Sea program and assist the families with closure in their time of loss,” added Cullingford.
The charts are presented to the families of those who select burial at sea for their funeral arrangements and meet one of the following criteria:
  • Honorably discharged veterans;
  • U.S. civilian Marine personnel of Military Sea-lift Command;
  • or Citizens the Chief of Naval Operations determines eligible by virtue of notable service or other contributions
According to the Remote Replication Service analyst at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla., the Navy was introduced to RRS capabilities in 1996 when they first became available.

Capabilities included scanning, enhancing and reducing full-size hydrographic charts, as well as customization and printing.
Previously available technology required an hour to load and scan one large-format hydrographic chart on huge tangent drum scanners.
Adobe PhotoShop® software was used to enhance the product, and 3M Scotchprint® graphic software was used to reduce the size during printing on the old electro-static printers.
Analysts manually added information about the deceased, along with Navy and ship seals, after printing.

Today a library of digital hydrographic charts and ship seals from various vessels, as well as high-end geographic information workstations and plotters, have further streamlined the creation of these charts as compared to earlier practices.

Navy personnel perform the burial at sea ceremony during deployments.
The captain slows the ship to minimum speed at a select location, and the officer of the deck calls all hands to bury the deceased.
The flag is lowered to half-mast, and the crew stands at parade rest in preparation for the service.
The honor guard drapes the coffin with the American flag and carries it to a stand on deck.
The ceremony includes military and religious portions based on the deceased’s request.
After the ceremony, the firing party presents arms, and the burial party removes the flag from the coffin as it slides gently into the ocean.
For cremated remains, the burial party places an urn in the sea or scatters the ashes in the wind.
The firing party then fires three volleys, and the bugler plays taps.
The ceremony ends with the folding of the flag, and the ship resumes course.
The Navy informs family members of the time and location of the burial and provides photos of the ceremony.

NGA receives requests for Burial at Sea Charts for approximately 40-50 deceased personnel per month between the two RRS sites at Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk, Va., and Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii.
After receiving the burial coordinates from the ship’s commanding officer, RRS analysts in Norfolk and Honolulu note the location on the chart and mark it with a picture of the American flag or a red cross.
They add the time and date of the burial, the name of the deceased, his or her service and rank, and the Navy and ship seals in the margin of the chart.
The RSS analyst provides prints and mails up to three copies of the chart to the Naval Ministry Group for delivery to the families.

Susan Meisner, an agency spokeswoman, on Monday said she could not say at this time whether the system was used to record the location of bin Laden's burial.
She said the appearance of the Pathfinder article and the burial of bin Laden at sea was a coincidence.
"The article has been in the works for the past eight months," she said.

The magazine has other items of interest potentially relevant to the search for and death of the world's most notorious terrorist.
Federal investments in commercial technology have resulted in a suite of products to share geospatial intelligence that could have been used to locate the compound used by bin Laden in Pakistan, where he was killed in a Sunday raid by
Navy SEALs and CIA special operatives.

Letitia Long, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, wrote that the intelligence community's venture capital firm In-Q-Tel helped jump-start development of Keyhole software, which was acquired by Google and rebranded as Google Earth in 2004.

The magazine, published Monday, said that Google Earth has become the standard for portrayal of Web-based geospatial data for the intelligence community and the Defense Department.
Long said another In-Q-Tel investment that helps the agency in its missions is
Perspective Pixel, which helps view, analyze and annotate geospatially referenced datasets and integrate them with third-party applications, including Google Earth.
Long also said an In-Q-Tel investment in a company called
iMove has helped the agency, its analysts and customers with security and surveillance systems.

Links :
  • AP : Burial at sea is routine for US Navy
  • FT : 'Inhuman" burial at sea draws attack from Muslim experts
  • CSMonitor : Contreversy in death, seven questions about Osama bin Laden's burial at sea

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Remora ROV fishes out Air France black boxes

memory unit from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR)

From CNET & Reuters

An American-built remotely operated vehicle (ROV) has finally retrieved the black box of an Air France jet that crashed in the Atlantic in 2009, killing all 228 people aboard.

Remora 6000, built by Maryland-based Phoenix International, fished out the data recorder of Flight 447, an Airbus A330 that went down June 1, 2009 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
It may have flown through thunderstorms but investigators still don't know why it crashed.

Wreckage from the aircraft was first spotted in early April, and the plane was found at a depth of about 3,900 meters (12,800 feet).

Photos of the orange recorder produced by Honeywell International suggest the device is intact, but it's unclear whether data can be retrieved from it after such a long period on the seabed.

The 2,000-pound
Remora was launched from the cable-laying ship Ile de Sein, operated by Alcatel-Lucent and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs of France.
The 5-foot-long, 25-horsepower ROV can operate to a depth of 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) and has two
Hydro-Lek six-function manipulators to grapple objects; two cameras; and powerful lights to illuminate the depths. Its sensors include a laser gyro and scanning sonar.
The Remora has been used in the investigations of
Yemenia Flight IY626, Adam Air Flight 574 and Tuninter Airline Flight 1153.
It has also retrieved parts of an Israeli submarine, a Japanese rocket, and a U.S. Navy F14B Tomcat.

Search parties scouring the sea bed off Brazil's northeast coast have also recovered the
second of two flight recorders from the Air France aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009, investigators said on Tuesday.

The discovery of the
audio recorder, two days after the flight data recorder was fished up, brings investigators even closer to the cause of the crash as it should hold recordings of cockpit conversations during the flight's final moments.

"The investigation team localized and identified the Cockpit Voice Recorder at (10:50 p.m. BST) on Monday 2 May, 2011," France's BEA air accident inquiry office said. The device was hauled up to the team's ship at 3:40 a.m. BST on Tuesday.

A BEA spokeswoman said the black box would be shipped back to France, probably by the end of next week.

"The outside appears to be in relatively good shape," she said, adding that it would only be possible to see if the recorder was "usable" once it was opened, which would not happen until it was back in France.

A photograph of the recorder on BEA's website shows a bright orange cylindrical device that looks scuffed and battered but otherwise intact.
So-called black boxes are painted orange so that they can be spotted more easily in wreckage.

The Airbus 330-203 airliner plunged into the sea off Brazil en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro in June 2009 after hitting stormy weather, killing all 228 passengers and crew.

The discovery of the two flight recorders follows nearly two years of on-off search efforts over a 10,000 square kilometre area of seabed.

Theories about the cause of the disaster have focussed on the possible icing up of the aircraft's speed sensors, which seemed to give inconsistent readings before communication was lost.

Depending on how much data can be retrieved and how clearly it pinpoints the cause of the crash, lawyers say information from the black boxes could lead to a flood of liability claims.

Any fresh conclusions on the cause will also be fed into a judicial probe already under way in which Airbus and Air France have both been placed under formal investigation.

Links :
  • Marine GeoGarage blog : why is it so hard to find 447's black boxes

Monday, May 2, 2011

'Neglected' current could keep Europe warm

Sea surface temperature (SST) simulation from GFDL's high resolution coupled atmosphere-ocean model. (see
As the animation focuses on various locations of the world ocean we see the major current systems eg. the Agulhas current, Brazil current, Gulf Stream, Pacific Equatorial current, Kuroshio current. The small scale eddy structure is resolved and evident.

From BBC

Changes to a "neglected" ocean current near the southern tip of Africa could keep Europe warm even if the Gulf Stream switches off, scientists say.

Warm water in the
Agulhas Current flows from the Indian Ocean into the Atlantic where it brings changes further north.
Researchers say this could compensate if the main northwards flow of heat, carried by the
Gulf Stream, drops.

Writing in the journal
Nature, they say this effect has largely been overlooked as a factor affecting climate change.

The Agulhas Current flows southwards down the eastern coast of Africa.
When it reaches the continent's southern tip - Cape Agulhas - most of the water swings eastward and back into the Indian Ocean.

But some of it forms giant eddies and rings, up to 300km (200 miles) across and extending from the top of the ocean to the bottom, that go in the other direction - rounding the cape and flowing into the Atlantic.
This bit is known as the Agulhas Leakage.

Exactly how much water travels in this direction is not known, and is thought to vary markedly from year to year.
But this team of scientists - drawn from the US and Europe - say wind shifts further south make it likely that leakage is increasing.

"This prediction comes from a [computer] model - the leakage itself is very difficult to measure because it happens over a wide corridor of ocean and because of its eddying nature," said Lisa Beal from the
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Miami, US.
She told BBC News that research on the current had been sparse mainly because it is remote from Western research centres, making studies expensive and difficult.

Salty whirls

Once in the Atlantic, the warm and salty Agulhas water acts to strengthen the main current system, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (

Part of this circulation is the Gulf Stream, which brings hot water northwards, keeping parts of Western Europe and eastern North America several degrees Celsius warmer than they would otherwise be.

Thanks largely to the 2004 movie
The Day After Tomorrow, the possibility that this would "switch off" in a warmer world is one of the best-known potential climate change impacts, even though there is a lot of uncertainty about whether it will happen.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (
IPCC) said in its landmark 2007 report: "Most [computer] models suggest increased greenhouse gas concentrations will lead to a weakening of the [A]MOC, which will act to reduce the warming in Europe".

But the scientists behind the Nature article say an increase in Agulhas Leakage could compensate.
"This could mean that current IPCC model predictions for the next century are wrong and there will be no cooling in the North Atlantic to partially offset the effects of global climate change over North America and Europe," said Dr Beal.
"Instead, increasing Agulhas Leakage could stabilize the oceanic heat transport carried by the Atlantic overturning circulation."

Unsteady eddies

Analysis of sediments shows the Agulhas Leakage has varied hugely in the past, notably at transitions between Ice Ages and the warm periods in between.

Its modern behavior is being studied by satellites and by instruments in the sea; but still, the record is short and much clearly remains to be discovered.

Further north in the Atlantic, UK scientists said last year that the amount of water being carried in the AMOC varies, naturally, by almost a factor of 10; so discerning a long-term trend becomes very difficult.

Autonomous underwater gliders are among the tools gathering data on Atlantic currents
The same appears to be true with the Agulhas circulation.

"The main thing this shows to me is how complicated the region is; it's a very complex situation," said
Harry Bryden from the UK's National Oceanography Centre in Southampton.

"How to find out how much of this water goes into the South Atlantic and stays there is the critical question - and as a research scientist, I'm not sure how you would go about it."

Professor Bryden is part of a
UK-US project deploying measuring equipment in the northern Atlantic in a bid to understand AMOC behaviour and variability.

Last year, Lisa Beal's group put an array into the Agulhas Current that may provide some answers.

If better measurements are one aim of scientists in the field, better computer models are another, with existing global models not able to replicate the circular eddies typical of the Agulhas system.

In the long term, putting all of this together should lead to much better understanding of how the AMOC behaves - in particular, whether it can shut down stably for long periods, and what that would mean for Europe.

"If you think about evaporation over the Atlantic, the ocean is clearly losing water, so the circulation system brings new water in to balance that," said
Richard Wood, a climate scientist from the UK Met Office who studies ocean currents.

"There are two pathways - warm, salty water from the Indian Ocean and colder, fresher water from the
Drake Passage [between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica].

"And there's pretty strong evidence that the balance between those pathways indicates whether or not the Gulf Stream is safe".

Links :
  • NOAA : New NOAA buoy to help close gap in climate understanding South of Africa
  • NSF : Threading the climate needle, the Agulhas current system
  • NASA : Agulhas Current, South Africa

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gone fishing on the 1st of May

Watch them as they follow your mouse hoping you will feed them
by clicking the surface of the water.
Feed the fishs by clicking and dropping some food.
Turn them into "Fishes Gone Wild" by clicking a lot.
Copyright : Adam Bowman