Saturday, June 13, 2015

Meanwhile in Guadalupe Island Mexico... Largest great white shark ever videotaped underwater?

From Grindtv

Mexico’s Guadalupe Island is seasonal home to dozens of adult great white sharks, but as far as anyone knows, none is as large as a monstrous female nicknamed Deep Blue.

The massive predator, measuring 20-plus feet and boasting the girth of a fat hippo, was featured last year by the Discovery network, which aired part of a tagging effort that involved local researcher Mauricio Hoyos Padilla.

The shark, perhaps 50 years old, was said to be one of the largest white sharks ever tagged and videotaped, and on Tuesday Hoyos posted newly released footage of the same shark on Facebook, under the title, “I give you the biggest white shark ever seen in front of the cages in Guadalupe Island… DEEP BLUE!!!”

 Guadalupe island with the GeoGarage

The footage reveals how small the divers in the cage appear to be, compared to the seemingly pregnant shark, which can be seen investigating objects around and attached to the cage, but ignoring the divers in a roof-less submerged steel cage.

Hoyos, reached Tuesday via email, said he discovered the 50-second clip this week in his computer. He could not remember who was behind the camera, only that the footage was obtained about the same time as when the Discovery crew was on site, in the fall of 2013.

That’s prime time for shark sightings at Guadalupe, which is located 165 miles west of Ensenada, in Baja California.

Divers and shark enthusiasts travel from all over the world to view white sharks in the gin-clear water beyond the island, which boasts an elephant seal colony, which is attractive to the sharks.

The clip was viewed more than 800,000 times and shared more than 16,000 times in the first 20 hours since it was posted on Hoyos’ Facebook page.
Comments, mostly in Spanish, contained terms such as amazing, wow, and beautiful.

After all, who wouldn’t want to check out one of the largest white sharks ever videotaped, and the largest ever to grace curious cage divers at picturesque Guadalupe Island?

Links :

Friday, June 12, 2015

NZ Linz update in the GeoGarage platform

Smartboard turns any surfer into an amateur ocean conservationist

Below the surface, the ocean offers researchers a wealth of information on climate change.

From Wired by Issie Lapowsky

Benjamin Thompson is a surfer.
You would know it even if I hadn’t told you, and even if you hadn’t seen the photo of Thompson where he’s barefoot on the sidewalk, holding a surfboard. 
You’d know it because he says stuff like this: “Most technology is pretty rad, like it does this cool thing to make my life easier, but at the end of the day, we’re just growing more and more disconnected from nature and our birthright as engaged humans and animals in our environment.”

So, yes, Thompson is a surfer, but what’s equally important to know is that he’s also an engineer.
And now, Thompson is using this rare combination of skills to build a new product that could radically expand our understanding of the world’s oceans.

It’s called Smart Phin, and it’s the product of a partnership between Thompson’s consulting startup, Board Formula, and a small environmental non-profit called the Lost Bird Project.
Smart Phin is a surfboard fin equipped with a special sensor that not only tracks a surfer’s location, but also measures the temperature, salinity, and acidity of the water to give researchers insight on the impact of climate change over time.

 Watch University of California, San Diego mechanical engineering undergraduates give a tour of the surfboard they outfitted with a computer and sensors -- one step toward structural engineering Ph.D. student Benjamin Thompson's quest to develop the science of surfboards (2010)

Thompson has been developing the fin for about two years, and it’s still very much in the testing phase, but this fall, he got a major vote of confidence from the industry when he was selected as one of 18 teams competing for the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.
Now, Thompson must prove that the device can withstand the harshest—or dare we say gnarliest—waves the world’s oceans have to offer and still deliver accurate results.
If it works, Board Formula could help turn surfers around the globe into a fleet of citizen scientists, crowdsourcing information on what is, perhaps, Earth’s most opaque natural resource.

In a world that grows more “Big Data”-obsessed by the day, the amount of information we have on the world’s oceans remains curiously small.
In fact, according to the National Ocean Service, less than 5 percent of the world’s oceans have been explored.
There’s good reason for that.
“You put anything in the ocean, and it gets pounded to death, critters grow on them, the temperature changes, and ions corode the metal,” says Paul Bunje, senior director of oceans at the XPRIZE Foundation.
“Stick something in the ocean, and it wants to get destroyed very quickly.”

It’s particularly tough to collect information near the shore, where waves are crashing.
An innovation like Smart Phin could change that.
“Surfers are going in the water everyday. They’re in the most critical, hostile zone, and they’re doing it willingly, and they’re doing it for free,” Thompson says.
“We’re chopping of a whole section of the cost of research, and that could be a real paradigm shift in the way data is collected.”

Thompson didn’t set out with this mission when he first founded Board Formula back in 2010. Initially, he was simply trying to convince the surfing industry that their boards could be greatly enhanced by a little engineering.
But no one was buying it.
What Thompson needed, he realized, was proof.
So he started designing a sensor that would monitor how surfboards change shape in water.
“The intention was to collect as much information as possible on surfboards, so I’d be able to say: ‘See? You should pay me to engineer things,'” Thompson says.

 A close-up of the smart chip

Instead, this novel sensor caught the attention of Andy Stern, executive director of the Lost Bird Project.
Stern is all too familiar with the challenges of tracking the changing oceans, particularly near the shore, where waves are always crashing.
“I thought: ‘We could be sticking these fins on boards all over the world,'” Stern says.

Since then, Lost Bird Project has been the sole backer of the Smart Phin, and will have distribution rights once the product is complete.
But it could take some time to get to a commercial product.
In addition to the rigorous testing being done through the XPRIZE Foundation, the sensor is also being vetted by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD.

Once it’s complete, Thompson says the plan is to sell the fins in stores, but open source the data so that other developers can build their own consumer apps on top of it.
Thompson, for one, is pretty “stoked” about the possibilities.
“Ultimately, it comes down to making surfers stakeholders, making them part of the process,” he explains.
“We’re saying: ‘Here’s the information. You’re part of collecting it, and you have the capacity to make a difference in people’s relationship to the ocean.'”

Links :
  • Good Mag :  Smartboard Turns Any Surfer Into an Amateur Ocean Conservationist
  • Outside : This Smart, Data-Collecting, Wave-Predicting Surfboard Will Save Our Oceans
  • Wired : One surf scientist's quest for a better wave of boards

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Team led by Marine Institure mapping Atlantic sea bed

 Nearly three quarters of the earth's surface is covered by ocean, but just one tenth of it is mapped

From RTE by Will Goodbod

A team of international scientists, led by the Marine Institute, has completed a transatlantic sea bed mapping exercise, which has revealed previously uncharted seabed features including mountains and ridges taller than Carrauntoohil.
The project is one of the first to be carried out by the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, set up two years ago, on foot of the signing of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation.
It aims to use the marine research resources of Europe, Canada and the US to better understand the North Atlantic Ocean and promote sustainable management of its resources, particularly in the face of climate change.

Ocean life provides half of the world's oxygen and there is rising concern about the impact that sea warming and acidification will have on the marine ecosystem.
The Marine Institute vessel, the MV Celtic Explorer, departed Newfoundland in Canada bound for Galway on 1 June.
During the seven-day crossing it deployed its recently fitted multi-beam sonar, which is capable of mapping the seabed to a width of six times the water's depth.

Image of a 3D animation of a 3.7km high underwater mountain, which is more than 140km long, on the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Photograph: Marine Institute

Among the features uncovered by the team of scientists on board was a 235 square kilometre area of seabed that had been scarred by icebergs.
They also found ancient glacial moraines and buried channels of sediment on the Newfoundland and Labrador shelf.
The survey also uncovered a 15km long down-slope channel, most likely formed by melt water coming from a grounded ice cap during the ice age 20,000 years ago.
The team of international researchers were surprised to discover a 140km long asymmetric ridge, which peaked at 1,108m high, taller than Ireland's highest mountain, Carrauntoohil.
They also charted in 3D a 3.7km high underwater mountain on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone.
An area of cold water coral and sponges was also imaged, as well as the OSPAR designated Marine Protected Area.
The area where the first transatlantic telecoms cable, which was laid in 1857, was also targeted.
The project will now move on to map other areas of the Atlantic, with vessels from the US and Norway due to assist over the coming years.

peaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier, Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, said every time we breathe, one half of the oxygen we consume has been produced by microscopic plants in the ocean and if we want to help this life support system and address the risk of acidification from climate change, then we must map, observe and generate a fit for purpose ability to predict change that are occurring here.
He said this expedition is an incredibly important first start in this process.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Canada CHS update in the GeoGarage platform

53 nautical charts have been updated (June 2th, 2015)

NASA releases detailed global climate change projections

The new NASA global data set combines historical measurements with data from climate simulations using the best available computer models to provide forecasts of how global temperature (shown here) and precipitation might change up to 2100 under different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.

NASA has released data showing how temperature and rainfall patterns worldwide may change through the year 2100 because of growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.
The dataset, which is available to the public, shows projected changes worldwide on a regional level in response to different scenarios of increasing carbon dioxide simulated by 21 climate models.
The high-resolution data, which can be viewed on a daily timescale at the scale of individual cities and towns, will help scientists and planners conduct climate risk assessments to better understand local and global effects of hazards, such as severe drought, floods, heat waves and losses in agriculture productivity.
“NASA is in the business of taking what we’ve learned about our planet from space and creating new products that help us all safeguard our future,” said Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist.
“With this new global dataset, people around the world have a valuable new tool to use in planning how to cope with a warming planet.”

 NASA climate projection for daily high temperature in the year 2100
 under a "business as usual" emissions scenario.

The new dataset is the latest product from the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX), a big-data research platform within the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Center at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
In 2013, NEX released similar climate projection data for the continental United States that is being used to quantify climate risks to the nation’s agriculture, forests, rivers and cities.
"This is a fundamental dataset for climate research and assessment with a wide range of applications,” said Ramakrishna Nemani, NEX project scientist at Ames.
“NASA continues to produce valuable community-based data products on the NEX platform to promote scientific collaboration, knowledge sharing, and research and development."

This NASA dataset integrates actual measurements from around the world with data from climate simulations created by the international Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project.
These climate simulations used the best physical models of the climate system available to provide forecasts of what the global climate might look like under two different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios: a “business as usual” scenario based on current trends and an “extreme case” with a significant increase in emissions.

The NASA climate projections provide a detailed view of future temperature and precipitation patterns around the world at a 15.5 mile (25 kilometer) resolution, covering the time period from 1950 to 2100.
The 11-terabyte dataset provides daily estimates of maximum and minimum temperatures and precipitation over the entire globe.

 The year 2014 now ranks as the warmest on record since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA scientists. (other video)

NEX is a collaboration and analytical platform that combines state-of-the-art supercomputing, Earth system modeling, workflow management and NASA remote-sensing data.
Through NEX, users can explore and analyze large Earth science data sets, run and share modeling algorithms and workflows, collaborate on new or existing projects and exchange workflows and results within and among other science communities.
NEX data and analysis tools are available to the public through the OpenNEX project on Amazon Web Services.
OpenNEX is a partnership between NASA and Amazon, Inc., to enhance public access to climate data, and support planning to increase climate resilience in the U.S. and internationally.
OpenNEX is an extension of the NASA Earth Exchange in a public cloud-computing environment.

This animation portrays the flow of atmospheric water vapor around the world.
Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas, but importantly, it acts as a feedback to the climate   (see NASA )

NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future.
NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records.
The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

China’s fishermen explain why they think the sea is theirs

 The Tanmen people call their navigation log of the South China Sea “Genglubu”,
which means the “Road Book”.
There are numerous versions of the Genglubu, and it contains centuries of hard-won experience. Every island and its surrounding conditions are clearly described.
Chinese experts believe the navigation logs are clear evidence that Chinese fishermen were the first explorers in the South China Sea.
The people of Tanmen have been fishing in the South China Sea for generations.

Tanmen is a very small fishing town, which has become well known as its residents work on China ‘s maritime frontier.
(CCTV America)

From TheWashingtonPost by Will Englund

One of the challenges for the Chinese government is the growing tensions in the South China Sea. 
China has proposed resolution through dialogue to its neighbors, but territorial disputes continue to arise.
Today’s fishermen not only face the perils of the open sea, but also the danger of an encounter with a foreign patrol boat.

Little boats with noisy engines puttered purposefully down the river and out toward the South China Sea.
Big vessels — ships, really, with three or four decks, and heavy equipment — lay tied up close to the crowded town, looming over the low buildings along the bank.
Then a workhorse of the sea — high-bowed, about 40 feet long, wheelhouse astern — slipped by.
It was heading out for a week, or more likely a couple of weeks, on the open water.
Crewmen, stripped to the waist, lathered up and washed from a barrel of water on deck as their trip began.
The boat cleared the last bulkhead and then let loose with dozens of firecrackers that hung in strings over the sides.

We had arrived by bus: fifteen reporters from a dozen countries, on a tour arranged by the East-West Center of Hawaii.
We were in Tanmen, on the island of Hainan, at the northern approaches to the South China Sea, to talk with fishermen. We were not going from boat to boat looking for someone with tales to tell.
Our local escorts had arranged a meeting on the paved walkway along the south bank of the river.
A delegation of retired fishermen was there to receive us and tell us about their livelihoods.

China and its neighbors are quarreling over the South China Sea, and fishermen play a role in that. Chinese coast guard boats have been driving Philippine and Vietnamese fishing boats away from reefs and fishing grounds that China now claims control of.
We were here to get the Chinese water-level perspective.
Su Cheng Feng is 80, retired now for 11 years.
At first, after the firecracker display died down, he was the most talkative.
He said he didn't meet fishermen from other countries very often in the old days when he was out at sea, before the surrounding countries' territorial claims began to be taken seriously, because their boats were smaller than the Chinese boats, and, frankly, their skills weren't as high.
The sea, he said, was China's traditional fishing ground.
Chinese "fishermen have been fishing in the South China Sea for many, many generations," he said.
"These are our own waters, just as natural as a farmer going to his field."

 China's 1948 nine-dash line map

We asked him about the past.
What was it like before the Communists came to power in 1949, or even during the war, when he was a boy and his father was a fisherman?
He didn't have much to say; nothing special, nobody talked about it.

Wu Shujin, 79, Mai Yunxiu, 79, and Huang Qinghe, 82, listened in, added a word here and there. They had all been captains.
They had fished for wrasse, grouper and mackerel.
They dried their catch on board or sold it to a buyer's boat that would take it back to shore.
They didn't get much help from the government
 (Younger men standing nearby disputed that.)

Then Lu Yuyong suddenly appeared.
He's 51, still active on a boat.
He took over the conversation.
"The life on a boat is very tough," he said.

 Lu Yuyong, 51, looks up from a chart of the South China Sea on which he has placed a traditional Chinese compass. (Will Englund/The Washington Post)

He brought out a pink plastic bag and unwrapped from it a traditional Chinese compass.
It's one of the four great Chinese inventions, he said (along with gunpowder, paper-making and printing).
Suddenly he was on his knees on the blacktop, unrolling a nautical chart of the sea.
He was showing us how to use the compass on the chart, and having a little trouble, most likely because it had traditional markings on it and not the 360 degrees of a modern one.
Su got down with him, and all the reporters and local hangers-on crowded around.
Lu said he was glad the Chinese government is building up some of the islands in the sea; he has lost three family members in storms who had nowhere to go to and no one to help them.
Permanent occupation on some of the islands could save lives, he said.
But when fishermen from other countries dare to fish the South China Sea, he said, "they're invading our waters."
"We could go all the way to Australia if we wanted to," he said.
"But we don't. That's not our ground. It's not about loving or not loving your country. It's about fishing your own waters."

Chinese fisherman, he said, were the first to discover the islands of the South China Sea.
"And as opposed to other countries, we are civilized," he said, again mentioning the compass as one of the four great inventions.
He rolled up the chart, then got out a piece of paper and drew his own map of the sea, which he labeled the "Ancestor Sea."
He talked about the annual celebrations in Tanmen for the Brotherhood of the 108 (also known as the 108 Stars of Destiny, or the Outlaws of the Marsh), demonic overlords from a 700-year-old novel who were banished, repented and were reborn as heroes.
What upstart nation, he seemed to be asking, could lay claim to history here the way China can?

Links :

Monday, June 8, 2015

Explore life beneath the waves in honor of World Oceans Day

Google and its partners are committed to using technology
to better understand and protect the ocean. 

From Google_LatLon by Jenifer Austin and Brian Sullivan, Google Ocean Program

Covering more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean remains one of the most uncharted and undiscovered ecosystems on the planet.
Home to the majority of life on Earth, the ocean acts as its life support system, controlling everything from our weather and rainfall to the oxygen we breathe.
Yet despite the ocean’s vital importance, the ocean is changing at a rapid rate due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing, making it one of the most serious environmental issues we face today.

Walk the coastline of Larsen Bay, Samoa, home to some of the most pristine coral reefs in the Pacific

Mapping the ocean is key to preserving it.
Each image in Google Maps is a GPS-located digital record of these underwater and coastal environments, which can be used as a baseline to monitor change over time.
This comprehensive record of coral reefs showcases the beauty of these ecosystems and highlights the threats they face, such as the impact of increasing storms in the Great Barrier Reef and of rising water temperatures, factors causing the reefs to bleach white.
 These two images taken just one year apart, demonstrate reef deterioration from ocean warming.

With just one click, you can swim underwater alongside some of the most wondrous and exotic creatures, including great white sharks in Australia.

Google recommends you check out these amazing “street views” of ocean life:

Mola mola, the world’s heaviest bony fish, in Crystal Bay, Bali

As the ocean changes, we must change with it by creating new technologies, to help document the state of the ocean today and how it changes in years to come.
Working closely with XL Catlin Seaview Survey, we’re announcing a select group of new partnerships for our underwater Street View program to map and publish more imagery of our ocean and water systems for the world to understand and explore.
  • NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries: Expanding our current partnership to bring unprecedented access to American marine protected areas
  • Reef Check: Engaging and training volunteer citizen scientists to participate in ocean mapping and data collection
  • Blue Ventures: Developing locally-managed marine areas for biodiversity and the benefit of coastal people throughout Madagascar and the Indian Ocean
  • Our World Underwater Scholarship Society: Providing a program of firsthand underwater-related experiences to selected scholars across the world
  • GUE’s Project Baseline: Empowering a global network of highly skilled SCUBA divers to create a lasting visual legacy of underwater conditions in oceans, lakes, rivers, springs, and caves all over the world
In addition to underwater and coastal Street View imagery, Global Fishing Watch, developed in partnership with nonprofits SkyTruth and Oceana, is producing the first public and interactive view of industrial fishing at a global scale.
With so much of what happens on the ocean going unnoticed, Global Fishing Watch will aim to empower governments, the seafood industry, research institutions and the public with new tools to better inform sustainable practices and management policies.

This World Oceans Day, we hope that you’re inspired to learn more about ocean change.
So dive into the deeps of the sea and become engaged to protect the ocean and understand how it supports us, so that all of us can better support it in return.

Links :

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Yacht entering harbour in rough seas

Very skillfull helmsman on this Delphina 37'
harbour entrance of Savaneke on Bornholm Island, part of Denmark in the Baltic.

 Bornholm island with the GeoGarage platform

Links :