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Sailing for scientific success in the Bering Sea

PMEL Saildrones successfully complete first test mission in cold waters

Testing new scientific technology is a risky business. In the case of two Saildrones released in the eastern Bering Sea over a month ago, the risk has led to big rewards. Equipped with a suite of scientific sensors, the unmanned surface vehicles are performing beyond researchers’ expectations during their first test run in cold waters. Each Saildrone has collected over 40 million measurements over the course of the planned 2.5 month test mission.

For the first time, Saildrones explore the Bering Sea

On April 22, two autonomous surface vehicles equipped with meteorological and oceanographic sensors will be released for the first time in the Bering Sea by NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL). Saildrones have the capacity to increase observational infrastructure in remote and hostile polar regions where ship time and human labor is costly and potentially hazardous. The ongoing development of Saildrones is a collaborative effort of researchers at PMEL, the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) at the University of Washington, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Saildrone Inc.

Sea Grant agent works with Arctic communities to study bowhead whales

Integrating science and cultural practices to tackle emerging issues

In Alaska’s Bering Strait and Arctic regions, there are dozens of Alaskan Native tribes, many of whom depend on the marine environment for food, as they have in some cases for thousands of years.  In this world more foreign to most Americans than many other countries (and bigger than many too) works exactly one NOAA Oceanic & Atmospheric Research Sea Grant extension agent: Gay Sheffield.

New study finds Alaskans familiar with ocean acidification, not aware of risks to fisheries

New research published in Marine Policy from the first Alaska-focused study on public understanding and awareness of ocean acidification risk shows that Alaskans are three times more aware of ocean acidification than Americans in general.  However, Alaskans have difficulty seeing ocean acidification as an immediate risk, and the direct risks to Alaska’s fisheries are still not well understood. The research, “Gauging perceptions of ocean acidification in Alaska,” can be read online.


NOAA flies over Arctic to measure extent of sea ice

Annual fall mission helps gauge climate change in Arctic

NOAA researchers set out this week on a two-week mission to fly over the Arctic to measure how much the ice has melted over the summer and gauge the speed of this fall’s refreezing of sea ice. This is the second year in a row scientists have flown above Arctic waters.  Data gathered from both years is testing a hypothesis that increased summer heat stored in the newly sea-ice free areas of the Arctic Ocean lead to surface heat fluxes in autumn that are large enough to have impacts on atmospheric temperature, humidity, wind and cloud distributions. 

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Popular Research News

A Message from Craig McLean: Hurricane Dorian and Exceptional Service

A Message from Craig McLean: Hurricane Dorian and Exceptional Service Read more

NOAA Research Assistant Administrator Craig McLean's message to colleagues, dated Monday, September 9th, regarding Hurricane Dorian and its wide-ranging impacts

A Year Locked in Ice

A Year Locked in Ice Read more

An expedition to the central Arctic will give scientists the first opportunity to study the dramatic changes sweeping across the top of the world for an entire year. 

New NOAA app brings earth and space animations to your phone

New NOAA app brings earth and space animations to your phone Read more

NOAA's SOS Explorer Mobile, an app for personal mobile devices, tells earth science stories by playing visually stunning movies on a virtual globe.

Airborne research shows East Coast cities emitting twice as much methane as estimated

Airborne research shows East Coast cities emitting twice as much methane as estimated Read more

A new NOAA and University of Michigan study using an instrumented airplane has found unexpectedly large emissions over five major cities along the East Coast - twice the total amount of methane and almost 10 times the amount estimated from natural gas.

NOAA is developing underwater robots to map, measure toxicity of Great Lakes algal blooms

NOAA is developing underwater robots to map, measure toxicity of Great Lakes algal blooms Read more

Two underwater robots will be gliding throughout the western Lake Erie basin this week, as NOAA and its partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) test technology to autonomously monitor and measure the toxicity of harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes.

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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.

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