Archive for October, 2008

Ship collisions, hurricanes mean busy season for spills

This item was filled under News
Two hurricanes and two major ship accidents marked the busiest season ever for the NOS Office of Response and Restoration over the past Fiscal Year. In total, the NOS office responded to 179 incidents, three-quarters of which were oil spills. Thousands of incidents occur each year in which oil or chemicals are released into the environment as a result of accidents or natural disasters....

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New current meter aids hazardous passage

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A new current meter installed on Oct. 15 will help make the most dangerous passage in the Gulf Coast's Intracoastal Waterway a lot safer. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, navigation along this stretch of the Intracoastal Highway grew even more difficult....

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What percentage of life is estimated to be in the ocean?

This item was filled under Facts, Ocean Life, Ocean Life (misc.)
Covering over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean represents our planet’s largest habitat, containing 99 percent of the living space on the planet. This vast area supports the life of nearly 50 percent of all species on Earth.

Scientists are currently conducting the first ever “Census of Marine Life,” to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the ocean. Expected to be completed in 2010, this project will be the first to develop a comprehensive global list of all forms of life in the ocean. Additionally, scientists estimate that perhaps a million or more species remain unknown, yet to be discovered.

Biological productivity of the ocean plays a vital role in the global climate and carbon cycle and provides nearly 50 percent of Earth's oxygen and 20 percent of the world's protein supply. Species from the ocean are also potential sources of new medicines.

For more information:
NOAA: Ocean
Census of Marine Life

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NOAA joins EcoZone Green Schools Initiative

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NOAA's National Ocean Service recently joined the EcoZone (r) Green Schools Initiative, a public-private environmental outreach and education effort sponsored by EcoMedia and the CBS Corporation. The Initiative kicks off with a competition for a 'green makeover' worth more than $100,000 for schools in three cities....

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How do coral reefs benefit the economy?

This item was filled under Economy, Ecosystems, Facts, Ocean Life
Healthy coral reefs support commercial and subsistence fisheries as well as jobs and businesses through tourism and recreation. Approximately half of all federally managed fisheries depend on coral reefs and related habitats for a portion of their life cycles. The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates the commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs is over $100 million....

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Using sonar to track sea turtles

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National Ocean Service (NOS) researchers began testing the use of sonar to investigate sea turtle abundance and habitats in coastal waters near Cape Lookout, North Carolina, this October. This novel use of acoustic technology may lead to new ways to protect threatened and endangered species....

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NOAA satellites monitor coral reef health worldwide

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NOAA's Coral Reef Watch bleaching monitoring network recently expanded from 24 to 190 'virtual stations.' Nearly 200 sites around the world are now continually monitored from space to notify coral reef managers, scientists, and other interested parties when ocean conditions are ripe for coral bleaching....

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How deep is the ocean?

This item was filled under Basics, Facts, Ocean Observations
The average depth of the ocean is about 4,267 meters (14,000 feet). The deepest part of the ocean is called the Challenger Deep and is located beneath the western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, which runs several hundred kilometers southwest of the U.S. territorial island of Guam. Challenger Deep is approximately 11,030 meters (36,200 feet) deep....

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