In Search of Lost Franklin Ships Erebus and Terror
In 1845 two ships led by Sir John Franklin, the HMS Erebus, and the HMS Terror left England in search of the Northwest Passage. The vessels were centrally heated to combat the bitter winds and external temperatures of -40 °C or lower; their bows were reinforced with steel to cut through the ice; and each boat was powered by a steam engine and screw propeller, giving a speed of 3-4 knots, to aid progress when there was insufficient wind for sailing or when pack ice obstructed their course. Fuel for the engines was limited, and their power was to prove inadequate. The complement of officers and men, of whom four were cabin boys, was one hundred and twenty-nine. In Greenland stores were off-loaded to supply provisions for three years.
Arctic Sea Ice Melted to Lowest Extent Ever Recorded
Scientists studying Arctic sea ice have recorded the lowest extent ever recorded since 1979. According to the University of Colorado Boulder’s National Snow and Ice data Center, on Aug. 26, the Arctic sea ice extent fell to 1.58 million square miles, or 4.10 million square kilometers. The number is 27,000 square miles, or 70,000 square kilometers below the record low daily sea ice extent set Sept. 18, 2007. Since the summer Arctic sea ice minimum normally does not occur until the melt season ends in mid- to late September, the CU-Boulder research team expects the sea ice extent to continue to dwindle for the next two or three weeks. Since 1979 Arctic sea Ice has been measured using satellite technology.
Ocean Observatory Program Completes Sea Equipment Test
In an effort to study the ocean over months and even years scientists and engineers are leaving instruments in the ocean secured by wires, buoys, weights, and floats, also known as the moored observatory. Each approach has advanced our understanding of the oceans and their interaction with the Earth and the atmosphere. Because of advances in computing, telecommunications, and marine architecture, researchers no longer want to just observe the ocean for short periods in small places. Ocean observatories explore fundamental questions using acoustic modems, fiber optic cables that stretch beneath the ocean for miles, and satellite communications. Sustaining these operations for months or years at a time help scientists observe how the Earth, ocean and atmosphere evolve.
Scientists Conduct First Surveys in Chukchi Sea
For the first time a comprehensive oceanographic and fisheries research vessel is preparing to survey the Chukchi Sea. The Chukchi Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is bounded on the west by the De Long Strait, off Wrangel Island, and in the east by Point Barrow, Alaska, beyond which lies the Beauford Sea. The Bering Strait forms its southernmost limit and connects it to theBering Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The sea has an approximate area of 595,000 km² (230,000 mi²) and is only navigable about four months of the year. The main geological feature of the Chukchi Sea bottom is the 700 km (435 mi)-long Hope Basin, which is bound to the northeast by the Herald Arch. Depths less than 50 m (164 ft) occupy 56% of the total area.
German WWII Submarines off Brazilian Coast
At least 11 German submarines sank off the Brazilian coast during WWII, all were sunk in 1943, when the downfall of the German U-boat force began in earnest with the development of efficient antisubmarine warfare techniques by the Allies. Of over 1,000 U-boats that fought in WWII around 150 actually operated in the South Atlantic and along the Brazilian coast. Brazil only took sides and joined the allies in 1942. That may seem strange, but at the time Brazil was governed by its own dictator. A little fat man named Getúlio Vargas, who did some great thing for the country, but who, for quite some time tended to sympathize with Hitler´s Nazi Germany.
Scientists Estimate Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
NOAA scientists have estimated how fast gases and oil were leaking during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Researchers combined detailed chemical measurements in the deep ocean, air and the oil slick itself. The study showed an average of 11,350 tons of gas and oil were leaked per day, an amount equal to approximately 59,200 barrels of liquid oil per day. According to Dr. Thomas Ryerson, a NOAA research chemist and lead author of the study, the surface and subsurface measurements and analysis provided by colleagues held the key to understanding an oil spill. Researchers found that the leaking gas and oil separated into three major pools including an airborne plume of evaporating chemicals…
IMCA Conducts Offshore Survey
The International Marine contractors Association (IMCA), an international association with over 850 members in 60 countries representing offshore, marine and underwater engineering companies recently published information regarding the number of people working offshore in diving and ROV positions. This is the first time IMCA has published this information. IMCA has four technical divisions, covering marine/specialist vessel operations, offshore diving, hydrographic survey and remote systems and ROVs, plus geographic sections for the Asia-Pacific, South America, Europe & Africa, Middle East & India and Central & North America regions. The goal is to benchmark the total numbers of personnel, roles and locations of work as well as proportions of freelance personnel.
Treasures of the Deep – Mineral Exploration Under the Seabed
Located hundreds and even thousands of meters deep, vast deposits of precious metals and other marketable minerals are closer to being explored. Advances in marine geology, hundreds of deposits containing gold, silver, cobalt, lead and zinc, valued at trillions of dollars, have already been identified under the seabed, usually around fumaroles (hot gas fountains of volcanic origin). These are spread out along more than 73 thousand kilometers of underwater fissures on the earth´s crust. This interest has already come to the attention of environmentalists and environmental organizations as these locations are usually populated by unique species that live along the borders of the fumaroles, due to the heads and chemical elements that emanate from these underwater chimneys.
Ocean Floor Sediments Reflect Worlds Warmer Future
Recently a paleoceanographer, Alex Dickson, and his colleagues at The Open University in England have analyzed core sediment samples from the ocean floor. The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, an ongoing international marine research project, gathered the samples. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maxim (PETM), which occurred approximately 55.9 million years ago was associated with rapid global warming, profound changes in ecosystem, and major perturbations in the carbon cycle. This caused changes in the ocean environment including animal migrations, ocean productivity, acidification and changes in the water cycle. Scientists analyzing seafloor sediment saw lower oxygen levels during this period.
WWII German U-Boat Found off Nantucket Coast
A privately funded group has located a sunken WWII German U-Boat off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Using side scan sonar the group located the wreck about 70 miles south of Nantucket. After covering approximately 100 square miles between last years expedition and this year the group found the U-550, which was clearly visible on sonar. The group confirmed the find with a dive to the wreck to collect photographic evidence. On April 16, 1944, the U-550 torpedoed the gasoline tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania, which had lagged behind its protective convoy as it set out with 140,000 barrels of gasoline for Great Britain. The U-boat took cover beneath the sinking ship, but one of the tanker's three escorts, the USS Joyce, saw it on sonar and severely damaged it by dropping depth charges.
Scientists Take A Close Look at Basking Sharks
Basking sharks have been highly sought after for their fins, and because of this their population has been greatly diminished. The second largest fish in the ocean, second only to the whale shark, the basking shark is now included on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and are considered vulnerable to endangered. Scientists have little information about the species, and are working toward changing that. In order for conservation efforts to be effective some very basic knowledge is needed about the species including mating, birthing and where the animals spend their time. Scientists have very little knowledge regarding any of this as the animals disappear for nearly half the year, and juveniles and pregnant females have never been spotted.
OPT and Lockheed Martin Join Forces on Wave Energy Project
Ocean Power Technologies, Inc., and Lockheed Martin have entered into a teaming agreement with the goal of developing a 19-megawatt wave-energy project in Portland, in the state of Victoria, Australia. This is one of the largest wave-energy projects announced to date, and leverages a grant from the Commonwealth of Australia. For the project Lockheed Martin will assist with the design of Ocean Power Technologies' PowerBuoy technology, lead the production and system integration of the wave energy converters and support overall program management. Lockheed Martin and OPT have been collaborating since 2004, first on the development of an advanced deployable system for the U.S. Navy and most recently to design and launch utility-scale wave energy converters off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon.
PipeWay Tools –Pigging Equipment Made in Brazil
PipeWay is also a spinoff from the Genesis Institute run by PUC University in Rio de Janeiro. PipeWay Engeneering is the only company in the Southern Hemisphere with fully national production, which manufactures and operates tools for O&G pipeline inspection, which check anomalies such as oval pipes, crushing and corrosions, contributing to avoid leakages that may cause environmental accidents and safety hazards. PipeWay entered the O&G market in 1998, when the group of researchers from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), by using the technology of Petrobras' Research and Development Center (CENPES), launched a tool for pipe integrity management.
The Naval Floating Research Vessel R/P Flip Celebrates 50th Anniversary
The R/P Flip is an open ocean research vessel owned by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and is operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This year marks the 50 anniversary of the unusual vessel. FLIP is designed to study wave height, acoustic signals, water temperature and density, and for the collection of metoerlogical data. Because of the potential interference with the acoustic instruments, FLIP has no engines or other means of propulsion. It must be towed to open water, where it drifts freely or is anchored. In tow, FLIP can reach speeds of 7–10 knots. FLIP weighs 700 long tons (711 tons) and carries a crew of five, plus up to eleven scientists.