Puerto Rico News

Okeanos Explorer's dual-body ROV system is loaded from the aftdeck of the ship into the water before conducting an exploration dive. (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA to Explore Depths of Caribbean Sea

and Research, the federal program responsible for coordinating this expedition. “In order to understand and sustainably manage the ocean’s resources, we first have to survey what resources exist.”   Many of the expedition’s anticipated 20 ROV dives will take place in the Puerto Rico Trench, which is nearly 500 miles long and nearly 5.4 miles at its deepest – deeper than anywhere else in the Atlantic Ocean basin. Other areas to be explored include the Muertos Trough, Mona Channel and Virgin Islands Trough.   During the dives, Okeanos Explorer’s two-body

Photo: AUVSIF

Young Innovators to Compete in Underwater Robotics

include students from inner cities, remote rural areas of the country, Native American reservations in Minnesota, and the Pacific islands. All of these participants have been introduced to STEM though SeaPerch. The 2017 competition will welcome teams from beyond the continental U.S. with groups from Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Cayman Islands, the Virgin Islands and New Zealand.   Georgia Tech, via a contract with the Georgia Tech Research Institute (Georgia Tech’s non-profit applied research arm), is this year’s event partner and co-host. Georgia Tech is a leading research university

Image: Aguirre Offshore

FERC Issues DEIS for Gasport off Puerto Rico

Excelerate Energy, in cooperation with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), has received the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its Aguirre Offshore Gasport Project (AOGP) located offshore Puerto Rico. The FERC staff concludes in its statement that the construction and operation of the Project would result in limited adverse environmental impacts that would mostly occur only during construction. Moreover, the statement confirms the inherent benefits of the project; including, the diversification of Puerto Rico’s

The new center will investigate key underwater and coastal archaeological sites around the world. (Photo: Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Marine Archaeology Center Launched

in Greece to study the Late Bronze Age collapse of the Mycenaean civilization led by Levy and Scripps paleobiologist Richard Norris in the summer of 2016.    Over the next two years, the center plans to launch a series of research projects in the eastern Mediterranean, southern Peru, Puerto Rico, Belize, and along the California coast.   “There are hidden coastlines all around the world where civilizations and cultures flourished, and so that’s the place that we want to sample when we do these studies,” said Levy, holder of the Norma Kershaw Chair in the Archaeology

(Photo: AUVSIF)

RoboSub Competition: 20 Years of Fun and Learning

fourth place and $2,000 was Harbin Engineering University from China. Georgia Institute of Technology rounded out the top five, taking home $1,000.    Smaller awards of $1,500 and $1,000 in specially judged categories went to Cornell University, San Diego State University, University of Puerto Rico at Myaguez, McGill University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.    The Author Sierra Jones is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.  

NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite VIIRS instrument captured this thermal image on Sept. 20, 2017, at 2:12 a.m. EDT (0612 UTC). At the time, Maria’s eye was just east of the American Virgin Islands, and its northwestern quadrant stretched over Puerto Rico. (Credit: NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team)

Weakened Maria Could Regain Major Hurricane Status -NHC

Maria, which weakened into a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday, could regain major hurricane status by Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory.   Catastrophic flash flooding was occurring over portions of Puerto Rico with conditions now deteriorating over the eastern Dominican Republic, the NHC said.   The hurricane was about 25 miles (45 km) north northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (175 km per hour), the Miami-based NHC said. Any hurricane with top sustained winds of at least 111 is classified as

Peruvian Navy diver Fonseca with JW Fishers Pulse 8X metal detector, Inset: Pinellas County Sheriffs diver searches for weapons with Pulse 8X  (Photo: JW Fishers)

Underwater Metal Detectors Help Police, Military

service”. A few of the many other military and law enforcement dive teams using the Pulse 8X are the US Border Patrol, Connecticut State Police, Swedish Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Texas Highway Patrol, New Jersey State Police, Policia de Puerto Rico, Ottawa Police Service in Canada, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Olmstead Sheriffs Dive Team in Minnesota, Maine State Police, and US Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and their Facilities Engineering Service Center in California

Ocean Discovery XPRIZE Testing Altered

 The deep sea off the southern coast of Puerto Rico was initially chosen as the Round 1 Field Test location for the 19 semifinalist teams competing in the $7 million Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. However, due to the island’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria, the first round of testing will now be a Technology Readiness Test comprised of site visits to each team, judged against 11 key measurement criteria. Round 1 begins in November 2017 and continues until February 2018, and will ensure the teams are challenged with rigorous criteria that show their technologies are capable of meeting the

The GEBCO-NF Alumni Team’s concept utilizes a SEA-KIT unmanned surface vessel, USV Maxlimer. (Photo: Kongsberg Maritime)

K-MATE Autonomy Controller Put to the Test

criteria will progress to the next round of field tests, with an announcement expected in March 2018. The assessment criteria have been designed to assess whether teams would have been capable of passing the originally planned Round 1 field tests, which were cancelled due to severe hurricane damage in Puerto Rico.   The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is a global competition challenging teams to advance deep-sea technologies for autonomous, fast and high-resolution ocean exploration. The prize aims to stimulate even greater exploration and mapping of the ocean floor.   The GEBCO-NF Alumni Team&rsquo

(Photo: Energy Department)

US Awards $20 Mln for Wave and Tidal Energy Projects

future. Recent studies conducted by the Energy Department found that America's technically recoverable wave energy resource ranges between approximately 900 and 1,230 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year, distributed across the coast of Alaska, the West Coast, the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The tidal streams resource ranges between approximately 220 and 330 TWh per year. For context, approximately 90,000 homes can be powered by 1 TWh per year. With more than 50 percent of the U.S. population living within 50 miles of coastlines, there is vast potential to provide clean, renewable

CH2M diver with Fishers DHC-2, Inset – Grieg Seafarms aquaculture technician with Fishers DV-2 drop video (Photo: JW Fishers)

Underwater Video Aids Aquaculture and Marine Research

dollar company with offices around the world, offers a diverse range of environmental, engineering, management and consulting services. They are ranked as the world’s top environmental firm and have a long history of solving clients most challenging and complex problems. On a recent project in Puerto Rico, a team of CH2M divers assisted government regulators by collecting sediment samples from the ocean bottom and sending live video of the procedure to observers on the topside support vessel. The camera system the team acquired for this job was Fishers DHC-2 diver-held video system with 300 feet

File photo: NOAA Ship Fairweather underway in Alaska (Photo: NOAA)

NOAA Releases 2018 Hydrographic Survey Plans

Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Fla. – This survey project provides updates to nautical charting products of the area and supports marine habitat research projects through the National Center for Coastal Ocean Science and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.   Atlantic Coast and Puerto Rico Approaches to Chesapeake Bay – This multi-year survey covers the approaches to Chesapeake Bay to support the safety of commerce and monitor the environmental health of the region. Approaches to Jacksonville, Fla. – The Port of Jacksonville entrance channel is in need of

NOAA awards more than $8 million in grants and cooperative agreements for coral reef conservation this year. Funded projects will support efforts in seven U.S. states and territories, the Caribbean and Micronesia. (Credit: Claire Fackler, NOAA)

NOAA Boosts Efforts to Conserve Coral Reefs

fishing practices, as well as priority coral reef regions and watersheds.   Funded projects include grants to reduce sediment and improve water quality in U.S Virgin Islands, work with communities in Hawaii to address threats to coral reefs, support coral reef ecosystem conservation in Puerto Rico and strengthen outreach and education efforts.   Projects also include work to assess coral reef resiliency to climate change in multiple locations. Earlier this year, NOAA declared the third global coral bleaching event, an event leading to the loss of huge areas of coral across the U

CFIS

Shell Ocean Discovery XPrize Field Pared to 9

from seven countries is a feat in and of itself, as the very force of nature that is under study conspired to thwart the first round of testing.   “For this round of testing we had to take a different approach than originally planned because of the hurricanes (Irma and Maria) that hit Puerto Rico,” said Dr. Virmani. The original plan was to have the teams arrive in Puerto Rico in early October 2017 to put their tech to the test in mapping an area “where a great map already exists,” said Dr. Virmani. But the historic Hurricane Irma struck Puerto Rico in late September

GRAPHIC - Hurricane Maria - NOAA - Image NOAA

Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate Retired

., seven direct deaths were reported, and an additional 85 indirect deaths occurred, 80 of which were in Florida. Hundreds more were injured preparing for the storm, during it or in its aftermath. Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Dominica as a category 5 on September 19, and later devastated Puerto Rico as a high-end category 4 hurricane. It also inflicted serious damage on some of the other islands of the northeastern Caribbean Sea. Maria is the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history, behind Harvey and Katrina. Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths

Starcoral Photo NOAA

Changing Climate, Oceans and America’s Fisheries

seas. Covering only one percent of the planet, coral reefs are the home to 25 percent of all marine species, and upwards of 40 billion people rely on coral reefs for the fish and shellfish they eat. The loss of coral reefs also makes coastal communities more vulnerable to storm events. Coral reefs in Puerto Rico, for instance, help prevent an estimated $94 million in flood damages every year.  NOAA’s Coral Bleaching Early Warning System has already helped decision-makers take action to try and increase resilience of valuable reef ecosystems to warming seas and other threats. While these

New US Wave Energy Test Facility

reliable power to coastal regions. Recent studies estimate that America's technically recoverable wave energy resource ranges between approximately 900–1,230 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, distributed across the coast of Alaska, the West Coast, the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For context, approximately 90,000 homes can be powered by 1 TWh per year. This means that even if only a few percent of the potential is recovered, millions of homes could be powered by wave energy as the technology progresses

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