Satellite Observations News

The front of Antarctica's Getz Ice Shelf. (Photo: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA)

Strong El Niño Events Cause Large Antarctic Ice Loss -Study

Fricker, discovered that a strong El Niño event causes ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica to gain mass at the surface and melt from below at the same time, losing up to five times more ice from basal melting than they gain from increased snowfall. The study used satellite observations of the height of the ice shelves from 1994 to 2017.   “We’ve described for the first time the effect of El Niño/Southern Oscillation on the West Antarctic ice shelves,” Paolo said. “There have been some idealized studies using models, and even some indirect

A satellite image shows Falkor’s track and the colors in ocean water. Colors indicate the amount of chlorophyll, where red is the highest and blue the lowest. (Image: NASA/ Norman Kuring)

New Tech Gives Insight to Ocean Color for NASA Satellites

Having recently returned to land on board Schmidt Ocean Institute’s (SOI) research vessel Falkor, NASA Scientists have made important observations of phytoplankton with new technology to support current and future satellite observations.   A swath of new instruments were debuted during a 25 day expedition across the Pacific exploring a wide variety of oceanic ecosystems. The focus of chief scientist Dr. Ivona Cetinic´, USRA/NASA, and her multidisciplinary team of oceanographers, engineers, biologists and computer scientists was to explore ocean particles, and more specifically the

Photo: CMRE

CMRE, NOAA Partner for Atlantic Ocean Monitoring

African aerosol outflows across the Atlantic Ocean, the collection of data to evaluate upper ocean hydrography, for example, for studying variability in the Tropical North Atlantic as well as for model verification; the collection of atmospheric profiles, for example for the calibration of satellite observations of ozone concentrations; in situ collection of air samples for validation of chemical models.   Through all these means, this multi-year project will lead to better understanding of anomalies in the main development region of Atlantic hurricanes, including interannual variations associated

The WHOI SeaBED AUV ‘Jaguar’  ready for deployment through a very thin layer of Antarctic sea ice. This helped produce the world’s first detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice using an AUV. Credit: Peter Kimball, WHOI

A New Era of Antarctic Exploration: AUVs in Polar Science

upward-looking sonar in order to measure and map the underside of sea ice floes. Lines of data in a lawnmower pattern were merged to form high-resolution 3D bathymetric surveys of the underside of the ice. The combination of airborne measurements of sea-ice surface elevation, ice coring surveys, satellite observations and data from the AUV (called Jaguar), vastly improves scientists’ estimates of ice thickness and total sea ice volume.   The Importance of Internal Collaboration International collaborations have seen notable funding opportunities for the development of technologies with the

The WMM is a large-scale representation of Earth’s magnetic field. The blue and red lines indicate the positive and negative difference between where a compass points the compass direction and geographic North. Green lines indicate zero degrees of declination. (Credit: NOAA)

World Magnetic Model Updated

; “We know the Earth’s magnetic field is constantly changing,” said Stephen Volz, Ph.D., assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. “But thanks to the environmental intelligence gathered from a wide array of platforms, including satellite observations, we can make vital updates to the World Magnetic Model and ensure the most accurate navigation for commercial applications.”   Updated every five years, the WMM, created using satellite observations of the Earth’s magnetic field, provides accurate magnetic field declination

The robot submarine ready for launch from an icebreaker offshore Antarctica.

Thickness of Antarctic Sea Ice Surpass Expectations

robot now shows the ice is also much thicker than was previously thought, a new study reports. The discovery adds to the ongoing mystery of Antarctica's expanding sea ice. According to climate models, the region's sea ice should be shrinking each year because of global warming. Instead, satellite observations show the ice is expanding, and the continent's sea ice has set new records for the past three winters. At the same time, Antarctica's ice sheet (the glacial ice on land) is melting and retreating. Measuring sea ice thickness is a crucial step in understanding what's driving the growth

Map of the Beaufort Sea for the study area (Image: BOEM)

Arctic Ecosystem Study Launched in US, Canadian Waters

. These waters are very low in salinity (in comparison to the surrounding oceanic environment) and undergo intense mixing with saltier, marine waters along its boundaries. River plumes are clearly distinguished from satellite images and other oceanographic data. High-resolution in-situ and satellite observations and modeling data on the Beaufort shelf area will inform BOEM’s decision-making process for any future OCS activities.   The planned research aligns well with stated goals from the National Ocean Policy and the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC). Interagency

NOAA, NASA & BOEM to Monitor Biodiversity

.   Marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical to sustaining natural resources such as fisheries. The three projects, selected from 19 proposals, will be established in different marine environments in U.S. waters to integrate existing observations ranging from satellite observations to DNA sampling and fill data gaps with new observations. This joint effort supports the U.S. National Ocean Policy to "protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources." An integrated picture of what

Oceanography file image CCL

Navy's Global Ocean Forecast System Goes Public

rescue, and safety of operations on and under the ocean surface. NRL has enabled Navy operational ocean prediction of tactically relevant information. To accomplish this task, Jacobs says three critical components are necessary to predict the open ocean environment. “The first is access to satellite observations that measure precise sea surface height, sea surface temperature and ice concentration with in situ observations from public sources and Navy ships; second, numerical models representing the dynamical processes capable of understanding the physics of the ocean and numerical methods for efficiently

Air-drop Drifter Buoy: Photo courtesy of NOAA

Drifter Buoy 'Army' Patrols the Oceans

, or "drifter," may seem like a lightweight—or even a relic. Each drifter is less than 22 feet long, tips the scales at no more than 100 pounds, and lives just 450 days on average. "Because the drifters provide a ground-truth of currents, they are great for combining with satellite observations to study climate-scale problems," said Rick Lumpkin, director of NOAA's Global Drifter Program, which maintains the fleet of buoys and manages the processing and distribution of the data they collect. Modern-day message in a bottle Although most drifters start their journeys with

GOM Sheen Investigation Plan Approved

the source of a sheen located in the Gulf of Mexico that has been associated with Macondo 252 oil. The Notice of Federal Interest informed BP and Transocean that they may be responsible for costs related to identifying the source of the sheen and cleanup.   The proposed joint plan includes satellite observations and mobilizing remotely operated vehicles to examine the original Macondo well area including the wreckage, debris, and the riser on the sea floor.   The ROV is expected to be mobilized Sunday with direct Coast Guard oversight. Operations are anticipated to commence early next week

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