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November 2014 Issue

Shine Micro to Provide AIS for MDA Project on ISS
Shine Micro, Inc. (Port Ludlow, Washington) will collaborate and provide AIS equipment for a new maritime domain awareness (MDA) research project on board the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. Laboratory. This will support the Global AIS on Space Station (GLASS) project to demonstrate the unique benefits provided by the lower-altitude ISS National Laboratory as a reliable and maintainable research platform to acquire and down-link near-real-time extended range AIS signals.

GLASS team collaborators include: University of Hawaii Center for Island, Maritime, and Extreme Environment Security for MDA applications; Greater Houston Port Bureau for marine operations; Mare Liberum Consulting L.P. (Houston, Texas) for their Port of Houston HarborLights software; Shine Micro for AIS signal processing and hardware; and Flexitech LLC (Ashburn, Virginia) for spacecraft radio technology.


Warmer Gulf Waters Endanger Sea Turtles
An uptick in the number of sea turtles needing help to survive along the Gulf Coast of Texas may be linked to changing temperatures in the water there, say scientists at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. Researchers and animal rehabilitation specialists have gone to heroic lengths during the past year to rescue hundreds of the creatures—each weighing up to 120 pounds—from freezes and a tumor-related disease that was reported this year for the first time in Texas sea turtles.

Due to climate change, water in the Gulf of Mexico has been getting warmer over the years, so fewer Texas sea turtles, which require a warm temperature, are migrating elsewhere for part of the year the way they used to.


UCAR to Collaborate With India for Weather Forecasting
U.S. atmospheric researchers and their counterparts in India will join forces to advance weather forecasting and technology under a new agreement between the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the India Ministry of Earth Sciences. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) will support collaborations to improve forecasts of major weather events in India, including monsoonal rains that are critical for growing crops. In turn, the knowledge gained from insights into Indiaís weather patterns will help U.S. researchers advance their own forecast skills to better predict events closer to home.

Collaborations will involve research on aircraft and radar technology, nowcasting of severe weather events, hydrometeorology, satellite data, oceanic and climate research and urban flooding.


University of Miami Opens Seawater Complex
The University of Miami (UM) has opened the Marine Technology and Life Sciences Seawater Complex on the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science campus. One-thousand gallons of seawater is pumped every minute into research laboratories. The 86,000-square-foot, LEED facility supports research in two focus areas: air-sea interactions and marine life science.

The SUSTAIN (Surge-Structure-Atmosphere Interaction) research facility in the complex is the only laboratory in the world capable of generating category-5 hurricane-force winds in a 3D test environment. The 38,000-gallon SUSTAIN tank enables study of the impacts of hurricane force winds and other extreme weather events on coastal communities. The Marine Life Science Center building in the complex is a dedicated space for maintaining and studying living marine animals. Coral reef research focuses on assessing and measuring the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on global reef-building processes.


SSTL Uses GNSS for Maritime Satellite System
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL), based in Guildford, England, has successfully demonstrated an innovative method of measuring winds and waves from space, using GNSS reflectometry. This paves the way for a cost-effective satellite system supporting the maritime sector and the organizations that rely on this information, and it also offers improvements to weather services and climate research.

The measurements were taken from SSTLís SGR-ReSI, (Space GNSS Receiver Remote Sensing Instrument), which is flying on board TechDemoSat-1, a technology demonstration satellite which was launched in July 2014. SGR-ReSI collects the signals from GPS and other navigation satellites after they have been reflected off the ocean surface and processes them into images called Delay Doppler Maps, from which ocean roughness and wind speed measurements at the sea surface can be interpreted.

The SGR-ReSI can pick up GPS reflections off the ocean, land, snow and ice, opening up other new opportunities for remote sensing—for example, measuring the thickness of sea ice, snow depth, soil moisture levels and the classification of vegetative foliage.

SSTL is working on preparing the ground processing and Web interface to allow users Internet access to the measurements.


Diversity Declines in Sargasso Sea
An MBARI study shows that in 2011 and 2012, fish, snails, crabs and other small animals sheltering in Sargassum seaweed in the Sargasso Sea were much less diverse than in the early 1970s.

This study was based on field research using the Lone Ranger, a 78-meter research vessel owned and operated by the Schmidt Ocean Institute. During three cruises in 2011 and 2012 in the Sargasso Sea, researchers collected samples of Sargassum seaweed (and its associated animals) at six different locations, then classified and counted all the animals at each site. Thirteen species of animals in several different groups (worms, nudibranchs, crustaceans, and sea spiders) were observed in the historical samples but were missing from the recent samples.

There was not enough data to determine whether the differences were the result of long-term shifts in ocean conditions in the Sargasso Sea or natural variations from place-to-place, month-to-month or year-to-year.


2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | OCT
2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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