Home | Contact ST  

Environmental Monitoring


December 2013 Issue

US and Australia Collaborate On Maritime Domain Awareness
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to highlight common missions, interests and capabilities, along with opportunities for collaboration for mutual benefit.

The MOU will benefit the U.S. and Australia partnership by strengthening maritime cooperation through the sharing of information needed for maritime domain awareness activities. Also, it will encourage and promote cooperation in the areas of personnel development, research and other areas relating to civil maritime law enforcement operations.

“This agreement allows the Coast Guard and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to combine our strengths in common missions, interests and capabilities,” said R.Adm. Christopher Tomney, assistant commandant, Coast Guard Intelligence and Criminal Investigations. “Australia has long been an ally of the United States, and we look forward to continuing to work together on maritime operations.”

Geoengineering the Climate Would Reduce Vital Rains
Although a significant build-up in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would alter worldwide precipitation patterns, a widely discussed technological approach to reducing future global warming would also interfere with rainfall and snowfall, new research shows.

The international study found that a massive increase in greenhouse gases and warming of the planet would spur about a 7 percent global increase in precipitation, on average, compared to preindustrial conditions.

But, trying to resolve the problem through geoengineering could result in seasonal rainfalls, known as monsoonal rains, in North America, East Asia and other regions, dropping by 5 to 7 percent compared to preindustrial conditions. Globally, average precipitation could decrease by about 4.5 percent.

As concerns have mounted about climate change, scientists have studied geoengineering approaches to reduce future warming. Some of these methods would capture carbon dioxide before it enters the atmosphere. Others would attempt to shade the atmosphere by injecting sulfate particles into the stratosphere or even launching mirrors into orbit with the goal of reducing global surface temperatures.

The new study focuses on the second set of approaches, those that would shade the planet. It warns however, that Earth’s climate would not return to its preindustrial state even if the warming itself were successfully mitigated.

Speed of Coastal Erosion In Siberia Nearly Doubled
The high cliffs of Eastern Siberia, which mainly consist of permafrost, are eroding at a quickening pace, concluded scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). The scientists evaluated data and aerial photographs of the coastal regions for the last 40 years.

According to the researchers, the reasons for this increasing erosion are rising summer temperatures in the Russian permafrost regions, as well the retreat of the Arctic sea ice. This coastal protection recedes more and more on an annual basis.

As a result, waves undermine the shores. At the same time, the land surface begins to sink. The small island of Muostakh, east of the Lena Delta, is especially affected by these changes. Experts fear that it might disappear altogether should the loss of land continue.

The research team evaluated high-resolution air and satellite photos from 1951 to 2012, as well as measurements of the past four years. In addition, the researchers surveyed four coastal sections along the Laptev Sea and the island of Muostakh.

In addition, long-term studies conducted by AWI scientists show the impact of coastal erosion for the seal. Depending on the kind of erosion and the particular structure of the coast, between 88 and 800 tons of plant-, animal- and microorganism-based carbon are currently washed into the sea each year.

GE Power Conversion Chosen for Sustainable Marine Solutions
Two new dual-fuel-powered LNG carriers were handed over to Dynagas (Glyfada, Greece) by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), based in Ulsan, South Korea. The Arctic Aurora and the Yenisei River are the first part of the company’s intent. Dynagas will also take delivery of five other LNG carriers over the next two years, all equipped with energy-efficient, variable-speed electrical power and propulsion systems from GE Power Conversion (Paris, France).

For each vessel, GE will supply a fully integrated power and propulsion package that includes an MV7000-series induction motor, alternator, converter, transformers and switchboard. Each package was tested on a real-time simulator that creates conditions at sea before being shipped for installation by HHI. GE’s MV7000 drive technology delivers efficient and flexible control of electric power, which is some 30 percent more efficient than steam-based mechanical power.

Characterization of Hazardous Ocean Ice
There is an increasing need for fine-scale detection and characterization of hazardous ice conditions in the Arctic. ASL Environmental Sciences (Victoria, Canada) received funding from the Canadian Space Agency to address this need under the Earth Observation Applications Development Program.

The project will develop techniques, tools and data products that will enhance the detection and characterization of hazardous ice conditions at fine scales, based on advanced beam modes of RADARSAT-2.

ASL’s Ice Profiler, along with acoustic Doppler current profilers, will provide validation data and opportunities for improvement in the analysis and interpretation of the SAR imagery. In effect, this project will combine the view of the ice canopy from below with the view from above and generate ice information products. Using simulated data for RADARSAT Constellation Mission compact polarimetry beam mode, the operational utility of such products will also be assessed. This project will run between June 2013 and March 2015.


-back to top-

Sea Technology is read worldwide in more than 110 countries by management, engineers, scientists and technical personnel working in industry, government and educational research institutions. Readers are involved with oceanographic research, fisheries management, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, undersea defense including antisubmarine warfare, ocean mining and commercial diving.