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Environmental Monitoring

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June 2017 Issue

Arctic Freeze Can Be Predicted
Up to Four Weeks Ahead

The recent increases in the length of the Arctic open-water season have allowed for increased activity in the region. To support this increase and to provide data for assimilation into ice/ocean forecast models, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) has been running a real-time ocean observatory at the east end of the Northwest Passage since 2009. It is being used as a testbed for further developments in ocean observatory technology.

As this ocean observatory was deployed in an area where BIO had maintained an ice/ocean monitoring array from 1998 to 2011, which included moored ASL Ice Profiling Sonars, a long baseline of measurements could be used to establish a relationship between the salinity of the upper water column in the late summer and the time of freeze-up.

Jim Hamilton and Merle Pittman wrote a paper showing that this information could predict freeze-up two to four weeks in advance.


Arctic River Ice
Disappearing Rapidly

Climate change is causing thick ice deposits that form along Arctic rivers to melt nearly a month earlier than they did 15 years ago, a new study finds.

River ice forms when Arctic groundwater reaches the surface and solidifies on top of frozen rivers. It grows throughout the winter until river valleys are choked with ice. Some river icings have grown to more than 10 sq. km in area and can be more than 10-m thick.

A new study measuring the extent of river ice in the U.S. and Canadian Arctic shows most river ice disappeared 26 days earlier on average in 2015 compared to 2000, melting around mid-June. Most ice that doesn’t completely melt every summer was significantly smaller in 2015 than in 2000.

This is the first clear evidence that this important component of Arctic river systems is changing rapidly.


First Statewide Beach
Cleanup in Hawaii

Six-time SUP (standup paddleboarding) World Champion Kai Lenny, alongside Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and The 5 Gyres Institute, have led the first-ever statewide beach cleanup on the Hawaiian Islands.

Using human-powered crafts, Lenny traveled the 200 nautical miles to attend beach cleanups and empower communities around oceanic pollution. Lenny and the team completed the voyage in five days, facilitating six cleanups and removing 11,049 lb. of debris.

With 5 Gyres Research Director and Co-Founder Dr. Marcus Eriksen, Lenny trawled for microplastic pollution, which Eriksen first identified as “plastic smog” when he established the world’s first Global Estimate of Plastic Pollution of 5.25 trillion particles, weighing in at 270,000 tons.


Wärtsilä 34DF Engines
Get EPA Tier III Certification

Wärtsilä has been awarded model year 2017 certification of emissions compliance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engine family. The Tier III certification of conformity covers the Wärtsilä 34DF engines manufactured from the date of issue until the end of 2017.

These are the first Category 3 Tier III certificates issued by the EPA to any manufacturer. Category 3 relates to engines with a displacement per cylinder of greater than 30 liters.

The certification verifies that the Wärtsilä 34DF engine is fully compliant with the EPA Tier III emission standards in gas mode operation. The engine is equipped with a continuous nitrogen oxide (NOx) measuring and monitoring system for verifying emissions compliancy inside NOx Emission Control Areas (NECA). When sailing outside NECAs, the engine can be operated with conventional marine diesel fuels if required.


EMEC Redeploys
Integrated Monitoring Pod

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has redeployed its bespoke Integrated Monitoring Pod, fitted with innovative turbulence instruments to help measure the impact of turbulence on tidal energy devices.

Prior to deployment, the pod was fitted with a MicroRider turbulence system designed by Rockland Scientific. The sensor system combines standard flow measurement technology (acoustic and electromagnetic) with novel nonacoustic measurement technology (shear probes).

Integration of the new instruments on the pod has been made possible thanks to the InSTREAM (In Situ Turbulence Replication Evaluation And Measurement) project that will enable tidal energy developers to optimize design so that technologies can withstand the effects of strong tides and currents. InSTREAM is a U.K.-Canadian project.


TDI-Brooks to Conduct
Surveys in Caribbean

TDI-Brooks International Inc. has been selected to perform three site surveys and an environmental baseline project in the Caribbean. Two well sites are at a depth of approximately 140 m, and a third well site lies at 650 m. The project was to be completed in May for wells to be drilled in July.

TDI-Brooks’s RV Proteus will conduct the site, environmental baseline and habitat assessment surveys utilizing side scan, magnetometer, multibeam and sub-bottom profiling.


Year of Polar Prediction
To Improve Polar Assessments

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have begun the international research initiative “Year of Polar Prediction” (YOPP). The goal of the two-year project, which involves partners from more than 20 countries, is to improve weather, ice and climate predictions for the Arctic and Antarctic to achieve more reliable risk assessments for shipping and other human activities, which will help to avoid accidents, and better understand how climate changes at the poles shape weather in the middle latitudes.

Experts working at universities, weather services and research centers will conduct intensive measuring campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic and use the data to create advanced weather, ice and climate models. All data will be shared via the WMO Information System to help forecasting around the world. Polar forecasts can also be factored into socioeconomic decision making.


2017:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT
2016:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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