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Environmental Monitoring

2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH

February 2013 Issue

Extreme-Weather Monthly Records Broken Across US
In 2012, the U.S. had 3,527 monthly weather records for heat, rain and snow broken by extreme weather events, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). In 2011, 3,251 records were broken.

The hottest March on record occurred in the contiguous U.S. in 2012, and July was the hottest single month on record in the lower 48 states. As a whole, 2012 was the warmest year ever recorded in the U.S., according to NOAA’s State of the Climate report.

An interactive map at www.nrdc.org/extremeweather ranks all 50 states for the percentage of weather stations reporting at least one monthly heat record broken in 2012. The 10 states showing the highest percentage with new heat records are: Tennessee (36 percent), Wisconsin (31 percent), Minnesota (30 percent), Illinois (29 percent), Indiana (28 percent), Nevada (27 percent), West Virginia (26 percent), Maine (26 percent), Colorado (25 percent) and Maryland (24 percent). The Upper Midwest, Northeast, northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states were hard-hit regions.

NOAA has estimated that 2012 will surpass 2011 in aggregate costs for U.S. annual billion-dollar disasters. Hurricane Sandy, for instance, cost an estimated $79 billion, with at least 131 deaths reported.

From 1980 through 2011, the frequency of weather-related extreme events in North America nearly quintupled, rising more rapidly than anywhere else in the world, according to the insurance company Munich RE.

The Wärtsilä Corp. (Helsinki, Finland) AQUARIUS UV Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) has been granted type approval in accordance with the 2004 International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention for the control and management of ships’ ballast water and sediments.

AQUARIUS UV is the first system to have been fully endorsed and type approved by the flag administration of the Netherlands.

Upon uptake, seawater is passed through the system’s backwashing screen-type filter. It then passes through a UV chamber to disinfect the water before entering the ballast tank. On discharge, water from the ballast tank is pumped through the UV chamber for a second time to complete the disinfection process.

The AQUARIUS range of BWMS became part of the Wärtsilä portfolio with the acquisition of Hamworthy plc (Poole, England) in January 2012.

US Coast Guard Releases Answers To Ballast Water Questions
The U.S. Coast Guard has posted Volume II of ballast water management frequently asked questions at http://bit.ly/SFWuux. It includes answers to questions on alternate management system (AMS) determination, type approval application and the process for type approval without using existing data.

Regina Bergner is given as the primary point of contact for questions from applicants regarding the status of an AMS review. She may be reached at Regina.R.Bergner@uscg.mil or 202-372-1431.

To apply for type approval on the basis of existing data, the manufacturer has to prepare a dossier of all the testing and evaluation data and information from the foreign type approval.

Manufacturers considering applications for type approval based on existing data can discuss the acceptability of the original testing organization, before proceeding with preparing and submitting a full application, with Ken Hettler at Kenneth.A.Hettler@uscg.mil or 202-372-1367.

If there is no existing data, the manufacturer has to arrange, independently of the Coast Guard, for testing and evaluation by an independent lab listed at: http://cgmix.uscg.mil.

The Coast Guard does not charge a fee for reviewing AMS and type approval applications.

Strategy Develops to Improve Adriatic, Ionian Sea Region
The European Commission has adopted a maritime strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian seas to develop a stronger blue economy, a healthier marine environment, a safer maritime space and responsible fishing. This is the first initiative of its kind in the Mediterranean sea basin.

The economic priority areas include: stimulating the creation of maritime clusters and research networks, and formulating a research strategy to spur innovation; increasing workforce skills and mobility; supporting the sustainable development of coastal and maritime tourism; and creating new jobs and business opportunities in aquaculture through research and innovation.

Other priorities are: optimizing transport links by developing a regional, integrated, demand-based, low-carbon maritime transportation network, with emphasis on island connectivity; reducing marine litter and improving waste management in coastal areas; and modernizing fishing activities through better compliance, conservation, transfer of information, and cooperation on enforcement and control.

The strategy, which is part of the Integrated Maritime Policy of the European Union that already includes strategies for the Baltic and Atlantic seas, will be implemented in 2013 through an action plan to be jointly developed with the region’s stakeholders.

OSIL Buoys to Monitor Trending Conditions on Lake Victoria
OSIL (Havant, England) has completed the installation of two data buoys along Lake Victoria in Kenya to help monitor various environmental concerns, including contamination of the lake water.

The 5-meter-tall buoys, measuring 2.6 meters in diameter, will relay real-time data to base stations at 15-to-30-minute intervals. The data will then be analyzed and studied for trending changes to the lake’s environment.

In addition to monitoring atmospheric components of the lake, such as moisture, oxygen levels and temperature, the sensors on the data buoys will also measure wind direction and levels of potentially harmful chemicals in the lake.

By better understanding the environment, one benefit is that fishermen will have real-time information on wind patterns, helping them to avoid being trapped by regions of floating hyacinth blown across the lake.

2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH

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