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Environmental Monitoring

2018:  MARCH

April 2017 Issue

Data Gathering from
Chukchi, Beaufort Seas

ASL and Olgoonik-Fairweather have worked in collaboration with Shell, collecting ice draft, ice drift, current and physical oceanographic data for eight years at 12 sites in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. At each mooring an ice profiling sonar (IPS) is co-located with an ADCP. These provide current velocity profiles and ice drift velocity measurements over time.

The ice draft is calculated using the difference between the pressure and tilt corrected range, and the ice drift velocities provide feature horizontal scales. A conductivity and temperature (CT) sensor provides information on the physical water properties to complete the picture.

Data up to 2014 have been processed and are publicly available from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

UNEP Urges Elimination of Microplastics, Single-Use Plastics
Launching an unprecedented global campaign, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is urging everyone to eliminate the use of microplastics and stop the excessive, wasteful consumption of single-use plastic to save the world’s seas and oceans from irreversible damage.

Through its Clean Seas campaign, the agency has urged countries and businesses to take ambitious measures to eliminate microplastics from personal care products, ban or tax single-use plastic bags, and dramatically reduce other disposable plastic items by 2022.

Ten countries have already joined the initiative with far-reaching pledges, including Indonesia, Uruguay and Costa Rica. Up to 80 percent of all litter in the oceans is made of plastic. As much as 51 trillion microplastic particles—500 times more than the number of stars in our galaxy—litter the seas. Each year, more than 8 million metric tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and cost at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. According to estimates, by 2050, oceans will have more plastic than fish if present trends continue.

Community-Based Debris
Cleanup, Patrol in Hawaii

Hawaii Wildlife Fund is working with neighbor island partners and the NOAA Marine Debris Program to conduct community-based marine debris cleanup events and patrols along remote stretches of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Lanai coastlines. The project runs through June 2018.

The Hawaiian Archipelago is prone to accumulating a high volume of marine debris along its shorelines, in part due to its centralized location within the North Pacific Gyre. Currents bring debris from around the North Pacific to this area, and strong onshore winds blow the debris onto particular coastal locations. Such debris items originate from locations around the Pacific (and beyond) and come in every shape and size imaginable, from tiny microplastics to large derelict vessels. This debris poses numerous threats to marine wildlife that include entanglement, ingestion and habitat degradation, and may act as a potential vector for invasive species and pathogens.

This project expects to remove approximately 55 metric tons (about 120,000 lb.) of marine debris, which will then be recycled, reused or properly disposed of through various support programs.

Collaboration to Improve
Arctic Maritime Awareness

Ball Aerospace and Spire Global, Inc. are collaborating on a program on behalf of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to improve maritime domain awareness (MDA) in the Arctic. Together, Ball and Spire are developing a data collection and analysis platform that monitors maritime traffic in the Arctic, which will enable improved awareness of vessel activity and behaviors.

In association with NGA, Ball and Spire will leverage two existing commercial capabilities to create accurate, near-real-time pictures of maritime activity in the Arctic. Spire’s constellation of nanosatellites capture AIS vessel tracking data over the most remote parts of the globe. The AIS data are then ingested into Ball’s cloud-based data analytics architecture and fused with other commercial geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) data to yield detailed profiles of vessel activity and establish benchmarks in vessel behavior.

With ship traffic through Arctic routes projected to grow 250 percent by 2025 due to melting polar ice, the collaboration between Ball and Spire addresses a critical gap in monitoring maritime vessel patterns.

Statoil Climate Roadmap
Will Reduce Carbon Emissions

Statoil’s new climate roadmap details its targets for carbon dioxide emission reductions and improved energy efficiency and profitable growth in renewables and low-carbon solutions. The carbon emissions from Statoil’s oil and gas production are already at a low level compared to the industry average. With the roadmap, Statoil introduces a new portfolio target for carbon emissions per barrel produced, delivering 20 percent reductions by 2030—from 10 to 8 kg—well below the industry average.

Statoil also announces a new target to reduce emissions from its operations by 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2030, compared to 2017. The company is already on track to deliver 1.2 million tonnes in carbon emissions savings from the Norwegian Continental Shelf by 2018—two years ahead of schedule and 50 percent above the targets established by the Norwegian petroleum industry in 2008.

Delivery of natural gas to replace coal in power production and complement intermittent renewables is part of Statoil’s contribution to a low-carbon future. A study of methane emissions in the entire gas value chain from Norway to Europe demonstrates that emissions are below 0.3 percent, confirming the climate benefits of gas.

Statoil plans to build a material industrial position in profitable renewables and low-carbon solutions, with the potential to constitute 15 to 20 percent of investments by 2030. By 2020, Statoil will direct 25 percent of its research funds to new energy solutions and energy efficiency, including offshore wind, carbon capture and storage and hydrogen.

2018:  MARCH

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