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Environmental Monitoring

2018:  MARCH

August 2017 Issue

OSIL Provides Buoy System For Patagonia Monitoring
The University of Los Lagos (Chile) has installed an oceanographic observation system manufactured by Ocean Scientific International Ltd. (OSIL) in the Seno de Reloncaví (Reloncaví Sound) immediately south of Puerto Montt in southern Chile, the first of its kind in the Patagonian region.

The 1.9-m buoy system was designed to accommodate and integrate the instrument package required by the university project. The deployment bracket holds an ADCP and a current meter 5 m below the buoy on the mooring assembly and includes a swivel to prevent entanglements, while the secure top frame accommodates a compact weather station measuring wind speed/direction, temperature, relative humidity and barometric pressure, and includes a GPS unit.

The buoy was supplied with two AML Metrec•XL multiparameter sondes to measure temperature, salinity, oxygen, pH, chlorophyll a and turbidity. Data from the buoy are relayed to a shore-side base station via GSM.

The project is intended to detect early-warning signs of harmful environmental changes such as red tides, algae bloom, fish mortality, volcanic eruptions and extreme weather events. The data gathered will also serve as a reference for all stakeholders in Los Lagos’s marine ecosystem.

Carbon Dioxide Can Lead
To Abrupt Climate Changes

During the last glacial period, within only a few decades, the influence of atmospheric CO2 on the North Atlantic circulation resulted in temperature increases of up to 10° C in Greenland, as indicated by new climate calculations from researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and the University of Cardiff. Their study is the first to confirm that there have been situations in our planet’s history in which gradually rising CO2 concentrations have set off abrupt changes in ocean circulation and climate at tipping points. These sudden changes, or Dansgaard-Oeschger events, have been observed in ice cores collected in Greenland. It’s uncertain whether rising CO2 levels will produce similar effects in the future because the framework conditions today differ from those in a glacial period.

OceanWise, Seatronics Complete
Water, Temp Monitoring Project

OceanWise and Seatronics have completed a three-year project to design, install and deliver a network of 34 water level and temperature monitoring stations for Bayanat LLC in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Water level is being measured using Valeport VRS-20 radars, and water temperature is being measured using PT100 sensors from General Acoustics. All equipment is solar powered and housed in Valeport’s TideStation enclosures. Communication with the stations occurs via the smart telemetry unit, the ip.buffer, from OceanWise over UAE’s cellular network.

Toxin Remains 40 Years After
Discharge into James River

A recent report from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science offers mixed news concerning Kepone contamination in the James River. About a third of fish samples from the James contain no detectable trace of this now-banned pesticide, but two-thirds still do—more than 40 years after its discharge into the river was first reported.

None of the fish had Kepone levels above the “action limit” established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to control levels of contaminants in human food.

Kepone in fish tissues has continued to decline exponentially since 1980 and should be near or below the detection limit in all samples by 2020 or 2025 if current trends continue, but the fact that 65 percent of fish still have reportable Kepone concentrations shows just how difficult it is to rid an ecosystem of a persistent toxic chemical.

Tackling Land Sources of Marine
Debris in US Virgin Islands

The University of the Virgin Islands is teaming up with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to reduce land-based sources of marine debris in the U.S. Virgin Islands through a targeted ridge-to-reef and watershed educational and outreach program. The project runs from August 2016 to December 2017.

Approximately 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources and enters the marine environment in a number of ways, such as through ineffective or improper waste management, lack of recycling options, littering, illegal dumping, or through streams and stormwater runoff. Marine debris can damage habitats, harm wildlife and have negative economic impacts on coastal communities.

Observing Antarctica via
Highly Precise Positioning

At the end of last year, the DemoGRAPE consortium observed for the first time ever ionospheric scintillations on Galileo signals in Antarctica, using Septentrio’s PolaRx5S GNSS reference receiver.

DemoGRAPE investigates improvement of high-precision satellite positioning with a view to developing scientific and technological applications in Antarctica. At higher latitudes, GNSS signal degradation due to ionospheric activity is more pronounced. The more precise phase-based positioning modes are particularly vulnerable to ionosphere disturbance such as scintillations. Elevated ionospheric activity can cause a loss of precise-positioning mode or, in more extreme cases, a total loss of signal lock.

Arctic Winter Warming
On the Rise

Arctic winter warming events—winter days when temperatures peak above -10° C—are a normal part of the Arctic climate over the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, but new research finds they are becoming more frequent and lasting longer than they did three decades ago.

A new study analyzing winter air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean from 1893 to 2017 shows that since 1980, an additional six Arctic winter warming events are occurring each winter at the North Pole, and these events are lasting about 12 hours longer, on average, the American Geophysical Union reported.

Warmer winter air temperatures may further impede ice growth and expansion, accelerating the effects of global warming in the Arctic. The study attributes the increase in warming events to an increase in major storms in the Arctic.

2018:  MARCH

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