Archive for 01/27/2012

Becky Bratu –

As he swam toward the coast of Nantucket, Mass. in August 2008, Scott Douglas, 58, watched his yellow fishing boat disappear, carried away by the swelling surf. He thought it would be the last time he’d ever see the Queen Bee.

But yesterday, more than three years after Douglas and his brother-in-law were tossed off the boat by a wave, the U.S. Coast Guard called to say the vessel had washed up on the Spanish coast.

It was rusty and covered in barnacles, but intact. “It looks entirely different,” Douglas said upon seeing the photos.

“That’s amazing.” Douglas remembers the water was restless on the day he set out to sea, and the fish weren’t biting.

He tried to keep the boat stationary, bracing himself as huge rollers crashed into it.

“At all times, it’s a very sketchy area,” Douglas told msnbc.com.

“You wouldn’t want to be dumped in the ocean there.”

But that’s exactly what happened when a rogue wave knocked Douglas and his brother-in-law, Rich St. Pierre, off the boat and into a sink-or-swim fight for survival. Douglas remembers thinking the water was not too cold.

“The only way I was going to survive was just to get started, not tread water,” he said.

Full story…

 

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News 24 –

A huge pool of fresh water in the Arctic Ocean is expanding and could lower the temperature of Europe by causing an ocean current to slow down, British scientists said on Sunday.

Using satellites to measure sea surface height from 1995 to 2010, scientists from University College London and Britain’s National Oceanography Centre found that the western Arctic’s sea surface has risen by about 150mm since 2002.

The volume of fresh water has increased by at least 8 000km³, or about 10% of all the fresh water in the Arctic Ocean. The fresh water comes from melting ice and river run-off.

The rise could be due to strong Arctic winds increasing an ocean current called the Beaufort Gyre, making the sea surface bulge upwards.

The Beaufort Gyre is one of the least understood bodies of water on the planet. It is a slowly swirling body of ice and water north of Alaska, about 10 times bigger than Lake Michigan in the United States.

Some scientists believe the natural rhythms of the gyre could be affected by global warming which could have serious implications for the ocean’s circulation and rising sea levels.

Climate models have suggested that wind blowing on the surface of the sea has formed a raised dome in the middle of the Beaufort Gyre, but there have been few in-depth studies to confirm this.

Full story…

Hydro International –

Responding to requests from the maritime industry and the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Survey is prioritising tasks for the 2012 hydrographic survey season.

The mission is to acquire hydrographic data and update navigational charts for areas with high levels of commercial traffic and passenger cruise ships, and in areas important to the development of strategic resources.

The true Arctic lies ahead for the Office of Coast Survey hydrography and charting in 2012.

This year, Coast Survey will venture the furthest north it has gone in fifty years, with NOAA Ship Fairweather planning to survey the sparsely and inadequately measured depths of the approaches to Red Dog Mine (the world’s largest producer of zinc concentrate) in the Chukchi Sea.

The importance of ensuring the accuracy of charts used by passenger cruise lines is also front and centre, especially following the Costa Concordia tragedy in Italy.

Fairweather is slated to survey Alaskan coastline transited by a major cruise line, and both the Fairweather and Rainier will likely survey Alaska ferry routes as well as other commercial transit areas in the Gulf of Alaska.

Full story…