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NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Profile

NOAA National Ocean Service


Official feed for NOAA's National Ocean Service, the nation's premier federal science agency for our ocean and coasts. Find us on Twitter @noaaocean

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NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 21, 2017

Today for we look at what an inch of water is worth. Our nation’s ports are the lifelines of our economy. In 2016, foreign trades through U.S. ports were valued at $1.5 trillion—$475 billion exports and $1.0 trillion imports were moved by vessels. When goods travel through ports, it means they are traveling via ship. NOS is in the business of making sure that mariners—and the goods they are transporting—make it to their destinations safely and quickly. Just as airplane pilots need to know current weather and ground conditions, ship captains need to know exactly what's going on in the water and in the air. NOS monitoring systems supply mariners with the real-time data they need, providing information such as water levels, wind and current speeds and directions, and water temperature. But what does this have to do with that inch of water? A ship needs a certain amount of water in order to float and not touch bottom. This water depth is called the ship’s “draft.” The more cargo a ship carries, the more the ship will weigh, meaning it will sink more and require more draft. Even a slight decrease in the depth of a waterway will require a ship to reduce the amount of cargo it is carrying. On the flipside, more water means more cargo. This, in turn, translates into fewer trips needed to transport goods. With one more inch of draft, a ship can transport an additional: - 36 John Deere tractors, worth more than $2.4 million - 9,600 laptop computers, valued at $8.5 million - 358,000 pounds of wheat, worth more than $30,000 - 1,540 55-inch televisions, worth approximately $3 million

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 20, 2017

Feeling a bit stuck today? Today's ocean fact explore the nautical term--doldrums--that sailors around the world know for getting stuck on windless waters. Known to sailors around the world as the doldrums, the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, (ITCZ, pronounced and sometimes referred to as the “itch”), is a belt around the Earth extending approximately five degrees north and south of the equator. Here, the prevailing trade winds of the northern hemisphere blow to the southwest and collide with the southern hemisphere’s driving northeast trade winds. Due to intense solar heating near the equator, the warm, moist air is forced up into the atmosphere like a hot air balloon. As the air rises, it cools, causing persistent bands of showers and storms around the Earth’s midsection. The rising air mass finally subsides in what is known as the horse latitudes, where the air moves downward toward Earth’s surface. Because the air circulates in an upward direction, there is often little surface wind in the ITCZ. That is why sailors well know that the area can becalm sailing ships for weeks. And that’s why they call it the doldrums. fact

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 20, 2017

Historic shipwrecks. Colorful coral reefs. Amazing marine wildlife. NOAA's national marine sanctuaries and estuarine research reserves offer all this and more to diving enthusiasts in coastal U.S. states and territories. NOAA sanctuaries and reserves are protected areas that help us conserve these special coastal and marine places for future generations, while still enjoying all they have to offer today. Diving is just one of many recreational opportunities available at our these sites. A few tips to help you safely enjoy your diving adventure: -Don't collect underwater souvenirs. Leave these behind for others to enjoy. -Enjoy viewing marine mammals and wildlife from a safe distance. -If you see corals, please don't touch. Keep your fins, gear, and hands away from coral reefs, as this contact can hurt you and will damage delicate coral animals. For more on safe diving practices, visit In this photo, divers in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. life

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 19, 2017

Today's ocean trivia--how much of the ocean have we explored? The ocean is the lifeblood of Earth, covering more than 70 percent of the planet's surface, driving weather, regulating temperature, and ultimately supporting all living organisms. Throughout history, the ocean has been a vital source of sustenance, transport, commerce, growth, and inspiration. Yet for all of our reliance on the ocean, 95 percent of this realm remains unexplored, unseen by human eyes. NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research is leading efforts to explore the ocean by supporting expeditions to investigate and document unknown and poorly known areas of the ocean. These expeditions represent a bold and innovative approach by infusing teams of scientist-explorers with a "Lewis and Clark" spirit of discovery and equipping them with the latest exploration tools. From mapping and describing the physical, biological, geological, chemical, and archaeological aspects of the ocean to understanding ocean dynamics, developing new technologies, and helping us all unlock the secrets of the ocean, NOAA is working to increase our understanding of the ocean realm. exploration

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 19, 2017

Good news for ! After three years the global event is likely over, scientists say. Though some areas will still experience high ocean temperatures, the threat of reef overheating has subsided around the globe. The latest NOAA forecast shows that widespread coral bleaching is no longer occurring in all three ocean basins – Atlantic, Pacific and Indian – indicating the likely end to the global coral bleaching event. Scientists will closely monitor sea surface temperatures and bleaching over the next six months to confirm the event’s end. In this photo, a bleached colony of table Acropora at Fagatele Bay, Tutuila, American Samoa.

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 18, 2017

Have you ever wondered what an oceanographer does? Oceanography covers a wide range of topics, including marine life and ecosystems, ocean circulation, plate tectonics and the geology of the seafloor, and the chemical and physical properties of the ocean. Just as there are many specialties within the medical field, there are many disciplines within oceanography. - Biological oceanographers and marine biologists study plants and animals in the marine environment. They are interested in the numbers of marine organisms and how these organisms develop, relate to one another, adapt to their environment, and interact with it. - Chemical oceanographers and marine chemists study the composition of seawater, its processes and cycles, and the chemical interaction of seawater with the atmosphere and seafloor. Their work may include analysis of seawater components, the effects of pollutants, and the impacts of chemical processes on marine organisms. - Geological oceanographers and marine geologists explore the ocean floor and the processes that form its mountains, canyons, and valleys. Through sampling, they look at millions of years of history of sea-floor spreading, plate tectonics, and oceanic circulation and climates. - Physical oceanographers study the physical conditions and processes within the ocean such as waves, currents, eddies, gyres and tides; the transport of sand on and off beaches; coastal erosion; and the interactions of the atmosphere and the ocean. ographer jobs

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 17, 2017

Did you know sonar uses sound waves to 'see' underwater? Sonar, short for Sound Navigation and Ranging, is helpful for exploring and mapping the ocean because sound waves travel farther in the water than do radar and light waves. NOAA scientists primarily use sonar to develop nautical charts, locate underwater hazards to navigation, search for and map objects on the seafloor such as shipwrecks, and map the seafloor itself. This image shows a sunken car that was found by Ocean Surveys, Inc., one of NOAA Coast Survey’s contract vessels, while surveying in Jamaica Bay, New York, in response to Super Storm Sandy.

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 16, 2017

DYK that baby sea turtles hatch from their nest en masse and then rush to the sea all together? This strategy increases their chances of surviving waiting predators. About this video: Sea turtle hatchlings journey to the ocean during the 2013 nesting season in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida. This video was captured by a National Park Service professional. Please stay clear of nesting sea turtles and hatchlings, which are protected by law on all U.S. shores.

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 15, 2017

It's day 15 of our and we're wondering -- have you ever heard of a "dead zone"? Not to be confused with "The Twilight Zone"...a dead zone is a more common term for hypoxia, which refers to a reduced level of oxygen in the water. Less oxygen dissolved in the water is often referred to as a “dead zone” because most marine life either dies, or, if they are mobile such as fish, leave the area. Habitats that would normally be teeming with life become, essentially, biological deserts. Hypoxic zones can occur naturally, but scientists are concerned about the areas created or enhanced by human activity. There are many physical, chemical, and biological factors that combine to create dead zones, but nutrient pollution is the primary cause of those zones created by humans. Excess nutrients that run off land or are piped as wastewater into rivers and coasts can stimulate an overgrowth of algae, which then sinks and decomposes in the water. The decomposition process consumes oxygen and depletes the supply available to healthy marine life. Dead zones occur in many areas of the country, particularly along the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes, but there is no part of the country or the world that is immune. The second largest dead zone in the world is located in the U.S., in the northern Gulf of Mexico. fact

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 14, 2017

Today's fact explores microplastics. Plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris found in our ocean and Great Lakes. Plastic debris can come in all shapes and sizes, but those that are less than five millimeters in length (or about the size of a sesame seed) are called “microplastics.” Microplastics come from a variety of sources, including from larger plastic debris that degrades into smaller and smaller pieces. In addition, microbeads, a type of microplastic, are very tiny pieces of manufactured polyethylene plastic that are added as exfoliants to health and beauty products, such as some cleansers and toothpastes. These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in the ocean and Great Lakes, posing a potential threat to aquatic life. Microbeads are not a recent problem. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, plastic microbeads first appeared in personal care products about fifty years ago, with plastics increasingly replacing natural ingredients. As recently as 2012, this issue was still relatively unknown, with an abundance of products containing plastic microbeads on the market and not a lot of awareness on the part of consumers. This image shows microplastics observed during the 2014 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands marine debris removal mission. fact

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 13, 2017

Today's ocean fact of the day...What are beach advisories and beach closures? Beach advisories and beach closures occur when water testing reveals the presence of one or more contaminants that exceed healthy standards. A beach advisory leaves it up to users as to whether they wish to risk going into the water. In the case of a beach closure, the state and/or local government decides that water conditions are unsafe for swimmers and other users. How can beach-goers avoid the disappointment of arriving at their summer vacation destination only to find that authorities advise them not to swim there or that the beaches are closed altogether? Unfortunately, there is no central database that provides information on beach closures and advisories in real time. The best way to find information on the current water quality of a particular beach is to plan ahead. In some cases, warning signs will be posted to alert people of the potential risk of illness from contact with the water. Signs may be placed for short-term problems or more permanent ones, when, for example, repeated monitoring indicates ongoing contamination. Shown here: Coastal areas within the National Park Service's Golden Gate National Recreational Area in San Francisco Bay, California, were closed to visitors during the Cosco Busan oil spill in 2007. fact

NOAA National Ocean Service @noaaocean Instagram Photo / Video — Jun 12, 2017

Catcher beaches just can't catch a break! Just what exactly is a catcher beach? A catcher beach refers to any place where marine debris tends to pile up or aggregate. Not to be confused with a dumping ground or heavily trashed public beach, a catcher beach typically receives its accumulations of debris due to its shape and location in combination with high-energy waves, storms, or winds. Awareness and common knowledge of these types of areas vary significantly by state, although many states have a good understanding of where catcher beaches are located. In many cases, catcher beaches are found in remote areas that are difficult to access and can be challenging in terms of debris cleanup and removal. This image shows a classic example of a catcher beach along the shores of Hawaii.