Volume 1, Issue 4 • July 2008 Highlighting the achievements of NOAA people around the world Boy Scout Badge Day at NOAA Caren Madsen, NOAA Office of Communications In This Issue Meet Claire Fackler ………….…….. 2 Q&A with Dr. Carol Auer……..…… 3 New International Partnerships….. 4 Satellites Help Fight Wildfires…… 6 NOAA Launches New Economics Web Site Julie Bedford, NOAA Office of Communications From quantifying the economic benefits to the aviation industry by improving satellite imagers and sounders, to detailing the costs of erosion from past hurricanes, NOAA’s new Economics Web site provides hundreds of examples of how NOAA’s science brings value to the American people. NOAA's National Climatic Data Center partnered with NOAA's Boy Scouts fashion their own anemometers as part of their Weather badge Office of Program Planning and requirements. Photo credit: Caren Madsen. Integration to develop this new Web site highlighting the economic Be prepared. The message is simple. The motto has been used by the Boy aspects of NOAA’s products and Scouts since 1907, was later adopted by the Girl Scouts, and is an important part services. of NOAA’s ongoing message to the public when extreme weather is predicted. “We often hear that NOAA As 17 Boy Scout troops prepared to visit NOAA’s Silver Spring campus in impacts most everyone each mid-June to work on a weather merit badge, a tornado struck an 1,800-acre Boy day. This Web site gives hundreds Scout camp in Iowa, killing four and injuring dozens of the almost 100 present. In of examples of exactly how big that press stories, survivors told of using their Boy Scout emergency preparedness impact is. We hope it will provide and First Aid training to help out in the crisis. people with a new understanding “When we planned the badge program for the Boy Scouts, we had no idea and appreciation for the benefits of we would be presenting this in the wake of such a tragic loss for the boys,” said NOAA’s products and services,” Susan Buchanan of the NOAA Communications Office, who led the program and said NCDC’s Adam Smith, who led is active in Scouting with her 13-year-old son. “For the boys who visited our the project’s development across Silver Spring campus, they lost Boy Scout brothers that week.” NOAA. (continued on page 8) (continued on page 7) NOAA WORLD Volume 1, Issue 4 • July 2008 Page 2 NOAA WORLD A Passion for the Ocean Leads to Life Work and The NOAA WORLD newsletter Photography is published monthly by the From an island girl exploring tide pools to an amateur photographer who documents the NOAA Office of underwater world of America’s ocean and coastal treasures. Communications. Additional stories, news, Claire J. Fackler, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA National Ocean Service photos, videos and other information resources, continuously updated, I have always been fascinated with the ocean and marine life. This stemmed from can be found at the being born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands, and as a little girl, investigating tide NOAA WORLD website: pools and strapping on a mask and snorkel to observe life in the sea. Throughout my www.noaaworld.noaa.gov childhood, I was absorbed by nature. It was quite easy, considering I grew up without electricity for ten years on the slopes of Mauna Kea and wasn’t distracted by television We welcome your comments or video games. Through these childhood experiences, my passion for the ocean and and suggestions to make the environment grew. NOAA WORLD more useful. During my high school years in Hawaii, I had an opportunity to assist with research Please email our editors at on threatened Hawaiian green sea firstname.lastname@example.org. turtles conducted by George Balazs of NOAA Fisheries. Managing Editors Working with sea turtles, as well as Jeffrey Donald with pinniped (seals and sea lions) Janet Ward rehabilitation in California and other exciting projects provided valuable Line Office Editors field experience and fueled my ambition to promote ocean NOAA Satellite and conservation. Working with marine Information Service life had a profound impact on my John Leslie future, although I hadn’t realized it until a few years after college when NOAA Fisheries Service I started as a volunteer for the Capt. Michael S. Gallagher Channel Islands National Marine Edward Gorecki Sanctuary in California. I graduated with a bachelor of NOAA National arts degree in psychology from the Ocean Service University of California, Santa Katherine Nielsen Claire J. Fackler Barbara, which is quite an unconventional degree for Photo courtesy, Claire J. Fackler. NOAA National someone working for our country’s Weather Service leading oceanic and atmospheric agency. Yet this passion I have always had for the John Skoda ocean allowed me the opportunity to work for NOAA. Anything is possible as long as you have the passion and diligence. This is an important message I often impart to the NOAA Research school children with whom I work. Barry Reichenbaugh Since 1999, I have been working for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, and I am currently a National Education Liaison for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. I NOAA Office of Marine work with various partners, such as the National Geographic Society and the Institute and Aviation Operations for Exploration, on national and regional educational programs that enhance public Jeanne Kouhestani awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the marine environment. My interests in photography and in telling stories through compelling images NOAA Office of expanded during a six-month trip around the world when I began photo documenting Education my personal experiences to share with friends and family. Then armed with my first Robert Hansen off-the-shelf underwater capable camera and continued positive reinforcement, I was able to expand my photography to capture the beauty of many of America’s NOAA WORLD underwater treasures -- our national marine sanctuaries. Design/Web Master Despite taking pictures with an ordinary point and shoot camera, many of my Janet Ward pictures have been published widely, from The Ocean Conservancy Magazine to Julie Bedford (continued on page 3) NOAA WORLD Volume 1, Issue 4 • July 2008 Page 3 Claire (continued from page 2) National Geographic Society’s Strange Days on Planet Earth. Anyone interested in photography as a hobby should know that you can certainly get good results with low cost equipment, and as the technology evolves, your results will improve. As an avid diver who spends time underwater for work and for fun, I have captured images ranging from playful sea lions in the kelp forests of the Channel Islands to basking green sea turtles in Hawaii. During a 28-day research trip to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in summer 2006, I witnessed first-hand the human impacts on the marine life and sea birds of these remote, uninhabited atolls and islands. As a result, I now am committed not only to share images of the splendor and magnificence of the ocean world, but also of the tragic impacts humans are having on our blue planet. This photo of a colorful anemone from NOAA’s Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary is just one of Claire’s beautiful photos that are showcased on the NOAA WORLD web site. Photo credit: Claire Fackler. Visit www.noaaworld.noaa.gov/people/jul2008_people_1.html for the full story. Interview with a Scientist from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Bud Ward, NOAA National Ocean Service This interview with Dr. Carol Auer, NCCOS Oceanographer, focused on her project titled “Ecological Effects of Sea-Level Rise.” The interview was completed in April 2007. Carol Auer is an oceanographer for the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science’s Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (NCCOS/CSCOR) in Silver Spring, Md. Much of Carol’s current work focuses on managing a scientific research program called “The Ecological Effects of Sea-Level Rise.” This research seeks to improve capabilities to predict future water levels and effects of predicted sea-level rise and extreme storm events on the coastal ecology. One goal of the pilot project, located in North Carolina, is to develop mapping and modeling tools to help coastal managers plan for the future. Carol speaks enthusiastically of this project, which builds on her earlier work on tidal analysis, and capitalizes on the professional bonds she established throughout her Dr. Carol Auer career with numerous NOAA offices. Photo credit: NOAA Q: Do you feel a personal sense of urgency for the work you are doing now, given the increased attention on potential sea-level rise? Dr. Auer: I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Md. My dad grew up on a small island in Virginia -- one of two in the Chesapeake Bay that continues to have a resident human population. His father made his living on the water as an oyster fisherman -- running a classic Chesapeake Bay skipjack out of Tangier Island. Only two meters above mean sea level at its highest point, Tangier Island is (continued on page 6) NOAA WORLD Volume 1, Issue 4 • July 2008 Page 4 NOAA Takes-A-Kid-Fishing As an American pastime, angling generates more than $30 billion in economic impact and provides over 350,000 jobs. Take-A-Kid-Fishing continues to introduce young Christopher Hayes people to a great American tradition. Knauss Fellow, NOAA Fisheries Service On June 2, approximately 350 elementary and middle school students from the Washington, DC area converged on Constitution Gardens, a pond on the National Mall, to participate in the annual Take-A-Kid-Fishing event. Take-A-Kid-Fishing is a free event designed to introduce area youth to the joys of fishing. The students learned to cast, tie a hook, and bait the hook. While the day was a bit short on actual fish, there was plenty of enthusiasm and sunshine. NOAA Fisheries Service’s Partnerships and Communications Division coordinated the event with the Department of the Interior, DC Fisheries Program, and the non-profit Recreational Forbes Darby of NOAA Fisheries Service, Partnerships and Boating and Fishing Foundation. Communications Division teaches a student to tie a hook. Photo Credit: Christopher Hayes, NOAA Fisheries Service. NOAA Science Gets a Boost from on Cooperation in Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences with Ifremer (“French Research Institute for Exploitation of the New International Partnerships Sea"). Ifremer coordinates bilateral partnership agreements with Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Daniel Parry, Office of Communications European countries related to international research studies NOAA Research on climate, environment, and biodiversity. The current MOU emphasizes cooperation in coastal and marine resource NOAA Under Secretary Conrad Lautenbacher, Jr. management, climate science and ocean observation recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) systems, and ocean exploration. This agreement built on links NOAA and Ifremer developed by holding a joint High- Level Ocean Science Workshop at Ifremer in 2006. Specific projects to be developed under the new MOU will be defined during a workshop to be held in 2009 in the United States. In addition, Richard W. Spinrad, assistant administrator, NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and Toshihiko Chiba, director, Washington D.C. Office of Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology met at NOAA’s Silver Spring office to formalize a joint MOU signed in Japan earlier this month by JAMSTEC President Yasuhiro Kato. This MOU establishes a framework encouraging joint activities related to ocean and climate research and technology development. “This agreement helps to increase the benefits and ef- fectiveness of mutual programs related to ocean and climate,” said Spinrad. “By expanding collaboration among scientists, our agencies are equipped to reciprocate facility Dr. Spinrad, with JAMSTEC representative Toshihiko and cost sharing and technical data vital to the advancement Chiba, formalize an MOU beneficial to marine science and technology development between the two agencies. (continued on page 8) Photo credit: NOAA. NOAA WORLD Volume 1, Issue 4 • July 2008 Page 5 NOAA Honors Vision to Create Mauna NOAA BIG Awards Students who will Loa Observatory ‘Shape the Future’ Jana Goldman, Office of Communications Othel Freeman, NOAA BIG, NOAA National Ocean Service NOAA Research Dr. Robert Simpson thought 60 years ago that the area around Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano would make an “incomparable natural laboratory.” He was honored for that vision with NOAA’s Environmental Hero Award for Longtime Achievement during a July 2 ceremony in the NOAA Library in Silver Spring, Md. Barbara Tobe, Colleen Payne, Jonmarc Winfield, Irene Val-Addo, and Othel Freeman. Photo credit: Anthony Robinson. The NOAA Chapter of Blacks in Government recently hosted a ceremony to honor 2008 scholarship award win- ners. This year’s event hosted entrepreneurs, a former recipient, the parents of the present recipients, NOAA employees, and a host of other supporters. This year’s award winners are Irene Val-Addo and Jonmarc Winfield. Irene will attend the University of Mary- land and plans to major in Biochemistry. Jonmarc is go- ing to Virginia Tech to major in Mechanical Engineering. Both students gave speeches and shared with the audi- ence their career goals and gratitude for receiving the scholarship. Ms. Othel Freeman, President, NOAA Chapter BIG, Dr. Richard Spinrad and Dr. Robert Simpson. opened the program with a warm welcome and words of Photo credit: NOAA. encouragement to the students. The program’s theme, “Shape the Future,” emphasized to young scholars how to broaden their horizons through areas in academia. Dr. Simpson, whose name is more familiar as A former recipient, Alexis Tobe, challenged the stu- co-creator of the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, was joined dents to learn to their full potential and to strive to achieve at the ceremony by his wife, Dr. Joanne Simpson -- also a their dreams. meteorologist -- and daughters Lynn Gramzow and Peggy Guest Speaker Colleen Payne, President and CEO of Simpson. Universal Adaptive Consulting Services, spoke about her The award was presented by Dr. Richard Spinrad, experiences as an entrepreneur and her lessons on Assistant Administrator for NOAA Research. success. “I don’t need to overemphasize just how important the Michael Washington, a former NOAA meteorologist, idea, the concept, and then the manifestation of that gave a musical performance. concept in terms of the development of the Mauna Loa NOAA BIG scholarships are given out annually, Observatory truly are,” Dr. Spinrad said. “We are primarily to the children of NOAA employees. NOAA BIG extraordinarily dedicated to you, sir, for your foresight, your has given more than $46,000 over the years through the vision, and for making that happen.” continued generosity of NOAA employees and the com- Following the award presentation, Dr. Simpson talked munity via the Combined Federal Campaign funds. about his memories of Mauna Loa and the creativity needed The criteria for applying for a scholarship include to start something extraordinarily new in such a remote maintaining a 3.0 grade point average, demonstrating location. leadership skills and participating in community outreach. (continued on page 8) NOAA WORLD Volume 1, Issue 4 • July 2008 Page 6 Auer NOAA Satellites Help in Effort to (continued from page 3) Fight Wildfires vulnerable to both sea-level rise and land subsidence threat- John Leslie, NOAA Office of Communications ening its very existence. When I was a little girl, I went there all the time. I always The 2008 wildfire season is off to a brutal start, felt that the Chesapeake Bay was my heritage as the with almost three million acres torched in the United daughter and granddaughter of Chesapeake Bay watermen. States through July 9. California has been hardest hit from fires, triggered in most cases by lightning strikes Q: How does your earlier career work with NOAA tie throughout the parched landscape. into the sea-level rise project you are working on now? January – June 2008 ranks third behind the same Dr. Auer: Starting in the 1970s, when I was at the Center period for 2006 and 2002 in the amount of burnt for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services acreage, according to the National Interagency Fire (CO-OPS), my colleagues and I completed work analyzing Center (NIFC). water level and coastal current oceanographic products, such From space, NOAA geostationary and as measuring and predicting tides throughout the nation. We polar-orbiting satellites are critical in detecting and also measured storms and hurricane changes in water levels. monitoring the movement of these blazes, providing This project brings together people I worked with through- invaluable information to firefighters on the ground. out my whole career in NOAA, and the work we have been Each day, NOAA’s spacecraft provide 200 images of doing with tide and bathymetric data over the years. the fires, pinpointing their current location and size. It validates our gathering of these hourly data from the At the new NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in beginning, when we were working with mainframe computers Suitland, Md., data and images of the wildfires are and punch cards. I remember the first time I saw a tide curve captured from the spacecraft and are used to develop being printed. I was just amazed to see 1 day of water level fire weather forecasts. information displayed visually rather than as numerical data! NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), the U.S. Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Q: You mentioned working with primitive computer Agency and state and local land and air quality manag- technologies at the beginning of your career. What ers use fire and smoke products produced by NOAA’s current technologies support your work on sea-level Satellite and Information Service. rise? “Satellite detection of fires and hotspots provides Dr. Auer: The power of the modern computer is amazing. valuable information about the location of emerging fire In the North Carolina Sea-level Rise Project, the final product problems,” said Heath Hockenberry, a fire weather is a landscape model focused at the mid-range and program leader at NIFC. long-range, temporal and spatial scales for a watershed in “These satellite images are pivotal to the onsite eastern North Carolina. Through this model, users can fire weather meteorologist, because it keeps them explore the hydrodynamics and wetland interactions in this aware of new fire locations and points out the potential estuarine area that are projected to occur in the next 10 to problem areas for others,” said NOAA’s George 100 years. The model includes morphological, biological, Serafino. “In a real sense, the satellites are helping hydrodynamic, and landscape change sub-modules, all government officials stay ahead of emerging fires, interacting with each other to predict coastal habitat change. allowing them time to position resources to the best Horizontal resolution at 500 meters, five centimeters of areas.” vertical resolution, time frame is 100 years, and a time step of Along with satellite coverage, part of NOAA’s one day. We have the advantage of being involved with the operational fire and smoke program includes the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), which will tremen- Hazard Mapping System (HMS), which spots the wild- dously increase computational power through the use of high fires and tracks the smoke. The HMS uses NOAA and performance computing. NASA satellites to follow smoke from all wildfires burn- ing throughout North America and highlights the fires emitting the most smoke. A small team of meteorologists at the World Weather Building, in Camp Springs, Md., monitor swirling smoke plumes. They use the satellite imagery To read more of our interview with Dr. Auer visit to identify the thickest areas of smoke, which can NOAA WORLD online at: travel thousands of miles from the source fire. Using http://www.noaaworld.noaa.gov/scitech/jul2008_scitech_5.html the HMS, data is provided to air quality forecast models that will provide guidance to users throughout (continued on page 7) NOAA WORLD Volume 1, Issue 4 • July 2008 Page 7 Be Prepared Wildfires (continued from page 1) (continued from page 6) Weather safety and preparedness were two of the country for the ensuing 48 hours. several topics the Scouts learned about in meeting “The smoke from these fires can be extremely harmful to air their weather merit badge requirements. The quality, which is a real threat to health and public safety,” said Mark weather merit badge dates back to 1927. Other Ruminski, a fire team lead with NOAA’s Satellite and Information topics included an introduction to weather, clouds, Service. the water cycle, precipitation, acid rain, and The HMS was created in 2001, three years after smoke from weather forecasting. Mexican fires blanketed the southern United States. That episode As the Scouts moved from prompted the NWS’ Storm Prediction Center to request integrated station to station satellite imagery and automated fire detection into a daily fire and throughout the building, smoke product. they learned the causes of “Our job is to closely track the smoke from fires, and develop high and low pressure, the products that help everyone on the ground know where the fires difference between warm are and where the potentially damaging smoke is headed,” and cold fronts, as well as Ruminski added. what causes wind, lightning, and hail. There were also hands-on activities in which they had the opportunity to build simple weather instruments, such as rain gauges and anemometers, which they would later use to take weather observations as part of the merit badge requirements. At the end of the day, each Scout received a certificate of completion along with a list of requirements they needed to meet in order to earn their badges. In addition to the learning stations, the Scouts attended a career panel in which they learned about different types of jobs in meteorology. The panel included Chris Strong, warning coordination meteorologist at Sterling, VA, Bill Blackmore, from the NWS Upper Air Radiosonde Program, and Joe Witte, a broadcast meteorologist from WJLA-TV in Washington, DC. They were also treated to a bit of weather "edutainment" in the form of the interactive games "Leon Lightning" (which teaches lightning safety) and "Weather Jeopardy" (which focused on material learned throughout the day). The weather merit badge program at NOAA HMS fire product showing fire analysis. had been in the making for five weeks prior to the Available at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/FIRE/hms.html Iowa tragedy and may become a model for a national program based on the success of the June event. A plan is also underway for Girl Scout Visit NOAA World online at www.noaaworld.noaa.gov troops from the Silver Spring area to visit NOAA in for additional stories such as these: the fall of 2008 to work on merit badges related to weather and the environment. • Award-winning year for NOAA publications • NOAA Launches PORTS® at Gulfport • NOAA and Mexico Celebrate World Hydrology Day • NOAA Ships Rescue 5 • NOAA Restores Louisiana Coastline • Lubbock NWS Office Helps Make-A-Wish • ESRL Scientists Win Award for Protecting Ozone Layer NOAA WORLD Volume 1, Issue 4 • July 2008 Page 8 Economics Web Site MOU (continued from page 1) (continued from page 4) The economic information highlighted on the Web site was collected from more than 150 sources of peer-reviewed literature and is organized by of marine science.” NOAA mission goal. Each goal is further broken down to provide information Collaborative research on tsunami based on data users, environmental extreme events and NOAA observing detection and warning, global climate systems. modeling, effects of greenhouse gases, The Web site, intended for a general audience, provides a clear, concise the TRIangle Trans-Ocean buoy Network explanation of NOAA's value to society in easy to understand language. The (TRITON) and work performed at the recently updated "Economic Statistics for NOAA" booklet can also be ac- Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory cessed through the new site. contributing to the Indian Ocean “NOAA's PPI, NCDC and others have been working over the last two Observing System (IndOOS), are all years to develop this project,” said NCDC’s Jesse Enloe, the project’s web possible through this new cooperative developer. agreement. Research results developed “One of the great challenges will be to keep the socioeconomic under this MOU can be made available information on the Web site up-to-date and relevant by keeping track of new to scientists as part of a joint activities and advances made by NOAA,” said Rodney F. Weiher, NOAA commitment towards broader dissemina- chief economist. tion of information to the scientific To accomplish this, the team added “submit content” links throughout the community. Web Site, in which NOAA personnel are encouraged to use in suggesting U.S. and Japan delegations met in edits or providing new information. Colorado, June 30 - July 2, at the 12th The team hopes the information in the new site will illuminate everything U.S.-Japan Workshop on Global Change from presentations at conferences to conversations at cocktail parties as to discuss in-depth collaborative people seek to highlight the many ways NOAA benefits the public. activities with an emphasis on climate outlook as it relates to combined human- activity and natural occurring events con- Visit the NOAA Economics web site at: http://www.economics.noaa.gov/ tributing to greenhouse gases. Dr. Simpson (continued from page 5) He described the process as a “unique example of what can be motivated and achieved through constructive cooperation -- scientific cooperation.” During his presentation, Dr. Simpson characterized his experience with Mauna Loa as “an encounter that will ever remain a glittering diamond in the memories of my explorations of meteorology.” What began in a small building has grown to the Mauna Loa Observatory campus that includes a variety of structures dedicated to monitoring and observing our planet. The Mauna Loa Observatory is best known for the continuous measurement of carbon dioxide known as the “Keeling Curve,” which shows a steady increase in the greenhouse gas since the early 1950s. Dr. Simpson was nominated for the award by Russ Schnell, director of NOAA’s observatory program. The NOAA Environmental Hero Longtime Achievement Award honors individuals or organizations that have had a longtime impact on NOAA. “Last year, we celebrated 50 years of science and service at Mauna Loa, so it is appropriate that we now honor the person who came up with the idea for an observatory at that site,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, in a press release announcing the award. During the presentation, a photo of the 1957 dedication ceremony of the original, small building was shown, and NOAA staff tried to identify Dr. Simpson among the faces. “Oh, that’s me in the safari helmet,” Dr. Simpson replied when asked by a staffer to identify himself. The individual in the safari helmet had his back turned to the camera. “No wonder we had trouble identifying you,” the staffer said. Congratulations to July’s Employee of the Month, Kurt Kier, from NOAA Marine & Aviation Operations and to NOAA Ocean Service’s Theresa Goedeke, July’s Team Member of the Month! For more about Kurt and Theresa, visit NOAA WORLD online at: http://www.noaaworld.noaa.gov/eotms/jul2008_eotm.html.
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