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I can't stop! I can't stop myself!

Watch every lightning strike in North America, in real time.
posted by theodolite on Jun 23, 2014 - 46 comments

Bottles and ballast stones!

NOAA's Okeanos Explorer (previously 1, 2) is currently exploring the Gulf of Mexico. Today, they're exploring a 19th century shipwreck! Watch the discoveries on three live streams.
posted by mudpuppie on Apr 17, 2014 - 17 comments

Spanish for "The Niño"

Since January there have been signs of a possible El Niño brewing in the pacific, the first major one since 1998. While the US-funded ocean-monitoring system is in a state of partial collapse, the data has continued to grow stronger, and this may now be the largest ocean temperature anomoly ever seen. A major El Niño could significantly boost global temperatures, cause severe weather and storms, melt Arctic sea ice and help push the world into a warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, accelerating global warming. (more discussion)
posted by crayz on Apr 2, 2014 - 74 comments

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Interested in items that have washed ashore years after a tsunami? Crab trap rodeos? Art from floating trash? The NOAA Marine Debris Program has a blog for you. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Mar 17, 2014 - 11 comments

Monitoring the raindrops that keep falling on your head from space

The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation. The two sensors on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Jan 8, 2014 - 6 comments

Under the Sea

The NOAA's Okenaos Explorer is surveying the ocean floor off the East Coast of the United States. Livestream 1. Livestream 2. Livestream 3.
posted by dortmunder on Aug 12, 2013 - 38 comments

Our Green Marble

NOAA and NASA visualize a green planet. The amazing maps of Earth's vegetation highlight areas where plant life is the densest and barest... (Space.com). They have an interactive map too! [more inside]
posted by bonehead on Jun 21, 2013 - 10 comments

CO2 to hit 400 parts per million next month, highest since the Pliocene

Scripps Institute of Oceanography projects that next month its monitoring station will for the first time measure CO2 at 400 parts per million. Atmospheric CO2 has risen from 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. 400 ppm is an arbitrary milestone that we'll blow right past on our way to 450 ppm within a few decades. This is an unprecedentedly fast rate of increase and it's getting faster. Not all measuring stations are exactly the same: A NOAA station in the Arctic measured CO2 at 400 ppm last year. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 25, 2013 - 127 comments

Aquarius Reef in danger of closing

Aquarius, the NOAA Underwater Laboratory, could close after having their funding eliminated. previously
posted by I am the Walrus on Jul 18, 2012 - 31 comments

Wireless Emergency Alerts debut

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are a new service from U.S. weather service and FEMA. Starting in June, they will send a text message with a strange tone to your mobile device if you are in range of a Tornado Warning, Tsunami Warning or other major event (in the U.S. only). Major events include "Presidential Alerts." You do not need to sign up. Washington Post Capital Weather Gang has a few more details.
posted by LobsterMitten on May 24, 2012 - 62 comments

"Knew this would be a one-way ticket"

A Watermelon for the Aquanauts [9:45] - a trip down to the "wet porch" and exterior of NOAA's Aquarius Reef Base.
posted by Burhanistan on Apr 23, 2012 - 15 comments

A “high-end, life-threatening” tornado outbreak is likely on Saturday

The Storm Prediction Center (NOAA) has issued a rare “high risk” outlook for severe weather more than a day in advance. A “high-end, life-threatening” tornado outbreak is likely on Saturday from Texas northeastward to Iowa. Weather briefing. More info. This is only the second time a 2-day forecast of this type has ever been issued, the last time was for an outbreak on April 7, 2006, when more than 70 tornadoes touched down, killing 13 and causing more than $1 billion in damage. Running total of tornadoes to date compared with historical averages.
posted by stbalbach on Apr 13, 2012 - 171 comments

Navassa Island

Navassa Island is a small uninhabited Caribbean island 74 km off the coast of Haiti. Both the US and Haiti claim sovereignty over the island, though Haiti claims it in it's constitution. Discovered in 1498 and explored in 1504 as part of Columbus's expedition when he became stranded on Jamaica and sent a canoe to Hispaniola; the canoes ran into the island on the way and two Spaniards and several Indians who arrived on the island drank contaminated water killing most of the group. The island was avoided until 1857 when it was claimed by the US as part of the Guano Islands Act despite an earlier Haitian claim. Working conditions were very harsh on the island, manually moving over a ton guano from mines via rail cars to the landing point at Lulu Bay which sacked the guano for transport on the S.S. Romance. In 1889 the workers started a rebellion that killed several supervisors and lead to a series of court cases that affirmed the constitutionality of the Guano Act. The island was abandoned in 1898 during the Spanish-American war forced the operator, Navassa Phosphate Company of Baltimore to file for bankruptcy. In 1917 a lighthouse was built since the island posed a hazard for ships entering the newly built Panama Canal. The island has remained uninhabited, save a few Haitian fishermen that camp now and again, though it is highly coveted by amateur radio operators seeking a DX call-sign of KP1. The island has been bounced around several federal agencies until 1999 when the United States Fish and Wildlife Service cataloged it as a National Wildlife Refuge. In 2009 NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science launched an expedition to catalog the flora and fauna of the reefs of the island, including a few feral cats roaming on the island.
posted by wcfields on Apr 5, 2012 - 21 comments

How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense

How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense: Report looks at methods of corporate abuse, suggests steps toward reform [Full Report (PDF)] [Executive Summary (PDF)] [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 11, 2012 - 27 comments

Fish protection finally

"Probably the most important conservation statute ever enacted into America’s fisheries law".. as of 2012, all 528 federally managed fish species now have imposed catch limits. The US is arguably the first country in the world to do it. This means every species has a hard limit of how many fish can be taken - not just how many per-boat or angler - an absolute cap on the total number (actually by weight). The law was enacted in 2006 under a policy forged under President George W. Bush and finalized with President Obama's backing.(previously)
posted by stbalbach on Jan 9, 2012 - 51 comments

The Arctic is failing.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its 2011 Arctic Report Card. Persistent warming has caused dramatic changes in the Arctic Ocean and the ecosystem it supports. Ocean changes include reduced sea ice and freshening of the upper ocean, and impacts such as increased biological productivity at the base of the food chain and loss of habit for walrus and polar bears. [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Dec 2, 2011 - 25 comments

Probability of Shoreline Threat

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have released their latest models/scenarios ("based on several simplifying assumptions") of the BP spill's impact on coastlines [more inside]
posted by griphus on Jul 2, 2010 - 24 comments

Strange sounds under the sea

There are mysterious noises in the sea. NOAA has six unidentified underwater sounds (and their kinda creepy spectrographs) on their website, recorded by the sonar arrays that used to hunt submarines, but which are now are used for research. The most famous of these is The Bloop, a sound of seemingly biological origin, yet many times louder than the loudest biolocial noise. With an origin in an empty stretch of the the Pacific Ocean, it gives Cthulhu watchers something to think about. Another once-mysterious sound, The Boing has been identified as coming from minke whales. Yet the sounds known as Slow Down, Julia, Train, and others remain intriguing mysteries. [prev.]
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 19, 2010 - 40 comments

CoCoRaHS - "Volunteers working together to measure precipitation across the nation."

CoCoRaHS - "Volunteers working together to measure precipitation across the nation." Sponsored by NWS, NOAA, and more... Volunteers Wanted (pdf)
posted by MrBCID on Nov 19, 2009 - 8 comments

Zeroing out the long term economic stimulus

Science & technology funding has an enormous long term impact on the economy, a fact that has not escaped China. Yet, Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have proposed cutting all National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Office of Science funding from the Senate American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, along with almost all other proposed funding of the sciences and technological development, as a part of a $77.9B reduction effort. Why? Well, you'll notice that Nebraska & Maine don't contribute much to science & technology in the United States, nor win many grants, and hence no bacon for Nelson and Collins. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Feb 6, 2009 - 86 comments

How To Find Yourself In One Easy Step

Approximately two years ago, James Kim died after he and his family were stranded, snowbound, in their car on the Oregon coast (Previously, previously, and (selflink) previously). But what if he'd had a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)? [more inside]
posted by scrump on Oct 30, 2008 - 36 comments

May 25 tornado, Parkersburg, Iowa

The (U.S.) National Weather Service has released its report on a strong tornado that occured in Iowa the evening of May 25th. On the evening of May 25th, 2008 a tornado rated at EF5 (estimated wind speed was around 205 MPH!!) obliterated half of the town of Parkersburg, Iowa. Eight people have died, and 70 were injured. Here is a PDF containing incredible pictures of the damage (taken by employees of the NWS during their survey). [more inside]
posted by ArgentCorvid on Jun 4, 2008 - 36 comments

Undersea eruptions explored from only 10 feet away

"We were forced to evacuate the remotely operated vehicle, 'Jason II,' several times to avoid getting it enveloped in volcanic clouds," said Bill Chadwick, ...one of the authors of the study. "But at other times, we could observe the eruption from only 10 feet away - something you could never do on land. So in some ways, we were able to see processes more clearly at the bottom of the ocean than we ever could on land. That was surprising." From KGW (bugmenot). Podcasts, videos, images, sounds, daily logs, and lots of information can be found on the project's website.
posted by pwb503 on May 25, 2006 - 5 comments

NOAA or Noah?

A NOAA report says Earth's surface and atmosphere are both warming, and that earlier work that found otherwise contains flaws. In other news, global warming has started to weaken an important wind circulation pattern over the Pacific Ocean, a study suggests. The change could alter climate and the marine food chain in that area; polar bears and walrus pups sad.
posted by kliuless on May 3, 2006 - 25 comments

Great Caribbean coral die-off

The great Caribbean coral die-off. "The 2005 die-off is bigger than all the previous 20 years combined".. magnitude never before-seen.. sea surface temps worst in the 21 years of satellite monitoring. NOAA preliminary reports with cool graphs to left.
posted by stbalbach on Mar 31, 2006 - 39 comments

Myself, I like a black seabass. Grilled.

How Many Fish are in the Sea? During the heady days of the late 19th century, in response to a perceived decline in coastal finfish stocks, Spencer Baird and his clutch of young naturalists at the Smithsonian set out to find the answer. In 1871, Baird founded the U.S. Fish Commission. The Comission set up operations in Woods Hole, MA, where it continues its work today as the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (a branch of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service). The Fish Census of 1880 established the fist benchmark on fish populations in coastal waters; crews of Gloucester schooners competed to see who could bring the most bizarre fish finds up from the platueaus of the Grand Banks, and America’s first research vessel, the Albatross, was purpose-built for the project. Baird's protege (and later successor) George Brown Goode compiled the data into the first comprehensive reference work on American fisheries. Known to students of salt water as “Goode’s Fisheries”, the report (beautifully illustrated) remains invaluable to researchers today, as today's fish populations dip into an even more drastic decline.
posted by Miko on Nov 30, 2005 - 13 comments

Hurricane Data Smashed Offline by Katrina

National Data Buoy Center (Google cache), "the premiere source of meteorological and oceanographic measurements for the marine environment" in the U.S., is located at the NASA Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi gulf coast, is a primary source of hurricane observational data, and is currently offline. At present, the U.S. spends only $50 million annually on ocean observations of vital socio-economic impact. The latest national commission for ocean policy recommended $4 billion annually, including the construction of a distributed, disaster-proof, national ocean observing system, as a component of a global system. The previous ocean commission report in 1969 resulted in the formation of NOAA and the passage of the Coastal Zone Management Act. Will Congress act? The E.U. has.
posted by 3.2.3 on Aug 31, 2005 - 6 comments

Free the Weather?

Free the Weather? On Slate, Timothy Noah explains how Santorum's National Weather Services Duties Act effectively gags NWS in private weather's favor. [more inside]
posted by brownpau on Aug 3, 2005 - 17 comments

GhostNetBusters

The Ghost Nets: A New Kind of Pollution What happens when a fishing boat loses a net on the high seas? No longer made of biodegradeable materials, these nets (which can be up to a mile long) drift freely through the oceans like needles in a haystack, trapping marine life and damaging coral reefs. Now a team of NOAA working on the GhostNet 2005 project has developed a computer model to help identify convergence zones and locate these floating threats so cleanup can ensue. [Link to audio of NPR story about the project here]
posted by Dr. Zira on Jun 23, 2005 - 8 comments

First International Polar Year

Images from the first International Polar Year (paradoxically 1881 to 1884).
Some are lovely, some bleak, some surreal.
posted by thatwhichfalls on May 14, 2005 - 8 comments

Free weather data via XML

The weather just got a lot more accessible. The National Weather Service's weather data is now freely available in XML format for SOAP clients; it had previously been only available through commercial providers or in a difficult-to-decipher format. Not knowing anything about web services, I'm not sure about the implications, but I imagine that anyone who knows their SOAP could build their own weather app really easily.
posted by mcwetboy on Dec 4, 2004 - 18 comments

Tornado pr0n

Cool images of tornadoes and other freaky weather at the NOAA Photo Library.
posted by scarabic on Jun 28, 2004 - 16 comments

Nuking hurricanes

Hurricanes really suck. Luckily our friends at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association have posted a FAQ to answer our questions. No matter how moronic the questions are.
posted by patrickje on Sep 18, 2003 - 15 comments

Top 5 snow storm hits NYC

19 inches of snow at Central Park and counting. This is now a top 5 snow storm in NYC history. In 1996 the accumulation was 24 inches.
posted by riffola on Feb 17, 2003 - 78 comments

It's big, it's bad, and it's coming your way. Beware Bonnie! No, no, wait. Hide from Hanna! Hmm, nope. Run from Rene! Geez, this naming thing isn't easy. How do you name a tropical storm? Should the name be masculine or feminine? Should it roll off the tongue with ease or be a mouthful? Are there some names you can't use? If a tropical storm was closing in on your neighborhood, what would you call it?
posted by debralee on Sep 12, 2002 - 10 comments

It really is amazing what kinds of cool, free, raw data you can get from the web (that other folks would charge you good money for), here are a few I've come across.

Weather, from the good folks at the NOAA/NWS
Geographic locations of zipcodes amongst other things from those pesky buggers at the US Census Office
Want reverse phone lookup data ? NANPA has the skinny.

So what other cool data feeds have people found out there ?
posted by zeoslap on Oct 18, 2001 - 19 comments


3-D imagery

3-D imagery from NOAA of the crater at ground zero, engineers are using them to find the location of elevators and support structures located beneath the rubble.
posted by owillis on Oct 2, 2001 - 6 comments

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