Breaking Waves: Ocean News

11/12/2019 - 12:15
Big floods likely to become more frequent because of climate breakdown Poor management of the rural landscape along with global heating and building on floodplains are the main factors that led to the floods that have engulfed towns in northern England, according to experts. Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster are among the places flooded, 12 years after they were badly hit when the River Don burst its banks in 2007. Many affected areas, including Meadowhall shopping centre, where customers were stranded overnight, lie within the river’s floodplain – low-lying land next to the river that naturally floods during high flow. Continue reading...
11/12/2019 - 11:12
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Architect of the Capitol) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What Passed With an approaching deadline to finish appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2020, the Senate passed an appropriations package (H.R. 3055) containing their Commerce-Justice-Science (S. 2584); Agriculture (S. 2522); Interior-Environment (S. 2580); and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (S. 2520) bills for FY 2020. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology favorably reported legislation to protect scientific integrity in U.S. federal agencies, which now awaits a floor vote. If enacted, the Scientific Integrity Act (H.R. 1709) would require federal science agencies to adopt and enforce a scientific integrity policy or to formalize and strengthen their existing policies. The bill also includes requirements prohibiting scientific misconduct and barring agencies from impeding the release and communication of scientific or technical findings. What’s New The Ocean, Coastal, and Estuarine Acidification Necessitates (OCEAN) Research Act (S. 2699), which would reauthorize the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FORAM) Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-11), was introduced in the Senate. The bill aims to strengthen research and monitoring of acidification processes in ocean and coastal areas and engages coastal communities and the seafood industry in this effort. Several bills addressing resiliency strategies in the face of climate change were introduced in the House, including measures directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to integrate climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience-building into policy and preparedness plans (H.R. 4823); instructing the Department of Homeland Security to conduct research and address the effects of climate change on national security (H.R. 4737); and calling for establishment of a Global Climate Change Resilience Strategy (H.R. 4732). Additionally, the Climate-Ready Fisheries Act of 2019 (H.R. 4679) would help prepare fishing communities and industry for current and anticipated impacts of climate change by examining current policy, identifying knowledge gaps, and providing recommendations for fisheries management. In introducing legislation, some representatives turned their attention to issues regarding pollution and marine debris. The Partnering and Leveraging Assistance to Stop Trash for International Cleaner Seas (PLASTICS) Act (H.R. 4636) would advance efforts to improve waste management systems and reduce plastic waste by encouraging domestic and international cooperation between federal government and the private sector. The Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II (H.R. 4611) would simplify regulations for discharge of pollutants in San Diego, California, wastewater treatment plants to balance environmental protections with securing the city’s water supply. Also introduced in the House, the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act (H.R. 4887) aims to support the emerging offshore wind industry by extending tax credits for offshore wind facilities. COL also considered the topic of offshore wind last month at our 2019 Industry Forum, “Navigating Development of U.S. Offshore Wind: Sustainability and Co-Existence Through Science,” which examined the importance of collaboration, innovation, and localization, underpinned by science, for a substantial U.S. offshore wind industry. What’s Next Both chambers continue pushing to avoid a government shutdown by November 21, either by passing another long- or short-term continuing resolution to continue FY 2019 funding levels even further into FY 2020 or by passing the full set of spending bills, which will then need to be signed into law by the president. To do this, the House and Senate will need to conference on the four bills passed by both chambers, Commerce-Justice-Science (S.2584, H.R. 3055), Agriculture (S. 2522, H.R. 3164); Interior-Environment (S. 2580, H.R. 3052); and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (S. 2520, H.R. 3163), as well as pass their remaining bills — two for the House and eight for the Senate — so they also can be then be reconciled in conference and sent to the president. House and Senate conferees have not yet agreed on a final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) measure for FY 2020 and will seek to resolve key differences in weeks to come. If this does not happen, the Senate introduced a “stripped-down” NDAA (S. 2731) containing the U.S. military’s must-pass provisions as a back-up plan. Related Coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership As New Fiscal Year Begins, Congress Keeps Moving On Appropriations CJS Appropriations Bill Supports Broad Increases to Science Funding Ocean Acidification Bills Coast To Committee August and September’s Congressional Wrap Up July’s Congressional Wrap Up May And June’s Congressional Wrap Up March and April’s Congressional Wrap Up Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post October’s Congressional Wrap Up appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
11/12/2019 - 11:09
Ocean Leadership ~ (Click to enlarge) The U.S. Coast Guard Healy Class Icebreaker HEALY sits in the ice, about 100 miles north of Barrow, Alaska, in order to allow scientists onboard to take core samples from the floor of the Arctic Ocean on June 18, 2005. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard/DoD) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was The United States Committee on the Maritime Transport System (CMTS) and the Congressional Arctic Caucus held a briefing titled “A Ten-Year Projection of Maritime Activity in the U.S Arctic Region, 2020-2030,” to present their new report of the same name. Why It Matters The Arctic region presents environmental, economic, and national security opportunities as well as challenges for the United States and other polar countries. As the area experiences temperature increases at more than twice the rate of the global average and uses of the region are changing, the CMTS updated their 2015 report on Arctic maritime operations to reexamine vessel activity. The report is key because predicting vessel traffic is integral to waterway safety. Key Points To inform federal partners for civilian operations and get a better sense of this maritime domain, the report sought to accomplish three objectives: determine drivers of activity, summarize past and present vessel activity, and make traffic projections for the coming decade. Research focused on characterizing maritime transportation in the region north of the Bering Strait around the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, but did not seek to make budget or policy recommendations. CMTS identified four main drivers of activity: natural resources, planned infrastructure development, additions to the global Arctic fleet, and seasonal rerouting of vessel traffic. CMTS staff explained that, as demand grows and access to natural resources in the Arctic gets easier, vessels transporting or supporting operations such as oil and gas extraction, mining, and liquefied natural gas extraction will increase in volume. Likewise, infrastructure projects, including community relocation, port development, offshore wind construction, and reconstruction of roads and airports could increase demand for construction materials that must be shipped in. Also, the addition of vessels to the existing Arctic fleet, including Polar Security Cutters and recreational cruise ships, and greater use of the Bering Strait’s Northern Sea Route or Northwest Passage to reroute vessels for decreased transit time would increase traffic. Using automatic identification system (AIS) data and other historical data sets, researchers sought to characterize vessel activity by who, where, and when operations and navigation were occurring. They determined that vessel composition was becoming less regionally focused and more indicative of global maritime transporting systems, with an increased number of international users and a mixture of vessel types, from cargo and tugs to research, tourism, and tankers. The number one country of registration for vessels in the study area was the United States, followed by Russia. Additionally, the navigation season is getting increasingly longer, increasing by 10 days each year between 2016 and 2018. The report also projected what traffic may look like in the region until 2030. All the tested scenarios combining potential sources of growth predicted increased and sustained growth in vessel traffic, largely due to natural resource activities and seasonally rerouted vessels from other transoceanic routes. Despite these findings, the report also suggested the Arctic may experience a period of slower growth of vessel activity in the coming decade. They identified several factors as potentially limiting to growth: lack of infrastructure and investment as well as regulatory and operational uncertainty. CMTS staff explained they found spikes in growth when there was investment in infrastructure and noted that even with current traffic levels, ports are already limiting entrance due to lack of space. Additional analysis is needed based on reliance on AIS data, which do not include small subsistence hunting and other vessels or distinguish clearly between all types of activity. Related Coverage from Consortium for Ocean Leadership Setting Sail on Maritime Security Arctic Discussion Circle The Arctic: A New Maritime Frontier How Ordinary Ship Traffic Could Help Map The Uncharted Arctic Ocean Seafloor Member Highlight: Alien Waters: Neighboring Seas Are Flowing into a Warming Arctic Ocean Unusual Weather Accelerates Arctic Sea Ice Loss Erosion May Transform The Arctic Food Chain Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post Future Gridlock in Arctic Waters? appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
11/12/2019 - 09:42
PM chairs Cobra meeting after being criticised for not declaring national emergency Boris Johnson has been accused of displaying an “utterly outrageous” lack of concern about the severe floods that have devastated hundreds of homes and caused more than 1,200 properties to be evacuated in northern England. Under increasing pressure over the issue, the prime minister chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra on Tuesday after he was criticised by Jeremy Corbyn for not declaring a national emergency. Continue reading...
11/12/2019 - 04:07
Plan intends to make all grands prix fully sustainable by 2025 ‘If F1 can do it then surely anyone can,’ says Green Party Formula One has pledged to deliver on an ambitious programme to address the global climate emergency by going carbon neutral within 11 years. The sport has committed to a plan that not only ensures it has a net carbon impact of zero by 2030 but will also adopt policies to make all grands prix fully sustainable by 2025. Both are bold targets that will not be easily met for a sport which produces 256,000 tons of CO2 each season while transporting 10 teams and equipment to 21 races and with the global calendar set to expand. Continue reading...
Main Street Bucksport Partners with W2O for International Maritime Film Festival
04/30/2019 - 13:16
Bucksport, Maine, USA | April 2019 Main Street Bucksport is pleased to announce a newly formed partnership with World Ocean Observatory to produce the International Maritime Film Festival. They join media partner WoodenBoat Publications and community partner Island Institute. Since 2003 World Ocean Observatory has been a major utility for ocean communication as a means to advance public awareness and political will, and is dedicated to providing information and education about the health of the ocean. Online at The International Maritime Film Festival (IMFF) is now in its 4th year and is an annual juried contest of films celebrating the heritage, spirit of adventure, and ingenuity of boats and waterborne pursuits. It is the premier event for maritime-themed film making. This year’s festival takes place at the historic Alamo Theatre in downtown Bucksport from September 27-September 29, 2019. A program will be announced and tickets will go on sale in July 2019. IMFF accepts films on a broad range of maritime subjects. These include, but are not limited to, voyaging, racing, working, leisure, boatbuilding and restoration, historical documentary, and environment and science. Judging is not category-specific; rather, all films will be evaluated in relation to each other, in one of two tracks: Feature Length (40 minutes or more), or Shorts (under 40 minutes). All films are to be in English, or to carry English subtitles. A Grand Prize of $1,000 will be awarded in the Feature Length category and the Runner Up will receive $500. A Grand Prize of $500 will be awarded to winning Short Film and the Runner Up will receive $250. Submissions may be made online at
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World OCean Radio Has Gone Global
08/20/2014 - 08:40
Aug. 7, 2014 | This is a big week for the World Ocean Observatory. First, it is a major milestone for World Ocean Radio: we broadcast our 300th audio episode since World Ocean Radio first aired in 2009. And second, this week we are announcing the launch of an expansion of World Ocean Radio into four additional languages. A selection of broadcasts (see are now available in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili, translated from our audio archive and representing an extraordinary opportunity to extend our communication efforts beyond English and into major geographical areas that have been outside our broadcast capacity. We now have the opportunity to offer our radio feature to outlets in France, Spain, Portugal, all the nations in Central and South America, and in certain regions of Africa. World Ocean Radio brings discussion of the ocean and its impact on all aspects of human survival to a global audience. Provided at no cost, this weekly service is intended to provide responsible information and advocacy toward greater understanding of the meaning of the ocean for its rapidly degrading state, the impact on our lives, and a variety of specific actions that can be taken-–both by governments and individuals-–to mitigate the problems, modify behaviors, evolve policies, implement change, broaden public awareness, and build political will. We are extremely proud of this accomplishment and are gratified by the enthusiastic and positive response we get from listeners all over the world. Learn more at or by visiting Connect with our July newsletter at As always, thank you! ____________________________________________________ Here are five ways to help World Ocean Radio to engage a larger, global audience: 1. Share World Ocean Radio Forward each week's broadcast to everyone you think might be an ally. 2. Link to World Ocean Radio on your organizations' website. Consider how your organization might help by linking to World Ocean Radio on its web page, sharing it among fellow workers, incorporating it into the work it does, and promoting it to the population you serve. 3. Share World Ocean Radio with faculty & students If you are an educational institution, a museum, aquarium, or environmental program, share World Ocean Radio with your faculty and students, incorporate it into curriculum, use it to stimulate and focus discussions, promote it as a membership or community service, share it formally and informally as an educational tool, even use it as a marketing opportunity to recruit new audience with ocean interest to your programs. 4. Explore how these broadcasts might promote mutual goals Identify other partners or associations with which you work and explore ways in which these broadcasts might promote mutual goals and collective objectives by sharing with their constituents to demonstrate professional and collective interest. 5. Look for broadcast outlets in your area, especially if you are a Spanish-, French-, Portuguese-, or Swahili-speaking listener Find local, regional, or national networks, college, community, or environmental radio stations. Recruit them to the ocean cause, linking your organization to World Ocean Radio and growing your outreach and civic engagement. World Ocean Radio can speak loudly and widely for us all. Become its champion; commit to this simple action; make a connection; help us spread a message for the ocean that will be amplified and echoed across the sea that connects us all.
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No Refuge: Tons of Trash Cover Remote Alaskan Shores
07/02/2013 - 09:11
A great article by Carl Safina about the tsunami debris (Japan, 2011) washing up on the remotest shores of the Alaskan wilderness.
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UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon to Launch "Oceans Compact"
08/15/2012 - 11:13
UN Secretary-General to Launch Oceans Compact at Yeosu International Conference NEW YORK, 10 August ― United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will launch the Oceans Compact—an initiative to strengthen United Nations system-wide coherence to deliver on its oceans-related mandates--on Sunday, 12 August, in Yeosu, Republic of Korea. The new Compact, “Healthy Oceans for Prosperity—An Initiative of the Secretary-General,” aims to bring together all parts of the UN system to improve the coordination and effectiveness of the work of the UN on oceans. Mr. Ban will launch the initiative at the Yeosu International Conference to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Opening for Signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. “The world’s oceans are key to sustaining life on the planet,” the Secretary-General says in the Compact, “constituting a conduit for ninety per cent of the world trade, and for connecting people, markets and livelihoods.”  But he adds that humans have put the oceans under risk of irreversible damage by overfishing, climate change and ocean acidification, increasing pollution, unsustainable coastal area development, and unwanted impacts from resource extraction, resulting in loss of biodiversity, decreased abundance of species, damage to habitats and loss of ecological functions. The Oceans Compact aims to mobilize and enhance the UN system´s capacity to support actions by Governments, and promote the engagement of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, scientists, the private sector and industry to tackle challenges in protecting and restoring the health and productivity of the oceans for the benefit of present and future generations. The Compact sets out a strategic vision for the UN system on oceans, consistent with the Rio+20 outcome document, “The Future We Want,” in which countries agreed on a range of measures to be taken to protect the oceans and promote sustainable development. The Oceans Compact also supports the implementation of existing relevant instruments, in particular the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. With the goal of achieving “Healthy Oceans for Prosperity”, the Compact establishes three objectives: protecting people and improving the health of the oceans; protecting, recovering and sustaining the oceans’ environment and natural resources; and strengthening ocean knowledge and the management of oceans. In addition to providing a platform for all stakeholders to collaborate and accelerate progress toward promoting healthy oceans, the Compact will be underpinned by pragmatic short-, medium- and long-term strategies to increase coordination and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels as well as within the United Nations system. The intent is to address the cumulative impacts of sectoral activities on the marine environment, including through implementing ecosystem and precautionary approaches. In the Compact, the Secretary-General proposes the creation of an Oceans Advisory Group, composed of Executive Heads of involved UN system organizations, high-level policy-makers, scientists, leading ocean experts, private sector representatives, representatives of non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations. The Advisory Group would also advise on strategies for mobilizing resources needed for the implementation of the Oceans Compact Action Plan. Background The launch of the Oceans Compact follows the announcement by the Secretary-General earlier this year of his Five-Year Action Agenda, which includes oceans as a main category. In that context, he decided to give strong emphasis to the importance of oceans and their role in sustainable development by putting forward the idea of an Oceans Compact that would commit the wide United Nations System to furthering “healthy oceans for prosperity.” The timing of this initiative is especially significant as 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the opening for signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out.  The Convention is considered of strategic importance as the basis for national, regional and global action and cooperation in the marine sector and as an important contribution to the maintenance of peace, justice and progress for all peoples of the world.   The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) in the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) has been organizing a series of events at UN Headquarters to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention, including a panel discussion held on World Oceans Day (8 June 2012 - see: and the production of a video entitled "UNCLOS at 30" (available at The commemoration will continue at the General Assembly’s sixty-seventh session, with two days of high-level meetings, on 10 and 11 December 2012, and the publication of a pamphlet and a commemorative booklet on UNCLOS. For further information, please contact Dan Shepard, UN Department of Public Information, 1 212-963-9495, email  
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"Bloody Bay Wall" World Premiere
03/19/2012 - 19:03
Our friend and colleague David Conover of Compass Light Productions will debut two short films at this year's Environmental Film Festival in Washington A discussion with filmmaker David Conover and marine scientist Nancy Knowlton will follow the screening on Sunday, March 25th. "Exploring Bloody Bay Wall" was co-produced by World Ocean Observatory for inclusion in our second module, Ocean Biodiversity, for the Subscription Services.
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