The United States recently went through the hottest 12 months ever, since record-keeping began in 1895.
National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration said that for the period from May 2011 to April 2012, the nationally averaged temperature was 55.7 degrees, 2.8 degrees higher than the 20th century average. The national average temperature for April was 55 degrees, 3.6 degrees above average.
To be sure, the higher temperatures haven’t hit every region equally. The Pacific Northwest actually saw cooler-than-average temperatures over the past year, according to NOAA data. Much of California was also cooler than normal; Southern California had an average year.
But record averages for the year scorched central Texas — which saw a horrific drought last year — the upper Midwest, and much of the Northeast.
The last time the globe had a month that averaged below its 20th century normal was February 1985. April makes it 326 months in a row. Nearly half the population of the world has never seen a month that was cooler than normal, according to United Nations data.
via L.A. Times
Marine Protected Areas are regions in which human activity has been placed under some restrictions in the interest of conserving the natural environment.
This can include limitations on development, fishing practices, fishing seasons and catch limits, moorings, bans on removing or disrupting marine life of any kind.
In some situations MPA’s also provide revenue for countries, often of equal size as the income that they would have if they were to grant companies permissions to fish.
As of 2010, the world hosted more than 6,800 MPAs.
In the United States there are nearly 2,000 MPAs and in 2008 a new federal framework was established, which aims to:
Enhance protection of marine resources, build partnerships to address issues affecting MPAs, and improve public access to scientific information and decision-making about marine resources.
While MPAs have been established throughout the U.S. for decades, there has not been an overarching mechanism to coordinate effective ecosystem management. About 100 federal, state, territory and tribal agencies manage the nearly 2,000 MPAs across the country, often with no coordinated strategy.
via NOAA blog
You have probably visited one before:
Chances are you’ve visited a marine protected area and don’t know it. If you’ve gone fishing in central California, diving in the Florida Keys, camping in Acadia, swimming in Cape Cod, snorkeling in the Virgin Islands, birding in Weeks Bay, hiking along the Olympic Coast, or boating in Thunder Bay, you’ve probably been one of thousands of visitors to a marine protected area (MPA).
Learn more at www.mpa.gov
The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) brought online its latest weather satellite GOES-15, and pushed aside its predecessor GOES-11.
It will be tracking the weather for California, the west coast, Hawaii, and the Pacific Ocean. The image above is the first infrared image it sent to NOAA, which it will continue to do every “15-30 minutes, with full hemisphere scans every 3 hours until its retirement.”
The term GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. Which means that they sit, like a star, at the same place in the sky and a radio antenna can be permanently pointed at it to receive data.
There are currently four of them covering our globe:
- GOES-12 - South America located at 60°W.
- GOES-13 - East located at 75°W. It provides most of the U.S. weather information.
- GOES 14 - in on-orbit storage at 105° W.
- GOES 15 - West and Pacific Ocean located at 135° W.
They are up there to track half the world’s weather patterns and to “track space weather, oceanographic changes, forest fires and other hazards and provide scientific data collection and information for search and rescue operations.”
As the name implies, there are 15 or more of these satellites up in space. Some are online, one is in storage ready-for-action, others are floating space junk, and a few are floating nonchalantly but providing data (like one at the North Pole).
Next time you look up at the stars keep an eye out for one of these satellites and you can bet they will be keeping an eye on us.
For more information, science writer Gary Robbins has a profile on GOES-15 vs GOES-11.