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UK Environmental Agency Releases LIDAR Data for Commercial Use

The UK Environmental Agency will be releasing 17 years of LIDAR data on England, including coastal areas.  The Agency has used this data to create flood models and analyze land use changes.  In 2013, the Agency made the data freely available for non-commercial use, but following floods in 2014, decided to make the data free and available for commercial use as well starting September 2015.  

For more coverage of this story, please click Here or on the Blog Post.

For access to the Data Sharing Site, please click Here.

Buoy and Gliders Deployed as Part of NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative

Oregon State University will be deploying a buoy and two undersea gliders this week.  These components will serve as a final piece of the Endurance Array, a component of the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative.  The Array will measure physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the ocean and near coastal regions.  This data stream will provide information that will help communities deal with climate change, earthquakes, tsunamis, harmful algal blooms, and also to develop ocean resources, such as wave energy and fisheries.

For further coverage of this story, please click Here.

For a link to the Ocean Observatories Initiative page, please click Here.

Ocean Modeling Forum Developed in Pacific

In a newly formatted effort to consolidate and focus the vast amount of science going on in our oceans, NOAA has partnered with the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at University of Washington to take a new approach to bringing together ocean modelers.  The Ocean Modelling Forums focus on particular natural resources – the latest focus being the Pacific sardine fishery.  An upcoming June Forum will focus on the Pacific herring fishery.

For news coverage of this story, please click Here.

Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act Passes House

H.R. 1561, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2015 was introduced in the House of Representatives in March of 2015 by Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK-3).  The Bill has now passed the House and would improve NOAA’s weather research through focused investment in observations, computing, and modeling.  The Bill contains sections specifying that 30% of the funds allocated will go towards collaborating with and supporting non-Federal weather research community members, including higher education organizations, private entities, and nongovernmental organizations.  Based on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessment, the bill would authorize $120 million for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 and would cost $240 million over the 2016-2020 time period to implement.  The bill directs NOAA OAR, in coordination with NWS and NESDIS, to issue a research and development plan that would require consultation with NSF, the American weather industry, and academic partners.

A related Bill with significantly less funding was introduced in the Senate in May, S. 1331, the Seasonal Forecasting Improvement Act.

For news coverage, please click Here.


Federal Agencies Invest in eDNA Ocean Biodiversity Measurements

A new method for measuring biodiversity utilizes water samples to measure environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect a variety of organisms, all the way from microbes to marine mammals.  The new method is being spearheaded by the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) which includes MBARI scientists and is funded under a $7 million grant via the National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP).  Given the implications of reducing sampling costs and increasing knowledge of biodiversity in an area, which has major impacts on ecosystem services and commercial stocks, the research is being backed by a number of agencies including NASA, NOAA, and BOEM.  Efforts are currently being focused in sanctuaries, as well as the Santa Barbara Channel and Chukchi Sea near Alaska.  This method will have far reaching impacts not just in the context of natural resource management but also in terms of streamlining the development of data sets needed to move forward on energy permitting in ocean areas.

For more coverage of this story, please click Here or Here.