NOAA scientists announced the arrival of El Niño, a climate phenomenon with a significant influence on global weather, ocean conditions and marine fisheries. El Niño, the periodic warming of central and eastern tropical Pacific waters, occurs every two to five years and typically lasts about 12 months.
NOAA expects this El Niño to continue developing during the next several months, with further strengthening possible. The event is expected to last through this winter.
“Advanced climate science allows us to alert industries, governments and emergency managers about the weather conditions El Niño may bring so these can be factored into decision-making and ultimately protect life, property and the economy,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
El Niño’s impacts depend on a variety of factors, such as intensity and extent of ocean warming, and the time of year. Contrary to popular belief, not all effects are negative. On the positive side, El Niño can help to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. In the United States, it typically brings beneficial winter precipitation to the arid Southwest, less wintry weather across the North, and a reduced risk of Florida wildfires.
El Niño’s negative impacts have included damaging winter storms in California and increased storms across the southern United States. Some past El Niños have also produced severe flooding and mudslides in Central and South America, and drought in Indonesia.
An El Niño event may significantly diminish ocean productivity off the West Coast by limiting weather patterns that cause upwelling, or nutrient circulation in the ocean. These nutrients are the foundation of a vibrant marine food web and could negatively impact food sources for several types of birds, fish and marine mammals.
In its monthly El Niño diagnostics discussion today, scientists with the NOAA National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center noted weekly eastern equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures were at least 1 degree C above average at the end of June. The most recent El Niño occurred in 2006.
El Niño includes weaker trade winds, increased rainfall over the central tropical Pacific, and decreased rainfall in Indonesia. These vast rainfall patterns in the tropics are responsible for many of El Niño’s global effects on weather patterns.
Click here for NOAA’s online El Niño site.
Alinghi, the Swiss defender of the 33rd America's Cup, launched its new 90-foot catamaran on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, by helicopter.
Alinghi 5, the team’s newest sail racing yacht, was lifted out of the tent where it was built in Villeneuve, Switzerland, and into the air by a Mil Mi-26 helicopter, the biggest and most powerful in the world.
During the coming weeks and months, the team will work towards defending the 33rd America's Cup next year.
The carbon composite catamaran is 90 feet on the waterline, took 100,000 man hours to build used 108,000 square feet of carbon fiber in its construction.
Click here for the Alinghi team site.
Conservation groups and state officials are launching a new strategy to save coastal Maine's fishing communities.
Three non-profit groups announced they have created the state's first "permit banks" by purchasing fishing rights and sharing them with local fishermen. In these cases, the fishing rights — days at sea — are being given out to Down East or midcoast fishermen who help study and rebuild fish populations.
Maine's Department of Marine Resources, meanwhile, is developing a state permit bank using $1 million in federal fisheries assistance. DMR officials planned to meet today to finalize details of that bank, which will buy and lease fishing days to fishermen who need additional access to stay in business.
Click here to read the full report in the Press Herald.
Ralph Brown, who builds unsinkable flats boats through his Florida company, Dream Boats Incorporated, made a successful run from the mainland to Bermuda and back several years ago.
Now he and his brother, Robert, are attempting a more outrageous voyage — from Florida to Germany in a 21-foot flats boat powered by a 115-hp Suzuki outboard motor and a 27-gallon gas tank. They’ll obviously be making frequent stops as they head up the Eastern Seaboard to Nova Scotia, Greenland and beyond.
They expected to put in at Boston Thursday.
Click here to read a report on their venture.
Instead of making up vital ground against 19 rival boats competing in a regatta, a British sailing yacht found itself perched precariously on a rock. The boat's skipper, Arthur Manning, admitted that there had been an 'embarrassing misjudgment'.
Click here to read a report and see the amazing photo in The Telegraph.