oceans

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

From floods to fires --  burst pipes to a man overboard, when something goes wrong on a commercial fishing vessel -- crew members at sea need to act fast. But how do they prepare? 

Eric Heupel / Creative Commons

Most New Englanders are no strangers to lighthouses. 

Ever stood on the coastline, gazing out over the horizon, and wondered what's on the other side? Pondered where you'd end up if you could fly straight ahead until you hit land?

Turns out the answer might be surprising. And even if you pulled out an atlas — or, more realistically, your smartphone — you might have trouble figuring it out. Lines of latitude won't help, and drawing a path on most maps will lead you astray.

A video of a porcupinefish trapped in a net in Chaloklum Bay, Thailand, being freed by snorkelers who happened upon it got lots of traction last week.

NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team

The fight to grant permanent federal protection to three areas off New England's coast continues, despite a setback for conservationists at one of the spots. 

Sean McMahon/Yale University

Fossils of a sea creature found in the state of Illinois in 1958 have puzzled scientists for decades. But recently a Yale-led team of paleontologists were able to identify the 300-million-year-old animal, known as the Tully Monster.  

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Tons of sand traveled from Cape Cod to the shoreline of a beach in West Haven. It’s part of a project to build a spot for recreational beach-goers and protect millions of dollars of buried coastal infrastructure. 

"Raise your hand if you have ever determined your location on the planet using the stars," Lt. Daniel Stayton tells his class at the U.S. Naval Academy.

A young officer halfheartedly puts up her hand. Another wavers. The rest of the class of 20 midshipmen sits stone-faced.

lutrus / Flickr

Researchers with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth said a new video system will help provide data to better inform management of New England's beleaguered cod population.

Kit4na / Creative Commons

A new climate change study looking at the northeast Atlantic Ocean points to a stressful future for some of the region's most iconic species. 

Tambako The Jaguar/Creative Commons

Six seals have been spotted on the North Shore of Long Island, off Centre Island.

An executive director of the Riverhead Foundation said seals are more typically seen on the East End. Most seals live in cold waters off Maine, Nova Scotia, and Massachusetts.

Less than 24 hours after reports of their detention emerged, 10 U.S. Navy personnel have been freed by Iran. The sailors left an Iranian naval base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday morning, along with the boats they were operating when they were taken into custody.

"There are no indications that the sailors were harmed during their brief detention," the Department of Defense says, confirming the release of nine men and one woman.

Block Island has been dubbed one of “the last great places” in the western hemisphere. It has a shoreline largely untouched by development. But on the northwest corner of island, storms have been washing away at the bluffs, unearthing what used to be the island’s landfill.

International Whaling Commission / iwc.int

A whale’s majesty can be glimpsed during a whale watching trip anywhere the regal mammals roam. But the chances of that vision being marred are increasing as more whales become entangled in fishing gear.

University of Rhode Island scientists are turning to salt marshes to better understand the relationship between climate change and sea level rise.

MichaelTK (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Interstate fishing regulators are considering what to do about southern New England's collapsed lobster population, and fishermen fear new restrictions could land on them as a result.

Updated on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 3 a.m. ET.

The USS Lassen has sailed within 12 nautical miles of the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The Pentagon says the guided missile destroyer passed by the Subi Reef on Tuesday morning local time, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

The move, which the Obama administration has billed as exercising the right to freely navigate international waters, is being characterized as a challenge to China's claim of control over the area.

On Thursday morning, Patricia was a relatively small Category 1 hurricane. By Friday afternoon, it was the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere.

Is climate change to blame for this record-breaking storm's ferocious rise?

The answer is complex, and shows why it's so hard to tie a single weather event to global warming.

The most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Pacific will make a "potentially catastrophic landfall" in southwestern Mexico Friday, the National Weather Service says. Hurricane Patricia is bringing winds that now top 200 mph; it's expected to strike Friday afternoon or evening.

The U.S. government is backing away from Arctic offshore oil and gas drilling on two fronts.

On Friday, the Department of the Interior announced the cancellation of two potential lease sales off the Alaskan coast in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement also denied lease extension requests from two companies, Shell and Statoil, that were exploring the seas for fossil fuels.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

Extinguishing hope that the cargo ship that went missing near the Bahamas could have survived a Thursday encounter with Hurricane Joaquin, the Coast Guard announced Monday that the ship, El Faro, sank, according to the Associated Press. The Coast Guard also found an unidentified body of one crew member.

Updated at 9:03 p.m. ET

Hurricane Joaquin is moving rapidly away from the Bahamas as a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 155 mph. Although forecasters say it will stay well offshore from the U.S. East Coast, Bermuda could be in the storm's crosshairs.

Even without a direct hit on the Eastern Seaboard, severe flooding, partly from hurricane-generated rain, was is a big concern in the Carolinas. The White House has declared a state of emergency in South Carolina, which is getting historic levels of rainfall.

Updated, 1:20 a.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center's projections for Hurricane Joaquin in the past two days have incrementally moved the storm east. Now the government agency is saying the storm is likely to miss the United States altogether.

Some coastal flooding is still likely from the storm's surge, the hurricane center says, and unrelated rains could cause flooding in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Updated 6:05 p.m. ET

Joaquin, the fourth hurricane of the Atlantic Season, is forecast to churn off the coast of Florida for the next couple of days before potentially heading north and posing a threat to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

With maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, Joaquin became a hurricane today. The storm's long-term path is still uncertain, but forecasters predict the tropical cyclone could pose a threat to the Mid-Atlantic or New England states.

NOAA

Deep underwater, about 150 miles off the coast of New England, lie majestic mountains and rock formations deeper than Arizona's Grand Canyon. The area is home to lots of marine life, and now, there's a new effort afoot to preserve that space. 

Diver Dan Abbott unloads his scuba gear on a beach in Monterey, Calif. — his tank, flippers and a waterproof clipboard covered in tally marks. He spent the morning counting fish: pile perch, black perch, blue rockfish and kelp rockfish are among the 150 fish he spotted.

Abbott is diving with a team from Reef Check California, a group of volunteers doing underwater surveys by counting everything in the kelp forest in Monterey Bay.

National Archives

Scientists are attempting to use submersibles to explore a sunken German U-boat seven miles off the Rhode Island coast.

They're streaming the attempts online as they work to learn more about how shipwrecks affect the environment. 

David Scheel

The octopus has always been the stuff of spine-tingling legend, like that of the Kraken, the many-armed sea monster believed to drag ships to the bottom of the sea after dining on the crew. Or  Gertie the Pus, the giant Pacific octopus that lives under the Narrows Bridge connecting Tacoma, Washington to Gig Harbor.

In reality, the octopus is more benign but equally fascinating.  Did you know the octopus has two-thirds of its brain neurons distributed throughout its eight arms? Or, that the severed arm of an octopus can walk independently toward a food source and move it to where its mouth should be? 

Fishermen in the Gulf of Maine have been harvesting lobsters at record highs. That’s in contrast to fishermen in Southern New England, where there has been a sharp decline in the lobster population since the late 1990s. 

 

It's official. Tropical Storm Danny has made the leap, becoming the first hurricane of the Atlantic season as it makes its way toward the eastern Caribbean.

Currently, the storm is centered about 1,200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and moving west at 10 mph. The National Hurricane Center's "forecast cone" has Hurricane Danny making landfall possibly as far north as Puerto Rico or as far south as St. Lucia.

The storm currently has sustained winds of nearly 75 mph, with higher gusts.

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