Charting the Arctic

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Crescent Moegling, Northwest Navigation Manager, NOAA Pacific Hydrographic Branch presented at the WISTA AGM 2013 Seattle

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  • 4 NOAA survey vessels: FA, RA, FH, & TJ CLICK - 6 navigation response teams CLICK - Bay Hydro II CLICK- LiDAR Contracted hydrographic surveys and services: $22 million/year
  • Briefly describe multibeam and side scan.
  • NOAA Arctic Vision Goals: Goal 4: Enhance international & national partnerships. Share data and observational platforms Goal 6: Advance resilient and healthy Arctic communities and economies. Improve geospatial infrastructure, safe navigation, oil spill response readiness, and climate change adaption strategies. I’LL BE TALKING TODAY ABOUT TWO PRONGS TO THE NOAA STRATEGY CLICK - SAFE NAVIGATION CLICK – OIL SPILL RESPONSE READINESS
  • The U.S. Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 defines the U.S. Arctic as the area north of the Arctic Circle, Yukon River, and Aleutian Islands through the Bering Strait and Chukchi & Beaufort Seas.
  • As ice diminishment opens up new routes, maritime traffic begins to pick up. The region currently has virtually no geospatial infrastructure for accurate positioning and elevations; It has sparse tide, current and water level prediction coverage; It has obsolete shoreline and hydrographic data in most areas; And it has poor nautical charts. We need to survey more, and update charts. In the summer of 2012, NOAA Ship Fairweather undertook a reconnaissance survey of the Arctic, to the northernmost tip of the Alaska’s Arctic coast. Fairweather checked check soundings along a 1,500 nautical mile coastal corridor from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to the Canadian border. The sounding samples acquired by Fairweather throughout the reconnaissance will provide critical information needed to prioritize NOAA’s future survey projects in the Arctic.
  • In June 2011, Coast Survey issued the Arctic Nautical Charting Plan after consultations with maritime interests and the public, as well as with other federal, state, and local governments. On February 15, we issued the 2 nd draft, which is outlining the 14 planned charts, and includes a new map showing vessel traffic patterns. The new edition also provides information that will make it easier for mariners and other chart users to provide comments on the plan.
  • The AIS information has been extremely helpful as we have planned a series of surveys over the next several years to begin addressing the “emerging critical” areas.
  • The ports in western and northern Alaska with significant vessel traffic concentrations will get new large scale charts – harbor scales range from 1:5,000 to 1:50,000. This is the Delong Mountain Terminal in northwest Alaska, servicing Red Dog Mine – the world’s largest producer of zinc concentrate.
  • The crew experienced some of the beauty – including wildlife – of the Arctic
  • “ There was a hurried call on the radio from the bridge to survey, requesting that they pull in their MVP (moving vessel sound speed profiler) “fish” being towed behind the Fairweather – we were approaching a large field of ice and needed to be prepared to maneuver. However, the ice never got any closer. It turned out to be an example of Fata Morgana – an Arctic mirage, caused by the refraction of light rays due to the cold and dense polar air.”
  • “ Viewed through binoculars, our very own “ghost ship.” This ship was actually 23 miles away at the time – over the visible horizon.”
  • “ When NOAA Ship Fairweather started her Arctic reconnaissance survey, on August 1, there was some question about whether she would be able to complete the entire trackline. The icepack from Barrow to the Canadian border had not yet receded. “ Thanks to satellite imagery and ice forecasts, we can see open water up to Barter Island, and then thin ice to Demarcation Point. Cmdr. Jim Crocker is now able to follow a nearshore route.” They surveyed closer to shore than the planned transit route – and acquired very useful hydrographic data.
  • In late December, 2012, Shell Drilling Vessel KULLUK went adrift in the Gulf of Alaska. During the event, NOAA's navigation manager worked closely with the National Weather Service AK Region and the scientific support coordinator for NOAA ORR. We provided updated bathymetry data and expertise for consideration in choosing areas for safe anchorage. When the KULLUK grounded on New Year's Eve, the navigation manager provided Incident Command with graphics of survey vintage and bathy data. On Sunday, the KULLUK was re-floated and transported to a port of refuge in Kiliuda Bay for further assessment. Fortunately, the worse scenario – a major spill – did not occur. How will we help when the worst scenario does happen?
  • BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – Commerce was not interrupted Coast Survey used 1990 ocean mapping surveys to create a digital terrain model of spill site. (Shown here.) Coast Survey recovered multibeam survey data collected during NOAA’s ocean mapping program of the 1990s. The data and the terrain model can be used to improve ocean circulation models and assist in discussions about current spill volume calculations. During the spill, vessels that passed through oil were required to undergo decontamination before entering ports, which could slow down shipping and produce traffic bottlenecks. NOAA produced a range of charts that displayed the oil spill trajectory based on model estimates. We organized a survey for a new ship anchorage site at the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico for ships to undergo inspection and oil decontamination before entering ports. NOAA’s response and assessment of the Deepwater Horizon spill included our ships on the water, planes in the air, and oceanographic equipment in the water.  Although many of these platforms weren’t designed to conduct oil spill-specific research, they were quickly re-configured and mobilized to collect a wide variety of data to inform scientific efforts and the recovery and restoration of the Gulf.
  • Charting the Arctic

    1. 1. Office of Coast SurveyProviding Navigation SupportProviding Navigation Supportfor Growth in the Arctic Maritime Economyfor Growth in the Arctic Maritime EconomyCrescent MoeglingNorthwest Navigation Manager, Office of Coast SurveyNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    2. 2. Office of Coast SurveyCoast Survey is the nation’snautical chart makerTraditional paper chartsElectronic navigational charts
    3. 3. Office of Coast SurveyNOAA charts cover U.S. coastal watersU.S. marine transportation system:95,000 miles of coastline25,000 miles of navigable channelsU.S. EEZ is 3.4 million square nautical miles
    4. 4. Office of Coast SurveyNOAA charts are the source of all U.S.nautical chartsCommercial vessels called onU.S. ports 63,000 times in 2010.Every vessel is required tocarry nautical charts.10 million U.S. residents sailed on acruise in 2010.Every cruise ship must usenautical charts.
    5. 5. Office of Coast SurveyMariners have trusted CoastSurvey for over two centuries• First science agency of the U.S., formed in 1807• Surveys 3.4 million square nautical miles• Creates and updates over 1,000 nautical charts• Speeds re-opening of ports after hurricanes andother disasters• Develops hydrodynamic models for coastalmanagement• Provides global hydrographic leadership
    6. 6. Office of Coast SurveyAdvanced technologies to acquirehydrographic dataRainierNewport, OR1968, MRP 2010-11FairweatherKetchikan, AK1968, 2010Thomas JeffersonNorfolk, VA1992Bay Hydro IISilver Spring, MD2008HasslerNew Hampshire2012King Air2009Six NavigationResponseTeams
    7. 7. Office of Coast Survey“Seeing” the seafloor• Deals with themeasurement anddescription of thephysical features ofoceans, seas, coastalareas, lakes and rivers.Hydrography is the branch of applied sciences that:
    8. 8. Office of Coast SurveyNational Policy guides NOAA in the Arctic• Presidential Executive Order (July 2010)– “Address environmental stewardship needs in the ArcticOcean and adjacent coastal areas in the face of climate-induced and other environmental changes.”– “Implement comprehensive integrated ecosystem-basedcoastal and marine spatial planning in the United States.”• NOAA Arctic Vision and Strategy (February 2011)– Enhance international & national partnerships. Share dataand observational platforms.– Advance resilient and healthy Arctic communities andeconomies. Improve safe navigation, oil spill responsereadiness, geospatial infrastructure, and climate changeadaption strategies.
    9. 9. Office of Coast Survey
    10. 10. Office of Coast SurveyAlaska accounts for 63% of U.S.“navigationally significant waters”In square nautical miles
    11. 11. Office of Coast SurveyComparison of Alaska and the contiguous statesshows the extent of historical survey coverage
    12. 12. Office of Coast SurveyPreparing for new Arctic routes
    13. 13. Office of Coast SurveyNOAA recently updated Arctic charting priorities• 14 new charts planned• Seeking views ofmaritime interestshttp://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/docs/Arctic_Nautical_Charting_Plan.pdf
    14. 14. Office of Coast SurveyMarine traffic drivesnew chart coverage
    15. 15. Office of Coast SurveyExample of harbor scale charts
    16. 16. Office of Coast SurveyChart 16161:Kotzebue Harbor and Approaches• Based on alarge surveyconducted byNOAA ShipFairweather,summer, 2011• Published inApril 2012 –1:50,000 scale• Previously, thelargest scalechart availablewas 1:700,000
    17. 17. Office of Coast SurveyNew chartsare plannedas databecomesavailable
    18. 18. Office of Coast SurveyRecon surveys in 2012• Fairweather checkedsparse soundingsacquired by early U.S.Coast and GeodeticSurvey field parties andby other agencies.• The vessel traveled alonga 1,500 nautical milecoastal corridor fromDutch Harbor, Alaska, tothe Canadian border.
    19. 19. Office of Coast SurveyCrew saw the beautyof the Arctic
    20. 20. Office of Coast Survey
    21. 21. Office of Coast Survey
    22. 22. Office of Coast SurveyAn example of Fata Morgana– an Artic mirage
    23. 23. Office of Coast SurveyA “ghost ship”??
    24. 24. Office of Coast Survey
    25. 25. Office of Coast SurveyNavigation response in the Arctic?
    26. 26. Office of Coast SurveyNOAA navigation products are used inresponse to oil spills
    27. 27. Office of Coast SurveyCould we respond to a major event inthe Arctic?• Improving geospatial infrastructure• Correcting meters-level positioning errors• Increasing tide, current, and water-level coverage• Updating shoreline and hydrographic data• Producing new nautical chartsNOAA must tackle substantial hydrographic,cartographic, and geospatial tasks in Alaska.These tasks include:
    28. 28. Office of Coast Surveywww.nauticalcharts.noaa.govTwitter @nauticalchartsBlogging at noaacoastsurvey.wordpress.com

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