NOAA

Marine Life
12:10 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

This Is What Puget Sound Orcas Sound Like When They Talk To Each Other

An endangered female orca leaps from the water while breaching in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 from a federal research vessel.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Ever hear an orca speak? Ken Balcomb, who many regard as the godfather of whale conservation, captured their chatter using a hydrophone on San Juan Island: 

Read more
Marine Life
5:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Key To Saving Endangered Orcas: Chinook Salmon, Says Local Expert

FILE -- In this file photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and shot Oct. 29, 2013, orca whales from the J and K pods swim past a small research boat on Puget Sound in view of downtown Seattle.
AP Photo/NOAA Fisheries Service, Candice Emmons

Following the release of a federal report on the state of endangered orcas, one local researcher says there's one factor that matters more to the whales' wellness than toxins and vessel traffic: fish. 

Ken Balcomb, who many regard as the godfather of whale conservation, is the director of the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor. For almost 40 years now, the center has been keeping track of every individual whale in the three pods that make up the southern resident population of the iconic orcas that live in Puget Sound.

Read more
Marine Life
2:07 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Feds Weigh Protecting Orcas In West Coast Waters

File image
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

A federal agency is weighing whether to protect endangered orcas in the waters off the West Coast.

NOAA Fisheries said Thursday it would consider a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity seeking to expand the critical habitat for southern resident killer whales.

Read more
climate change
4:27 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Cantwell Grills NOAA Nominee on Ocean Acidification Funding

Cantwell says Washington's $270 million shellfish industry is at risk without adequate funding for monitoring of ocean acidification.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Ocean health is at stake as Congress decides whether to confirm the next head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The nominee faced tough questions from Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, about funding for research of and adaptation to ocean acidification.

Read more
Endangered species
12:06 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Puget Sound Orcas to Remain Protected

chasedekker photo Flickr

  The charismatic black and white killer whales that spend their summers in Puget Sound will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has rejected a call to de-list resident orcas. 

Read more
Environment
5:01 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Feds testing drones for scientific and environmental missions

The Puma AE unmanned aircraft system, shown during a pre-flight check for tests in NOAA's marine research missions from La Push, on the Olympic Penninsula. It launches without a runway, making it ideal for NOAA's missions at sea, the agency says.
Bellamy Pailthorp Photo KPLU News

They’re the tools of modern-day warfare: unmanned aircraft systems better known as drones.

They’re also being tested to help carry out important scientific missions, including surveys of wildlife and marine debris in the National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

Read more
Environment
10:44 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Blue Ribbon panel warns about dangers of ocean acidification

Declining PH levels in the world's oceans interferes with many species ability to form shells.
Photo courtesy of Washington State Dept. of Ecology

Carbon emissions are threatening Washington’s shellfish industry. That’s the concern of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, which meets today in Seattle.

Read more
Science
4:14 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

UW Researchers stream live video from undersea volcano

Coral grows on an older "pillow basalt" lava flow at Axial Seamount.
Courtesy of University of Washington

A University of Washington research ship is sending amazing live video of the aftermath of an undersea volcanic eruption. The large volcano is about 300 miles due west of Astoria, Oregon.

Some scientists theorize life on our planet started at a place like this.

Read more
NOAA leaves seattle
9:43 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Newport, Ore., prepares to welcome NOAA

Newport has been rolling out the welcome mat for NOAA's new facility.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

NEWPORT, Ore. – A fleet of federal research ships is moving from Seattle to the Oregon coast. This weekend, state and local leaders in Newport are celebrating the transition with festivities. The state of Oregon kicked in nearly $20 million to help Newport lure the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific operation center from its long-time home.

From the Yaquina Bay Bridge, a huge bridge over the harbor, you can get a good view of the new NOAA pier. It can hold up to a half-dozen ocean-going ships.

Read more
Weather
3:10 pm
Fri July 1, 2011

Average July 4th: sunnier and warmer than you might think

This Fourth of July, like almost all Fourths in Seattle, will have sunny skies and warm temps.
Brianna Flickr

The weather for the 4th of July this year is looking pretty good, with scattered clouds in the forecast and highs in the low seventies.  

That’s actually pretty typical, says Carl Carniglia with the national weather service in Seattle.  He looked back at local statistics from the late 1800s to the present and found the historical data contradicts the cliché of rainy weather for Independence day.

Read more
Science
3:45 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Japan tsunami illustrates risks facing Pacific Northwest coast

UW Brian Atwater (center) points out evidence of the 1700 Cascadia earthquake and tsunami to field-trip participants during a canoe trip along the Niawiakum River.
Brian Atwater University of Washington

The same type of tectonic earthquake that hit Japan - involving the collision of plates that make up the Earth's crust - could happen in the Northwest.  Similar faults lie in the Cascadia subduction zone. 

The head of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, John Vidale, told The Seattle Times' Sandi Doughton the Cascadia fault last ruptured in 1700.  Scientists believe it generated at magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami that may have been bigger than the one that battered Japan. 

Read more
Northwest Salmon
8:57 am
Fri November 12, 2010

Task Force: Kill more Columbia River sea lions

This May 2010 photo shows a sea lion tossing a partially eaten salmon in the Columbia River near the Bonneville Dam. Should more sea lions be killed to protect salmon runs? A new study says that's what should happen.
AP

A task force convened by the federal government is recommending that wildlife agents get more aggressive about trapping and killing sea lions in the Columbia River.

Read more