Tuesday, June 20, 2017

6/20 Navy training, Navy suit, fern deaths, coral bleaching, oil spill robots, undersea drones

Rufous hummingbird [Conrad Tan/BirdNote]
A Rufous in the Rain
In a garden near the McKenzie River in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, a downpour pummels the landscape. Imagine a Rufous Hummingbird, like this male, out and about, extracting nectar, searching for gnats and aphids. A hummingbird's stamina against the heavy rain is marvelous. Consider this: its body is nine and a half centimeters long; the average raindrop is about four millimeters. That would be like a person 5'8" being pounded by a torrent of raindrops each three inches across. Incredible! (BirdNote.Org)

Navy reading public comments on Puget Sound training plan
Navy officials are in the process of reading comments from the public on its proposed special operations training in the Puget Sound area. Navy officials are reading the comments before drafting an environmental assessment, according to Sheila Murray, deputy public affairs officer for the Navy Region Northwest…. Murray said the Navy plans to have a draft of the environmental assessment published in late fall or early winter this year. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Navy skips permit for Bremerton boat scraping; environmentalists sue
Earlier this year, the Navy scraped the hull of the U.S.S. Independence to prepare it for dismantlement. That likely released heavy metals into the waters of Puget Sound, which is bad for salmon and orcas. The Navy didn’t get a permit for the work, so environmental groups sued this week. But in Bremerton? It's going to take more than that to shake this town's love of the Navy. Joshua McNichols reports. (KUOW)

Sword Fern Deaths In Washington's Seward Park Mystify Experts 
About a third of the sword ferns in a northwestern Washington state park have died and it’s not clear why. Officials tracking the forest dwelling sword ferns in the 300-acre (121-hectare) Seward Park in Seattle say the ferns have been dying at an accelerating rate in the last few years. Forest Steward Paul Shannon says studies found 3 percent of the park’s sword ferns dead in 2015 but that jumped to 33 percent in 2016. (Associated Press)

3-year global coral bleaching event easing, but still bad 
A mass bleaching of coral reefs worldwide is finally easing after three years, U.S. scientists announced Monday. About three-quarters of the world’s delicate coral reefs were damaged or killed by hot water in what scientists say was the largest coral catastrophe. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a global bleaching event in May 2014. It was worse than previous global bleaching events in 1998 and 2010. The forecast damage doesn’t look widespread in the Indian Ocean, so the event loses its global scope. Bleaching will still be bad in the Caribbean and Pacific, but it’ll be less severe than recent years, said NOAA coral reef watch coordinator C. Mark Eakin. Seth Borenstein reports. (Associated Press)

Robots roll out to help stop oil spills
It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. And when it comes to the expensive, claustrophobic and sometimes dangerous work of inspecting natural gas and oil pipelines, that somebody might be a robot…. According to the federal government, more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines supply the nation's energy needs. But aging and deteriorating pipelines pose substantial risks. In Northern California, a natural gas pipeline explosion killed eight people in San Bruno in September 2010. Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reports that since 2010, an average of about 200 crude oil spills a year are reported. While most of the leaks are small, it's been estimated that 8.9 million gallons have been spilled during that time. (Phys.org)

Boeing makes plans to use undersea drones as another growth opportunity
Boeing’s recently announced underwater drone manufacturing partnership with Huntington Ingalls Industries brings together two of the U.S.’ biggest defense contractors in an emerging market. But the combination of the world’s largest airplane maker and the U.S’ largest military shipbuilder is more than just about name recognition, Boeing defense segment CEO Leanne Caret told a Defense One-hosted event Wednesday morning in Washington. Ross Wilkers reports. Washington Technology)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  351 AM PDT Tue Jun 20 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
 LATE TONIGHT  
TODAY
 W wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft building to 2 to 4 ft. W swell 5  ft at 10 seconds. Scattered showers in the morning.
TONIGHT
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 5 ft  at 10 seconds.

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