Arctic Ocean Row Speed Record
Five international athletes have completed the first of the Polar Row’s two rows, shattering the previous Arctic Ocean speed record. This achievement makes the world’s fastest ocean rower, Fiann Paul, the first person in history to row four oceans.
This first leg of the expedition departed Tromsø, Norway, July 20, and the team rowed across the Barents Sea, encountering strong currents and prevailing headwinds, and arrived in Hornsund, Svalbard on July 27.
The crew averaged 2.58 kt. during this first leg, which is roughly 3.5 times faster than the previous record for the Arctic Ocean. This average speed is also higher than the current overall speed record for the Pacific Ocean.
The second leg is due to depart during the middle of next week from Longyearbyen, Svalbard after a crew change. The team will be heading to Siglufjordur, Iceland, and the row will last roughly 22 days.
Learn more at www.polarrow.com.
ST July 2017 Issue
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1 Trillion-Tonne Iceberg Breaks Away
A 1 trillion-tonne iceberg–one of the biggest ever recorded–calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica earlier this month. Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie.
It was already floating before it calved away, so it has no immediate impact on sea level. Although the remaining ice shelf will continue to regrow naturally, Swansea researchers have previously shown that the new configuration is potentially less stable. There is a risk that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbor, Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event in 1995.
If the shelf loses much more of its area, it could result in land-based glaciers speeding up their passage toward the ocean. This nonfloating ice would have an eventual impact on sea levels at a modest rate.
Caption: Map of Larsen C, overlaid with NASA MODIS thermal image from July 12, 2017, showing the iceberg has calved.
Invasive Seaweed Has Benefits
Invasive plant species aren’t all that bad, according to a new study by scientists at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. They can be a source of valuable ecosystem functions where native coastal habitats such as salt marshes and oyster reefs have severely declined.
The study focused on an invasive Japanese seaweed in North Carolina. The seaweed was found to perform functions such as soil stabilization and erosion control; storm surge and flood protection; biodiversity; food production; and the provision of nursery habitat for economically important seafood species, including shrimp, crab and fish.
Photo Credit: Aaron Ramus/Duke University
Interior Deputy Sec Confirmed
On July 24, U.S. Department of the Interior veteran David Bernhardt was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the Interior’s deputy secretary. He will be sworn-in in the coming days.
This position makes him the COO of the department.
Bernhardt is an avid hunter and fisherman and recently served on the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has previously served as the United States Commissioner to the International Boundary Commission, U.S. and Canada.
He has previously held various positions within the Department of the Interior, including serving as solicitor.
CNR Concept Challenge Finalists
The finalists of the CNR Concept Challenge–a historic call for innovative ideas to support the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps of the future–were announced at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo in Washington, D.C.
The finalists include Benjamin Conley, for enhancements to existing thermal-imaging capabilities; Joe Kennedy, for a prototype system that assesses various sources of position, navigating and timing data; and Jim Coward, for a supercontinuum laser source for shipboard protection.