NOTE TO REPORTERS: A step-by-step video demonstration on using the tool is available online.
RESTON, Va.— Announced on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan (310 KB PDF; page 16 - Providing a Toolkit for Climage Resilience), a new “Land Carbon Viewer” allows users to see the land carbon storage and change in their ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states.
The Land Carbon Viewer Website, developed by U.S. Geological Survey in collaboration with the University of California-Berkeley, is based on the national biological carbon assessment for ecosystems, completing the carbon inventory for the lower 48.
The new Land Carbon Viewer will give the public access to the national inventory of the capacity of land-based ecosystems to naturally store, or sequester, carbon. Researchers used the data on ecosystem carbon storage, or sequestration, in the national assessment to build maps, graphs and text for the land carbon viewer.
The resulting products will help land and resource planners and policy makers easily see how much carbon is sequestered in the different land types in their regions now, and up to 2050, under various land-use and climate scenarios. The tool also allows users to download data in their particular areas or ecosystems of interest.
“The new Land Carbon Viewer demonstrates how the Interior Department can significantly contribute to the U.S. effort to establish a national carbon inventory and tracking system as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan,” said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS director. “USGS is committed to taking the next step, which is to make this approach useful for specific sites and situations. Incorporating carbon science directly into management planning is critical to ensure sound land use and land management decisions that will affect future generations.”
The USGS mapped how much carbon is sequestered in ecosystems using streamgage, soil and natural-resource inventory data, remote sensing techniques, and computer models. Based on the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s ecoregion map, the USGS Land Carbon Viewer shows the lower 48 divided into 16 ecoregions defined by similarities in ecology and land cover. The ecosystems examined are terrestrial (forests, wetlands, agricultural lands, shrublands and grasslands), and aquatic (rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters).
For example, the Southeastern USA Plains Ecoregion is the largest ecoregion in the eastern United States, and users can explore the baseline (2001-2005) and future (2006-2050) carbon storage in different kinds of ecosystems using three different IPCC carbon emission scenarios combined with economic models:
● Moderate population growth, high economic growth, rapid technical innovation and balanced energy use,
● Continuous population growth, uneven economic and technical growth, and carbon emissions triple through the 21st century, and
● High economic growth, a population that peaks by mid-century and then declines, a rapid shift toward clean energy technologies, and a CO2 concentration that approximately doubles by 2100.
“The new USGS Land Carbon Viewer allows decision-makers to view and explore various ecoregions, and download data over their area of interest,” said Suzette Kimball. “The resulting products will help land and resource planners and policy makers easily see how much carbon is sequestered in the different land types in their regions now, and up to 2050, under various land-use and climate scenarios.”
Among the many benefits of ecosystems and farmlands to society, these areas also store, or sequester, biological carbon. Biological carbon sequestration is the process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in vegetation, soils and sediment. Such storage reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Since a 2007 congressional mandate in the Energy Independence and Security Act, USGS scientists have been building a national inventory of the capacity of land-based ecosystems to store carbon naturally, information vital for science-based land use and land management decisions are expected to be completed in 2015.
Cape Henlopen State Park and Cape May Lewes Ferry to celebrate 50th anniversaries with June 29 fireworks display
CHICAGO –Summertime is meant for enjoying outdoor activities, but if you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to put you in danger. In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency want you to learn ways you can enjoy the warm temperatures and still protect yourself and your family when storm clouds roll in.Language English
NOAA, Partners Predict an Average 'Dead Zone' for Gulf of Mexico; Slightly Above-average Hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay
NOTE: Link to the Maryland Department of Natural Resourses was changed in the 10th paragraph. (6/25/14)
Scientists are expecting an average, but still large, hypoxic or "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this year, and slightly above-average hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay.
NOAA-supported modeling is forecasting this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to cover an area ranging from about 4,633 to 5,708 square miles (12,000 to 14,785 square kilometers) or about the size of the state of Connecticut.
While close to averages since the late 1990s, these hypoxic zones are many times larger than what research has shown them to be prior to the significant human influences that greatly expanded their sizes and effects.
The Gulf of Mexico prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored modeling teams and individual researchers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Geological Survey, and relies on nutrient loading estimates from the USGS. The models also account for the influence of variable weather and oceanographic conditions, and predict that these can affect the dead zone area by as much as 38 percent.
A second NOAA-funded forecast, for the Chesapeake Bay, predicts a slightly larger than average dead zone in the nation's largest estuary. The forecast predicts a mid-summer low-oxygen hypoxic zone of 1.97 cubic miles, an early-summer oxygen-free anoxic zone of 0.51 cubic miles, with the late-summer oxygen-free anoxic area predicted to be 0.32 cubic miles. Because of the shallow nature of large areas of the estuary the focus is on water volume or cubic miles, instead of square mileage as used in the Gulf.
The Chesapeake Bay prediction is based on models developed by NOAA-sponsored researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, University of Michigan, and again relies on nutrient loading estimates from USGS.
The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico affects nationally important commercial and recreational fisheries and threatens the region's economy. The Chesapeake Bay dead zones, which have been highly variable in recent years, threaten a multi-year effort to restore the water and habitat quality to enhance its production of crabs, oysters, and other important fisheries.
Hypoxic (very low oxygen) and anoxic (no oxygen) zones are caused by excessive nutrient pollution, primarily from human activities such as agriculture and wastewater, which results in insufficient oxygen to support most marine life and habitats in near-bottom waters. Aspects of weather, including wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and temperature, also affect the size of dead zones.
"We are making progress at reducing the pollution in our nation's waters that leads to 'dead zones,' but there is more work to be done," said Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "These ecological forecasts are good examples of the critical environmental intelligence products and tools that NOAA provides to interagency management bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay Program and Gulf Hypoxia Task Force. With this information, we can work collectively on ways to reduce pollution and protect our marine environments for future generations."
Later this year, researchers will measure oxygen levels in both bodies of water. The confirmed size of the 2014 Gulf hypoxic zone will be released in late July or early August, following a mid-July monitoring survey led by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. The final measurement in the Chesapeake will come in October following surveys by the Chesapeake Bay Program's partners from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
USGS nutrient-loading estimates for the Mississippi River and Chesapeake Bay are used in the hypoxia forecasts for the Gulf and Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake data are funded with a cooperative agreement between USGS and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. USGS also operates more than 65 real-time nitrate sensors in these two watersheds to track how nutrient conditions are changing over time.
For the Gulf of Mexico USGS estimates that 101,000 metric tons of nitrate flowed down the Mississippi River into the northern gulf in May 2014, which is less than the 182,000 metric tons in last May when stream flows were above average. In the Chesapeake Bay USGS estimates that 44,000 metric tons of nitrogen entered the bay from the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers between January and May of 2014, which is higher than the 36,600 metric tons delivered to the Bay during the same period in 2013.
"The USGS continues to conduct long-term nutrient monitoring and modeling" said William Werkheiser, USGS associate director for water. "This effort is key to tracking how nutrient conditions are changing in response to floods and droughts and nutrient management actions."
The research programs supporting this work are authorized under the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, known as HABHRCA, which was recently amended and reauthorized earlier this month through 2018.
Gov. Markell, DNREC Sec. O’Mara and Sen. Blevins announce new plans to build pedestrian and bicycle trail in Elsmere
Woodland Beach Wildlife Area named for conservationist and longtime wildlife professional Tony Florio
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Just two weeks remain for storm and flood survivors in Florida to apply for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The deadline to register is Monday, July 7.
Survivors in Escambia, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties are eligible to apply for disaster assistance that may include money to help pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs or other serious disaster-related expenses.Language English
LINCROFT, N.J. -- Frederick Ziegler promises his rebuilt house in Point Pleasant Beach will be just as spotless as he left his FEMA mobile home at Green Acres Manor in Howell Township.Language English
JACKSON, Miss. – Federal assistance approved for disaster survivors in 12 Mississippi counties has reached more than $17.3 million.
Here is a summary through Sunday, June 22, of all federal assistance to individuals and households in the 12 counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance. The severe storms, tornadoes and flooding occurred from April 28 through May 3, 2014.Language English
FEMA Rebuilding Specialists to Provide Advice in Jackson
JACKSON, Miss. – Residents in the Jackson area can learn how to build or rebuild to reduce the likelihood of damage the next time severe storms, tornadoes or floods hit. Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation specialists know how and they are sharing their knowledge.Language English
FEMA Awards $307,275 Grant to Village of Hamburg: Hazard mitigation funds will be used to acquire and demolish six flood prone structures
CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $307,275 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the Village of Hamburg, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of six residential structures in the Mississippi River floodplain. Following demolition, these properties will be maintained as permanent open space in the community.Language English
FEMA Awards $914,519 Grant to McHenry County: Hazard mitigation funds will be used to acquire and demolish 10 flood prone structures
CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $914,519 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to McHenry County, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of 10 residential structures in the Nippersink Creek floodplain. Following demolition, these properties will be maintained as permanent open space in the community.Language English
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – One year has passed since the thunder of ballistic ice loomed over several Interior Alaskan communities that witnessed record-level floods in May 2013. Today, the sound of hammers, saws and power tools heralds in the start of construction season as volunteers and residents work to complete recovery efforts initiated last summer in Alakanuk, Circle, Em