Monday, January 12, 2009

New NOAA Great Lakes Laboratory Opens

New NOAA Great Lakes Laboratory Opens

A larger facility to focus on Great Lakes issues opened today following a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Pittsfield Township, Mich.

“GLERL starts the new year with a new building,” said Richard W. Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. “This laboratory is a leader on many Great Lakes issues, such as invasive species, lake levels, and the use of biofuels for its research ships. In its new space, the laboratory will expand its efforts to serve the Great Lakes region through research and partnerships.”

Spinrad also announced Marie Colton as the acting director of the lab and acting lead of the NOAA Great Lakes regional team, succeeding Stephen B. Brandt who is leaving Michigan to be the director of Oregon Sea Grant in Corvallis, Ore.

Colton, who has been with NOAA since 2005 as technical director of the National Ocean Service, has also held positions at NASA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research. She holds bachelors and masters degrees in physical oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. In 1989, she received her doctorate in physical oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

The new 40,225 square-feet facility has modern wet and dry laboratories, conference facilities, a library, marine instrumentation shop, and office space to accommodate about 120 federal and cooperative institute employees. NOAA will lease the building for 20 years.

Office and laboratory space will also be provided to partner organizations, including Michigan Sea Grant Extension, The Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystem Research, the International Association for Great Lakes Research, the NOAA National Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health, NOAA National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species, and the Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Office.

GLERL was formed in 1974 and is one of NOAA’s seven research laboratories. The Ann Arbor area facility includes a field station in Muskegon on the shores of Lake Michigan.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. the Web

Author: Grant Gilmore

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City says a tornado touched down in Monroe County early Wednesday.

The EF 0 tornado-- the weakest rating on the EF (Enhanced Fujita) scale-- touched down 5 miles southeast of Forsyth around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

The National Weather Service estimated the winds at up to 85 m.p.h.Embedded within a line a severe storms, the tornado touched down near 412 Reedy Creek Rd. and tracked east across US 41 near the Smarr water tower and then dissipated as it crossed over I-75, according to the NWS.

The path of the tornado was a maximum of 100 yards wide and 3 miles long, according to the NWS.Along its path, The National Weather Service's survey team found some trees snapped or uprooted, one home with moderate damage and three other structures with minor roof damage.


The first tankers carrying LNG are expected to dock at the jetty at South Hook within the next few months. Emergency services are to outline how they would tackle any big incidents at the new gas terminals being built at Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire.

Since it was first announced liquefied natural gas (LNG) is to be shipped to the port there have been safety fears.

Drop-in sessions are being held from Thursday but campaigners said plans and safety briefings were "incomplete and inadequate".

Tankers carrying LNG will start arriving in the next few months.

Two companies - South Hook LNG and Dragon LNG - are currently finishing off their plants at Wales's biggest port.

Opponents took legal action in a bid to stop them being built claiming a shipping accident, leak or major incident at one of the plants could put the lives of those living nearby at risk.

The extensive safety systems at the plants make the likelihood of any incidents there extremely small Paul Bates, assistant chief fire officer

Fire, police, council and other representatives will be explaining their emergency contingency plans and answering questions on safety arrangements.

The event is being held at Cedar Court in Milford Haven between 1400 and 1900 GMT on Thursday.

Pembrokeshire council's head of civil contingencies Richard Brown said: "This drop-in session is intended to be very informal, giving the public an opportunity to come along and find out a bit more about the emergency response plan arrangements.

"People can turn up anytime and talk directly with representatives from the emergency services and supporting agencies.

"I think they will be reassured that the risk of an incident is very low and that the safety standards are extremely high and, in the very unlikely event there is a problem, there are good multi-agency response plans in place to mitigate the impacts."

But Gordon Main, a spokesman for Safe Haven campaign group claimed that both South Hook and Pembrokeshire Council had still neglected to look at the consequences of a major LNG release at the jetty or in the waterway which meant any emergency plans or safety leaflets "are likely to be incomplete and inadequate."

The group said it had reported a possible breach of safety directives to the European Commission in what it called a "last ditch attempt" to see that safety was not compromised.

Campaigners believe the first tanker may arrive as early as next week but it is thought that the first shipment will not arrive for several weeks.

Frontline colleagues

More than 50 firefighters from the Pembrokeshire area have travelled to Texas in the USA for specialist LNG training.

They were involved in theoretical and practical exercises to understand the way in which LNG behaves and how to contain and suppress any leaks and tackle large scale fires. Assistant chief fire officer Paul Bates, who attended the training, said: "Our staff in Pembrokeshire continue to work hard alongside the plant operators to ensure that the safety systems installed are of the highest standard.

"This specialist training in LNG behaviour has been extremely beneficial to frontline colleagues and officers alike.

"Whilst the extensive safety systems at the plants make the likelihood of any incidents there extremely small, it is comforting to know that we have specially trained firefighters available if needed."

Separate safety and emergency planning exercises will be launched by the two companies in nearby communities before the arrival of the first LNG ship.