Hey OceanWorld Users,
the GLOSSARY is now embedded withing the pages of Ocean World. If you see a hightlighted word, click on it and the definition will pop up for you.

OceanWorld Webmaster


Hey OceanWorld Users,
You now have the ability to search our site for specific content. Just use the search box on the left side of the page. This function has been implemented to make content on the OceanWorld website even easier to find. If you have any problems with this feature, or any other problems with OceanWorld, email us at oceanwld@ocean.tamu.edu and let us know.

Also, keep e-mailing Dr Bob with your questions, and he will give you a response as soon as he can.

OceanWorld Webmaster

Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) Membership

ATTENITION EDUCATORS: Oceanworld is now a member of the Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) at www.thegateway.org. The GEM site states:

"The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) project is a consortium effort to provide educators with quick and easy access to the substantial, but uncataloged, collections of educational materials found on various federal, state, university, non-profit, and commercial Internet sites."

The Gateway to Educational Materials website is sponsored by the US Department of Education.

New and Improved OceanWorld

The redesigned Oceanworld website is now up. Improvements in appearance, navigation and content presentation were implemented to provide users with a more "at your fingertips" approach to the information within Oceanworld. Also, new pages to both the Educators and Students sections have been added.

Updates to Oceanworld will continue. The use of Flash, for improved interaction as well as animations to aid in topic explanation, may soon be implemented. Look for updates in this News section.

Dr. Bob back from France!

OceanWorld's Dr. Bob is back on board to take your questions regarding ocean science, education, and the life of an oceanographer. To ask your question visit our "Ask Dr. Bob" page linked to the left in the navbar.

Massive Iceberg's birth captured

The Antarctic region of the globe seems to be making big news with scientists these days. Researchers suggest that warming in the climate of the area has been the cause of major activity such as the Larsen Ice Shelf collapse.

Another iceberg, this time broken off of the Pine Island Glacier on the West Antarctic continent, splashed down "well in advance of scientists predictions" says NASA.

An excellent animation of the separation, captured by NASA's Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer, is available with other Antarctica related materials at:

Larsen Ice Shelf Collapse

According to NSIDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf, a large floating ice mass on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, has shattered and separated from the continent.

To imagine the size of this block of ice NSIDC suggests that "the area lost in this most recent event dwarfs Rhode Island (2717 km2) in size. In terms of volume, the amount of ice released in this short time is 720 billion tons, enough ice for about 12 trillion 10 kg bags."

For more information on the collapse check the NSIDEC website at http://nsidc.org/iceshelves/larsenb2002/index.html

GRACE launched successfully

The GRACE - Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment spacecraft was launched on March 17, 2002 at 9:21 am GMT. GRACE will map Earth's gravity field so well that Topex/Poseidon and Jason data can be used to map the mean (time averaged) ocean currents. Before GRACE, we did not know the geoid well enough to map these currents. The geoid is determined by Earth's gravity.

For further information on GRACE check out the following websites:

and http://op.gfz-potsdam.de/grace/index_GRACE.html

European Space Agency launches ENVISAT

In what Philippe Escudier, CNES JASON-1 project manager, called "a milestone for the altimetry community," the ESA Envisat blasted off on the back of an Ariane 5 rocket from French New Guinea on Friday, March 1. Once Envisat is declared fully operational in several weeks, a battery of tests lasting six months will commence to validate data received from the ten instruments aboard the satellite.

Ecudier is particularly excited that the data from TOPEX/Poseidon, JASON-1, and now Envisat all use the DORIS altimetry system as their frame of reference. This ensures that the data received from these satellites will be completely complementary to each other. In addition the same processing station will be used by all three satellites, further tying together their results.

"It really looks like we have in hands efficient tools to begin a new era in altimetry development," Escudier concluded.

TOPEX/Poseidon receives continued support from NASA through Sept. '03

Eric Lindstrom, a Oceanography program scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington DC, sent word to T/P and JASON-1 researchers that the program has received funding approval from NASA's Earth Science Enterprise initiative through September of next year. About further funding for the project Lindstrom comments that the prospects are good: "Further operation past that time remains to be determined, but seems quite possible if the satellite remains healthy and economies in satellite operation continue as planned at JPL."

JASON-1 fully operational

The latest news from CNES and NASA confirms that the JASON-1 satellite is in "excellent health." The following information taken from NASA/JPL's own December 7th press release describe JASON's first moments in space:

"At 55 minutes, 20 seconds into the mission -- or 8:02 a.m. PST -- the Jason 1 spacecraft separated from the Delta's second stage. Following separation, Jason's twin sets of solar arrays were unfolded and the satellite began its rotation toward the Sun. Ground controllers successfully acquired the spacecraft's signal from the Poker Flats, Alaska, tracking station at 8:41 a.m. PST. Initial telemetry reports received by the Jason team show the spacecraft to be in excellent health."

"The French Space Agency, Centre National d' Etudes Spatiales (CNES), will handle satellite control and operations through the spacecraft's on-orbit checkout phase, expected to last approximately 30 to 50 days. The Toulouse Space Centre in Toulouse, France, is in charge of these operations. Routine operations will then transfer to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif."

Additional information is available on the Internet at: http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov , the JPL home page at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov , http://www-aviso.cnes.fr , and on the CNES home page at http://www.cnes.fr."

"JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the U.S. portion of the mission for NASA's Office of Earth Science, Washington, D.C."