NOAA 2007-R509
Contact: Fred Gorell
NOAA News Releases 2007
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NOAA’s Ocean Explorer has been named an official honoree of the Eleventh Annual Webby Awards, which recognize sites and teams demonstrating a standard of excellence and outstanding caliber of work on the Internet. The Web site, “Tracking Narwhals in Greenland,” at, was among the recipients that topped more than 8,000 entries from 60 competing countries.

"One of our missions is to take the wonderful mysteries of the deep ocean and bring them into the public eye. Our Web site is designed to educate and also generate excitement about the amazing world below the ocean’s surface,” said Stephen Hammond, acting director of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration. “More than six million individuals visited our site in the past year. People are getting information from a number of emerging media sources and NOAA is tapping these methods to promote ocean literacy and support environmental stewardship.”

The honored site reports on narwhal whales equipped with small ocean sensors that allow them to serve as deep-diving “oceanographers,” providing scientists with never before recorded winter ocean temperatures from Greenland’s west coast. The narwhals dive more than a mile before returning to the surface for air. While surfacing, data is sent to satellites, providing scientists with a unique research platform to record water temperatures and other data at varying depths.

Greenland’s coast is a gateway for fresh water from melting polar ice flowing south to the Labrador shelf, ultimately impacting the North Atlantic Current. The Arctic flow’s impact on the current is critical for understanding the impacts of a changing Arctic on the transference of heat globally from the equator to higher latitudes. Web coverage of the mission includes a summary of why scientists and educators are interested in exploring Greenland’s coast and what they may learn through research efforts in this region.

“The Ocean Explorer Web site is an extraordinary asset in supporting environmental literacy,” said Paula Keener-Chavis,” director of Education Programs for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration. “The narwhal offering has its own lessons and the overall site has more than 260 inquiry-based lessons and modules for teachers of students in grades five through 12.”

The Ocean Exploration Web site, managed by Joe Flood and Kyle Carothers under the direction of Mike Shelby, covers major ocean expeditions and smaller projects, and includes daily logs from scientists and educators at sea: still imagery and video, and animations that help explain ocean science. The site brings science, education, and the excitement of ocean exploration into the classroom, promoting environmental literacy and knowledge of ocean ecosystems that will help students, resource managers, and the public to better understand, manage and conserve ocean resources.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

On the Web:

Ocean Explorer:

The Webby Awards: