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A year in review: 10 intriguing stories from 2019

As this year comes to a close, we can’t help but reminisce on these memorable stories from 2019! Join us as we remember inspiring role models, look back on breaking news, and relive recent discoveries. Here’s a roll-up of stories that we hope will inspire you to keep learning in 2020 and beyond.

Recognizing the first all-female team to pilot a NOAA Hurricane Hunter mission

February 5, 2019

Capt. Kristie Twining (right) and Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Waddington (left) on the flight deck of NOAA's Gulfstream IV hurricane hunter jet. They are the first ever all female Hurricane Hunter pilot crew.
Capt. Kristie Twining (right) and Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Waddington (left) on the flight deck of NOAA's Gulfstream IV hurricane hunter jet. They are the first ever all female Hurricane Hunter pilot crew. (Brad Fritzler/NOAA)

Back in 2018, NOAA Corps officers made history when Capt. Kristie Twining and Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Waddington became the first all-female team to pilot a NOAA aircraft during a hurricane mission. In 2019, a third female, Lt. Lindsey Norman, joined this crew for a Hurricane Dorian reconnaissance mission, making it the first all female three-pilot crew!


GOES-17 “goes live”

February 12, 2019

GOES-17 GeoColor view of the Northern Hemisphere, Feb. 9, 2019.
GOES-17 geocolor view of the Northern Hemisphere, Feb. 9, 2019. (NOAA Satellites)

GOES-17 is NOAA’s second advanced geostationary weather satellite and the sister satellite to GOES-16 (also known as GOES East). Together the two satellites provide high-resolution visible and infrared imagery as well as lightning observations of more than half the globe – from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand, and from near the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle.
Read the full story from NOAA Satellites.


Capturing a rare glimpse of ocean life

June 21, 2019


NOAA-Funded Expedition Captures Rare Footage of Giant Squid in the Gulf of Mexico. The squid footage was captured by the Journey into Midnight NOAA research expedition at a depth of 759 meters (2,490 feet) and looked to be 10 - 12 feet long.
NOAA-Funded Expedition Captures Rare Footage of Giant Squid in the Gulf of Mexico. The squid footage was captured by the Journey into Midnight NOAA research expedition at a depth of 759 meters (2,490 feet) and looked to be 10 - 12 feet long. (NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research)

It’s what every marine scientist hopes for when they journey into the ocean’s depths. So when Nathan Robinson, one of the scientists on a NOAA-funded expedition to the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, saw that first glimpse of a tentacle rise out of the inky black of his computer screen, he was captivated. “You feel very alive,” he said of the footage, which showed a giant squid in its natural habitat for just the second time in history.”
Read the full story from NOAA Research.


Let’s celebrate, NOAA has a new marine sanctuary

July 9, 2019

The new sanctuary is located about 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., in the tidal Potomac River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. It will protect the remains of more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships, as well as other historically-significant maritime heritage resources.
The new sanctuary is located about 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., in the tidal Potomac River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. It will protect the remains of more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships, as well as other historically-significant maritime heritage resources. (NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries)

NOAA recently designated the first new national marine sanctuary in two decades: Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. The new sanctuary is located about 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., in the tidal Potomac River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. It will protect the remains of more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships, as well as other historically significant maritime heritage resources.
Read the full story from NOAA Sanctuaries.


Happy 200th birthday, Eunice Foote

July 17, 2019

Born on July 17, 1819, Eunice Newton Foote was an amateur scientist and a women's rights campaigner who was friends with American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  Foote's experiments with atmospheric gases and her insights about past climate were overlooked for more than a century.
Born on July 17, 1819, Eunice Newton Foote was an amateur scientist and a women's rights campaigner who was friends with American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Foote's experiments with atmospheric gases and her insights about past climate were overlooked for more than a century. (Carlyn Iverson/NOAA Climate.gov)

Meet Eunice Newton Foote, an early female climate science pioneer whose name you’ve most likely never heard. Foote’s experiments in the 1850s demonstrated that atmospheric water vapor and carbon dioxide affect solar heating, foreshadowing later experiments that described Earth’s greenhouse effect. Despite her remarkable insight into the influence that higher carbon dioxide levels in the past would have had on Earth’s temperature, Foote went unnoticed in the history of climate science until recently.
Read the full story from Climate.gov.


The hottest places in the U.S.

July 24, 2019

Sara Benson (right) and Roxanne Lee, of the Boston Science Museum, using a CAPA Heat Strategies sensor to investigate the July 20, 2019, extreme heat in Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Sara Benson (right) and Roxanne Lee, of the Boston Science Museum, using a CAPA Heat Strategies sensor to investigate the July 20, 2019, extreme heat in Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo courtesy of the Boston Science Museum)

Citizen scientists took to the streets during the hottest days of the summer to map hot spots in ten different U.S. cities. The campaign is part of a NOAA-funded project to map places where buildings, asphalt, and other parts of urban environments can amplify high temperatures, putting people at heightened risk of heat illness during extreme heat events.
Read the full story from Climate.gov.


There’s a patch for saving endangered species

September 5, 2019

On May 17, 2019, the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital organization announced the Endangered Species Patch Program, an exciting milestone and celebration of the 14th annual Endangered Species Day.
On May 17, 2019, the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital organization announced the Endangered Species Patch Program, an exciting milestone and celebration of the 14th annual Endangered Species Day. (Courtesy of NOAA Fisheries)

NOAA Fisheries teamed up with the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital organization and other partners to develop a new Endangered Species Act patch. The patch is a great way to introduce Girl Scouts to the challenges facing many species, including marine species. “It is a great example of teamwork, showing how it takes all of us working together to recover species and prevent extinction,” said Donna Wieting, Director of the Office of Protected Resources. 
Read the full story from NOAA Fisheries.


Inspiring women experts share their paths to a career at NOAA

October 21, 2019

Women of Color in STEM awardees — from left to right, Catalina Martinez, Laurita Alomassor, Sheekela Baker-Yeboah, and Aja Szumylo — are joined by RDML Timothy Gallaudet, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, at the 2019 Women of Color in STEM Conference in Detroit, Michigan.
Women of Color in STEM awardees — from left to right, Catalina Martinez, Laurita Alomassor, Sheekela Baker-Yeboah, and Aja Szumylo — are joined by RDML Timothy Gallaudet, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, at the 2019 Women of Color in STEM Conference in Detroit, Michigan. ( Courtesy of Jamese Sims)

Meet six NOAA experts who were honored at the 2019 Women of Color in STEM awards. Each woman shares what sparked her interest in STEM, what she likes most about working at NOAA, and her advice for any up-and-coming STEM professionals.
Read the full story from NOAA Education.


The discovery of a message in a bottle

October 22, 2019

A Hawaiian monk seal taking a nap near the lagoon on Southeast Island in Hawaii.
A Hawaiian monk seal taking a nap near the lagoon on Southeast Island in Hawaii. (Courtesy of NOAA Fisheries)

“I’m looking at my data sheet as I walk,” writes Paige Mino, a seasonal research assistant for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program on Oahu. “At the high tide line is a bottle. Nothing is special about that, the atoll is littered with plastics and glass bottles. But this one is different: I can see that there’s something inside. Walking over to the bottle I pick it up and examine the contents. Instantly, I realize what I’ve found: a message in a bottle. 
Read the full story from NOAA Fisheries.


The trusty weather balloon

December 9, 2019

From 1936 to 2009, these photos show that the concept of using balloons to launch weather equipment has not changed in several decades.
From 1936 to 2009, these photos show that the concept of using balloons to launch weather equipment has not changed in several decades. (Chris Geelhart/National Weather Service)

Twice a day, at 92 stations around the country, the National Weather Service launches weather balloons to gather vital information about the upper atmosphere. Filled with hydrogen or helium, the balloons will typically ascend to an altitude of 100,000 feet, recording data along the way. Read about the past, present and future of weather balloons, from kites tethered to piano wire in 1894 to the new “autolaunchers” that can release 24 balloons before needing to be restocked.

December 20, 2019