Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory founder Thomas Jaggar first used instruments housed in the Whitney Laboratory of Seismology to track an earthquake sequence leading to Mauna Loa's summit eruption in November 1914. Photo from USGS/HVO

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO IS OPPOSING AN AMENDMENT proposed by Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, that would dismantle the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act.
The Jones Act is named after its sponsor,
Washington Sen. Wesley Livsey Jones
Photo from wikipedia
      The Jones Act requires maritime vessels engaged in shipping goods between U.S. ports to be built in the United States, at least 75 percent owned by U.S. citizens and operated by U.S. citizens.
      According to Hirono, the amendment has three strikes against it. “First, shipbuilding is a major job creating industry,” Hirono said on the floor of the Senate. “According to the Maritime Administration, there were 107,000 people directly employed by roughly 300 shipyards across 26 states in 2013. Additionally, shipyards indirectly employed nearly 400,000 people across the country.
      “Sen. McCain’s amendment would specifically knock out the Jones Act provision that requires U.S. flagged ships be built in the United States, jeopardizing good-paying, middle-class jobs. To me, that’s reason enough to oppose this amendment.
      “Secondly, this is not the time to create the instability this amendment would directly cause. After struggling through tough times, America’s shipbuilding industry is coming back. Both this Congress and the administration have long stressed need for creating and keeping manufacturing jobs here at home in the United States. According to the Navy League, there are 15 tanker ships being built here in the U.S. right now and slated to join our U.S. flag fleet.
      “The third and final strike is the fact that the amendment would undermine our national and homeland security.
      “The Jones Act’s requirements — along with the American shipbuilding and maritime industries they underpin — provide American-built ships and crews for use by the Department of Defense in times of need. It is easy to see why the Navy and Coast Guard strongly oppose repeal of the Jones Act. The Defense Department has concluded: ‘We believe that the ability of the nation to build and maintain a U.S.-flag fleet is in the national interest, and we also believe it is in the interest of the DOD for U.S. shipbuilders to maintain a construction capability for commercial vessels.’”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Brian Schatz voted against construction of Keystone
XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Map from U.S. State Department
SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ VOTED AGAINST advancing a bill to authorize construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would transport dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Prior to the vote, Schatz spoke out on the Senate floor to oppose authorization of the pipeline which he said would undermine efforts to combat climate change and endanger health of American families.

      “For me, and for many Americans, a vote against this bill is a vote to preserve and protect the air we breathe and the water we drink,” Schatz said. “It’s a vote to ensure that we continue to reduce carbon pollution and fight climate change. It is a vote to leave our children a healthy world.”
      While President Obama has vowed to veto any legislation authorizing construction of Keystone XL, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate advanced the bill, voting 63-32.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

AS PART OF VOLCANO AWARENESS MONTH, January Volcano Watch articles are addressing how USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory responds to threatening lava flows. This week, scientists focus on use of satellite data to track lava flow activity. 
      “Although satellites were in orbit and transmitting images of Earth’s surface in 1990 when the Kalapana community was inundated by lava, their data were not used to map lava flows. Without the Internet, satellite imagery could be distributed only by copying the data onto tapes that then had to be mailed. This process could take weeks, so the images were typically not used to help monitor a rapidly evolving crisis. In addition, computers in 1990 were not fast enough and did not have enough memory to work with large satellite datasets. Loading and viewing an individual image could take hours!
      “Instead of satellite imagery, HVO relied upon high-altitude aerial photos for occasional broad views of the Kalapana lava flow field in 1990. Some of these photos were taken by HVO scientists who aimed cameras through holes cut in the bottom of Hilo-based airplanes, while others were taken by a private Honolulu-based company that specialized in aerial photography. The photographs then had to be developed, printed, and delivered to HVO — a process that required a few days. The information was therefore largely outdated by the time HVO received it, but the aerial photos formed an important base for ground-based mapping (the topic of next week’s article).
      “With today’s Internet, we can now obtain timely satellite data about the June 27th lava flow within hours of image acquisition. Modern computers can also process massive amounts of data rapidly, enabling scientists to fully exploit the multitude of satellites that are now orbiting and imaging Earth.
Satellite imagery is one of many tools scientists use to track Kilauea's
volcanic activity. Map from USGS/HVO
      “Thermal images, which show the temperature of Earth’s surface, are perhaps the most obvious type of satellite data used to monitor lava flows. Thermal data allow HVO scientists to identify hot areas that correspond to breakouts of lava on the flow field. These data can be used to determine the lava eruption rate — a key monitoring parameter — by assuming that the temperature of the lava flow field is related to the amount of lava on the surface. 
Visual data — essentially photographs from space — are also available from satellites. Many of these data have exceptionally high resolution and are capable of discerning objects less than a yard in size, which helps HVO scientists make detailed maps of the lava flow and document changes over time.
      “Thermal and visual satellite data, however, both suffer from a major weakness: clouds. As most Hawai`i residents know, Puna is frequently covered by clouds, which obscure the view from space. Fortunately, there is one form of satellite imagery that can see through cloud cover —radar! 
      “Whereas visual and thermal satellite images are essentially photographs that rely upon light or temperature generated by, or reflected from, Earth’s surface, radar provides its own energy. Radar satellites transmit a pulse of energy to the surface and then measure the strength of the reflected energy, much like a flash camera. These radar signals can ‘see’ through clouds, and lava flows are easily distinguished from the surrounding forest based on their strong reflection. Unfortunately, it is difficult to distinguish active from inactive lava flows in radar images. 
      “HVO, therefore, uses an array of complementary satellite tools to monitor the June 27th lava flow — thermal, visual and radar. Because satellite data are easily shared via the Internet, the images can be viewed from anywhere. In fact, USGS scientists across the country, from Virginia to Alaska, assist HVO by examining satellite data of the Puna lava flow field and sharing their results and interpretations with HVO scientists. 
      “Some of these data, especially those provided by NASA, are accessible via public websites, so anyone with access to the Internet can examine satellite images of lower Puna.”
      See Volcano Watch and daily volcano activity updates at hvo.wr.usgs.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u High soccer players move the ball toward the goal.
Photo from Taylor's Treasures Photography
KA`U BOYS BASKETBALL JUNIOR VARSITY TEAM won its game against Pahoa last night. The game went into overtime, with a final score of 35-32. Varsity lost 37-77. Both teams lost to Hawai`i Prep Wednesday, with a Varsity final score of 46-64 and 16-36 for Junior Varsity.
      Also yesterday, HPA TKO’d Ka`u boys soccer team 9-0. Earlier in the week, Raycin Salmo-Grace scored one goal against Christian Liberty’s eight.
      Friday at Kea`au, Ka`u both girls basketball teams fell, with a JV score of 8-28. The Varsity team tied Kea`au’s second-half scoring but could not rally enough to make up for the first half. Final score was 46-64.
      On Wednesday at Honoka`a, the girls teams also lost. Final scores were 10-44 for Junior Varsity and 19-63 for Varsity.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

WATCHING MAUNA LOA SHAKE is the topic at After Dark in The Park Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes’ National Park. An earthquake sequence leading to Mauna Loa’s summit eruption in November 1914 was the first to be tracked by newly installed seismographs at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Though primitive by today’s standards, this was an early success for monitoring and research efforts on Hawaiian volcanoes. U. S. Geological Survey geophysicist Paul Okubo talks about the relationship between earthquakes and eruptions on Mauna Loa, including an update on the volcano’s current status and how HVO’s seismic network has evolved over the past century.


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