Periodic bowhead whale aerial surveys by the USDI/Minerals Management Service in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, 1979-04 to 2001-10 (NODC Accession 0001139)

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The Minerals Management Service (MMS), previously Bureau of Land Management, has funded fall bowhead whale aerial surveys in this area each year since 1978, using a repeatable protocol from 1982 to the present. Bowhead monitoring by MMS Environmental Studies Section, Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region, normally overlaps the September-October "open-water" season when offshore drilling and geophysical exploration are feasible and when the fall subsistence hunt for bowhead whales takes place near Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, and Barrow, Alaska.

The primary survey aircraft was a de Havilland Twin Otter Series 300. The aircraft was equipped with three medium-size bubble windows that afforded complete viewing of the track-line. Geographic positions of the aircraft were logged onto a laptop computer from a Global Navigation System (1982-1991) or a Global Positioning System (1992-2000). Prior to 1992, many surveys in Block 12 (See Browse Graphic) were conducted from a Grumman Turbo Goose Model G21G.

All bowhead (and beluga) whales observed were recorded, along with incidental sightings of other marine mammals. Particular emphasis was placed on regional surveys to assess large-area shifts in the migration pathway of bowhead whales and on the coordination of effort and management of data necessary to support seasonal offshore-drilling and seismic-exploration regulations. The selection of survey blocks to be flown on a given day was nonrandom, based primarily on criteria such as observed and predicted weather conditions over the study area and offshore oil-industry activities. Otherwise, the project attempted to distribute effort fairly evenly east-to-west across the entire study area. Aerial coverage favored inshore survey blocks (See Browse Graphic), since bowheads were rarely sighted north of these blocks in previous surveys (1979-1986). Surveys were flown at a target altitude of 458 m in order to maximize visibility and to minimize potential disturbance to marine mammals. Flights were normally aborted when cloud ceilings were consistently less than 305 m or the wind force was consistently above Beaufort 4.

Daily flight patterns were based on sets of non-repeating transect grids computer-generated for each survey block. Transect grids were derived by dividing each survey block into sections 30 minutes of longitude across. One of the minute marks along the northern edge of each section was selected at random then connected by a straight line to a similarly selected endpoint along the southern edge of that same section. This procedure was followed for all sections of that survey block. These transect legs were then connected alternately at their northernmost or southernmost ends to produce one continuous flight grid within each survey block. Gridlines were occasionally lengthened to cover both an inshore block and the block north of it. Lines were occasionally truncated due to extended poor visibility or to avoid potential interference with subsistence whaling activities. For bowheads encountered "on transect", the aircraft sometimes circled for a brief (< 10 min) period to observe behavior, obtain better estimates of their numbers, and/or determine whether calves were present. Any new groups sighted when circling were recorded as "on search".
  • Cite as: Treacy, Stephen D.; US DOI > Minerals Management Service - Anchorage (2010). Periodic bowhead whale aerial surveys by the USDI/Minerals Management Service in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, 1979-04 to 2001-10 (NODC Accession 0001139). Version 1.1. National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA. Dataset. [access date]
gov.noaa.nodc:0001139
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Distributor DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
301-713-3277
NCEI.Info@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact Information Services
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
301-713-3277
NCEI.Info@noaa.gov
Time Period 1979-04-21 to 2001-10-19
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 76.14
S: 57.72
E: -125.25
W: -174.01
Spatial Coverage Map
General Documentation
Publication Dates
  • publication: 2010-12-21
Edition 1.1
Data Presentation Form Digital table - digital representation of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns
Dataset Progress Status Complete - production of the data has been completed
Data Update Frequency As needed
Purpose Basic research
Use Limitations
  • accessLevel: Public
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Dataset Citation
  • Cite as: Treacy, Stephen D.; US DOI > Minerals Management Service - Anchorage (2010). Periodic bowhead whale aerial surveys by the USDI/Minerals Management Service in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, 1979-04 to 2001-10 (NODC Accession 0001139). Version 1.1. National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA. Dataset. [access date]
Cited Authors
Contributors
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Publishers
Theme keywords NODC DATA TYPES THESAURUS NODC OBSERVATION TYPES THESAURUS WMO_CategoryCode
  • oceanography
BLM-State Keyword Thesaurus
  • Alaska
  • Balaena mysticetus
  • Eschrichtius robustus
  • bowhead whale
  • endangered whales
  • gray whale
  • marine mammals
  • wildlife
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science and Services Keywords
  • EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES > MAMMALS
Data Center keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NODC > National Oceanographic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
NODC COLLECTING INSTITUTION NAMES THESAURUS NODC SUBMITTING INSTITUTION NAMES THESAURUS
Platform keywords NODC PLATFORM NAMES THESAURUS Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Platform Keywords
  • AIRCRAFT
Instrument keywords NODC INSTRUMENT TYPES THESAURUS Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Instrument Keywords
  • VISUAL OBSERVATIONS
Place keywords NODC SEA AREA NAMES THESAURUS Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • OCEAN > ARCTIC OCEAN
  • OCEAN > ARCTIC OCEAN > BEAUFORT SEA
  • OCEAN > ARCTIC OCEAN > CHUKCHI SEA
  • OCEAN > PACIFIC OCEAN > NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN > BERING SEA
  • OCEAN > PACIFIC OCEAN > NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN > GULF OF ALASKA
Project keywords NODC PROJECT NAMES THESAURUS
Keywords NCEI ACCESSION NUMBER
Use Constraints
  • Cite as: Treacy, Stephen D.; US DOI > Minerals Management Service - Anchorage (2010). Periodic bowhead whale aerial surveys by the USDI/Minerals Management Service in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, 1979-04 to 2001-10 (NODC Accession 0001139). Version 1.1. National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA. Dataset. [access date]
Access Constraints
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Lineage information for: dataset
Processing Steps
  • 2010-12-21T22:07:29 - NCEI Accession 0001139 v1.1 was published.
Output Datasets
Lineage information for: repository
Processing Steps
  • 2015-04-22T00:00:00 - NOAA created the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) by merging NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), and National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), including the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), per the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235. NCEI launched publicly on April 22, 2015.
Acquisition Information (collection)
Instrument
  • visual observation
Platform
  • AIRCRAFT
Last Modified: 2017-06-16T20:29:25
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