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A Harbour Seal photographed at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed species of pinnipeds, they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Baltic and North seas. Photo: AfloatA photograph of a Harbour Seal taken at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, this species can be found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are the most widely distributed species of pinnipeds and can be found in the coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Baltic and North Seas. Photo: Afloat

Displaying items by tag: Bluescale Map Series

Ireland’s national seabed mapping programme, INFOMAR completes its Bluescale Map Series with the release of its stunning map of the Aran Islands.

Now all 18 maps in the series are available for free to the public, in English and now as Gaeilge.

Staring on 11 August this year, INFOMAR released a new instalment each week in its series of bespoke, high-resolution bathymetric maps of Irish coastal waters.

Developed by a dedicated team of hydrographers, data processors and cartographers, the maps highlight the topography of the coast in remarkable detail.

Thomas Furey, INFOMAR joint programme manager at the Marine Institute, emphasised the dual significance of this release.

“The Bluescale Map Series is a testament on our commitment to both data quality and improving public accessibility of data,” he said. “The release of all maps as Gaeilge also represents our efforts in promoting linguistic inclusivity and connecting with Gaeltacht communities nationwide.”

The full map of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay in the Irish language, released along with all 17 other maps as Gaeilge | Credit: INFOMARThe full map of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay in the Irish language, released along with all 17 other maps as Gaeilge | Credit: INFOMAR

The series’ final map of the Aran Islands showcases some of Ireland’s most unique and dynamic coastal landscapes.

The Aran Islands are a group of three islands at the mouth of Galway Bay, off the West Coast of Ireland, with a total area around 46 sq km (18 sq mi). From west to east, the islands are Inis Mór (Árainn), which is the largest; Inis Meáin, the second-largest; and Inis Oírr, the smallest. There are also several islets.

The islands’ geology is mainly karst limestone, related to the Burren in Co Clare to the east, not the granites of Connemara to the north. Solutional processes have widened and deepened the grykes of the limestone pavement.

Pre-existing lines of weakness in the rock (vertical joints) contribute to the formation of extensive fissures separated by clints (flat, pavement-like slabs). The rock karstification facilitates the formation of subterranean drainage.

Speaking about the addition of maps as Gaeilge, Seán Cullen, INFOMAR joint programme manager at the Geological Survey Ireland said: “These maps aim to offer Irish Speakers an opportunity to engage with marine science in their native tongue and provide a means of communicating complex scientific data to the broader public.”

Michael Gillooly, interim CEO of the Marine Institute added: “The Gaeltacht constitutes 25% of the overall Irish coastline so I am delighted to see this new series of unique maps now available as Gaeilge.”

Published in Environment

Explore the depths of Dublin Bay, from Killiney to Howth, in remarkable detail thanks to a new addition to INFOMAR’s Bluescale Map Series.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the collection when complete will comprise 18 high-resolution bathymetric maps highlighting the topography of Ireland’s coastal waters in unprecedented detail.

The newest high-resolution map highlights the unique and intricate landscapes that lie beneath the waves of Ireland’s capital, from Ireland’s Eye to Dalkey Island.

Co Dublin has a coastline of approximately 170km and showcases some of the Ireland’s most unique coastal landscapes. The latest in the new map series is the bluescale bathymetric map of Dublin Bay, which reveals the iconic Irish Sea and complex sandbanks across the capital’s coastline.

Dublin Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea on Ireland’s east coast, spanning approximately 10km wide at its base and 7km in length from Howth Head to Dalkey Island.

Detail of Howth Head on the north side of Dublin Bay, highlighting some of the numerous shipwrecks mapped by INFOMAR in the Irish Sea | Credit: INFOMARDetail of Howth Head on the north side of Dublin Bay, highlighting some of the numerous shipwrecks mapped by INFOMAR in the Irish Sea | Credit: INFOMAR

The bay encompasses notable features such as North Bull Island, housing a 5km sandy beach known as Dollymount Strand and an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve.

Dublin Bay once had two inshore sand banks, the North Bull and the South Bull; the construction of the Bull Wall resulted in the rapid formation of North Bull Island, while the Great South Wall failed to create an island, leaving the South Bull as mud flats and strand.

Offshore, there are additional sandbanks, including Kish Bank with its lighthouse. 135 Clontarf or Mud Island, previously depicted on maps, has since disappeared.

INFOMAR is making this and all other maps in the Bluescale Map Series available for free to the public to download in high resolution JPEG format. Follow the journey each week until mid December as a new map is released on the INFOMAR website and join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Published in Environment

See the iconic Wexford coastline, from Hook Head to Carnsore Point, in remarkable detail thanks to a new series of maps added to INFOMAR’s Bluescale Map Series.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the collection will comprise 18 high-resolution bathymetric maps highlighting the topography of Ireland’s coastal waters in unprecedented detail.

The latest high-resolution maps, charting the area from Rosslare Harbour to Cahore Point, highlight the unique and intricate landscapes that lie beneath the waves.

Co Wexford has a coastline of some 273km and showcases some of the Ireland’s most unique coastal landscapes.

The first of the Model County maps, released on Friday 3 November, is the Bluescale bathymetric map of Hook Head.

Historically called Rindowan, Hook Head is a headland on the east side of the estuary of The Three Sisters (Rivers Nore, Suir and Barrow). It is part of the Hook Peninsula and is adjacent to the historic townland of Loftus Hall.

This area is the location of Hook Lighthouse, the oldest working lighthouse in the world and one of 70 lighthouses operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights around the coast of Ireland, playing a vital role in maritime safety.

The Hook Peninsula is composed of many rock types including sedimentary limestone and sandstone. The outcrops around Hook Head consist of abundant exposures of Lower Carboniferous rocks in foreshore platforms, containing beautifully preserved crinoids, bryozoans, bivalves, corals and brachiopods.

An excerpt from the bluescale map of Carnsore Point and environs in Co Wexford that will be released by INFOMAR on Friday 10 NovemberAn excerpt from the bluescale map of Carnsore Point and environs in Co Wexford that will be released by INFOMAR on Friday 10 November

Next Friday (10 November) the second Model County map, of Carnsore Point, will be made available.

Carnsore Point is marks the southernmost point of the Irish Sea, on the western side of St George’s Channel. A large, offshore area wrapped around the point is a Marine Protected Area (MPA) for its reefs and species-rich underwater life.

The intertidal and offshore reefs are formed of Carnsore granite, a coarse pinkish-brown rock, and range from very exposed to moderately exposed to wave action. In water at depths of 11-30m there are excellent examples of sea squirt communities. Intricate sandbanks lie due east of the headland and north into the Irish Sea.

Since 2006, INFOMAR’s seabed mapping efforts have been instrumental in enhancing our understanding of Ireland's underwater landscape.

The Bluescale Map series offers a new and unique way not only to showcase the mapping effort to date, but also to visualise and communicate complex scientific information to the wider public.

As with all INFOMAR data, these high-resolution maps are available for free to download and have huge potential to communicate with local coastal communities and raise awareness on the importance of maintaining the health and integrity of our marine environment.

INFOMAR is making all 18 maps available for free to the public to download in high resolution JPEG format. Follow the journey each week until mid December as a new map is released on the INFOMAR website and join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Published in Coastal Notes

INFOMAR has launched its Bluescale Map Series — a collection that will comprise 18 high-resolution bathymetric maps highlighting the topography of Ireland’s coastal waters in unprecedented detail.

The series is the culmination of over a decade of work and highlights the intricate landscapes that lie beneath the waves.

Developed by a dedicated team of hydrographers, data processors and cartographers, each map is carefully drawn to include the latest high-resolution INFOMAR bathymetry data.

From this week until mid December, INFOMAR will be releasing a new map of a different section of Ireland’s 3,171km coastline, which boasts some of the most unique and dynamic environments in Europe, to download for free.

The first in the series is the bluescale bathymetric map of Galway Bay. Follow the journey each week as a new map is released on the INFOMAR website and join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

In 2006, the INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource) programme was established and is currently one of the world’s largest and leading seabed mapping programmes.

Funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, the programme is a joint venture by the Marine Institute and Geological Survey Ireland and aims to map Ireland’s seabed and deliver a comprehensive baseline bathymetry dataset to underpin the future management of Ireland’s marine resource.

Published in Environment

For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is Afloat.ie.

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!

Weather

As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and Afloat.ie will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”