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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal panel that helps shape marine navigation in the U.S. Arctic and other Alaska locations is meeting this week in Juneau.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hydrographic Services Review Panel will convene Tuesday morning for three days, the Juneau Empire reported .

The panel meets twice each year. Experts on navigation and marine transportation develop priorities for NOAA navigation services, including the creation of charts, tide tables, and coast surveys that mariners use.

With the melting of sea ice in Arctic waters, ship traffic has increased north of the Bering Strait. However, the United States lacks maritime infrastructure in the region.

Only about 4.1 percent of the U.S. maritime Arctic has been charted to modern international navigation standards, according to the hydrographic services panel.

The panel includes experts in vessel piloting, port administration, tides and currents, coastal zone management, Earth measurement, recreational boating and marine transportation. They will advise NOAA on how best to chart Arctic waters.

The panel consists of 15 voting members and four non-voting members.

A meeting between the panel and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee will take place Tuesday.

The Integrated Ocean Observing System is a national-regional partnership that provides new tools and forecasts to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment, according to its website.

It strives to enhance delivery of information on coastal events such as storms, wave heights and sea level change.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire,