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A powerful magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska late Monday night, initially prompting a tsunami warning for a large section of the state's coast and parts of Canada. As more data came in, the U.S. Tsunami Warning System downgraded the threat to an advisory for Alaska's Chignik Bay.

Justin Brockie / Creative Commons

Across New England, freezing temps and blizzard conditions marked an unforgiving start to 2018.

This hour, we consider the factors underlying this extreme winter weather -- including the role of global climate change. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Long Island Sound has a new guardian of sorts. Earlier this year, biologist Bill Lucey was named soundkeeper of the Northeast estuary.

This hour, the Connecticut native stops by our studios.

We learn more about his role and talk about efforts to improve life in and around the Sound.

On a normal night, dozens of tourists would be gaping at the glowing sea life on Mosquito Bay, a cove named after a legendary pirate ship in Vieques, Puerto Rico. But on a night in mid-December, it's empty. The loudest sounds are the frogs croaking in the mangroves.

Aequorea victoria
Sierra Blakely / Wikimedia Commons

Did you know 75 percent of animals in the ocean glow?

Fishermen up and down the New England coast say it has been decades since they’ve been able to catch so many Atlantic bluefin tuna, so fast. Once severely depleted, populations of the prized sushi fish appear to be rebuilding.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Long Island Sound has a new guardian of sorts. Earlier this year, biologist Bill Lucey was named soundkeeper of the Northeast estuary.

This hour, the Connecticut native stops by our studios.

We learn more about his role and talk about efforts to improve life in and around the Sound.

During a July morning at the New England Aquarium Animal Care Center in Quincy, Massachusetts, a clinical volunteer checked the heart rate of a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle with a Doppler instrument as a part of its physical exam.   

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Oily and smelly - Atlantic menhaden are one of the least sexy fish imaginable. But this humble fish, also called “bunker” or “pogie,” has deep roots off the coast of New England. 

Tropical Storm Jose is just grazing New England, but it’s creating unsafe conditions for fishermen out at sea. Even as the storm moves north, many commercial fishermen remain in port, waiting for the storm to pass further away.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

A string of tiny Caribbean islands have been left stunned and devastated by the destructive force of Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms ever to hit the region. Some islands appear to have been spared, but others suffered loss of life and damage on a near-apocalyptic scale.

Antigua and Barbuda

Updated at 5:00 a.m. ET Friday

The National Hurricane Center says Irma is now a Category 4 storm. It has maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

Hurricane Irma continued its northwestward sweep Thursday evening, losing little steam as it skirted the Dominican Republic and Haiti and bearing the full force of its 165-mph winds down upon the southeastern Bahamas and away from the Turks and Caicos islands. Forecasters upgraded their alert for South Florida to a warning.

Updated 2:14 a.m. ET Thursday

The National Hurricane Center says the dangerous core of the storm will move away from Puerto Rico Thursday morning and is expected to pass just north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Irma is expected to be near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas by Thursday evening.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

As Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that the National Hurricane Center calls "extremely dangerous," is making its way west through the Caribbean Sea.

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Irma is now a powerful Category 5 storm, and it’s headed for the island of Puerto Rico -- a literal and emotional home for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents. And on Hartford’s Park Street -- the lifeblood of many local Latino businesses -- people are paying close attention. 

Updated at 2:15 a.m. ET Wednesday:

The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history made its first landfall in Northeast Caribbean islands. The eye passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m, according to the National Weather Service.

Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET

"Hurricane Irma has intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane," the National Hurricane Center says, citing the latest data from NOAA and Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft.

Office of Governor Dannel Malloy / Creative Commons

The catastrophic flooding happening in Texas is highlighting the importance of coastal resiliency. Researchers at the University of Connecticut say a lot of climate science currently focuses on biology and ecology, overlooking something else very important: the humans who own the land.

Supporters of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument are going to have to wait to find out what’s in store for the project that encompasses nearly 88,000 acres.

This week, Newport is hosting a first in the sailing world: the J Class world championships. J Class yachts are rare, and they’re huge. 

apasciuto / Creative Commons

Crashing waves, cawing gulls, the cutting scent of a falling tide -- there's nothing quite as invigorating as the experience of summer along the New England coastline.

For writer Jonathan White, however, it was not the East but the West Coast that fueled a lifelong passion for the water. 

USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) / Facebook

A Suffield man is among the sailors missing after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker Monday in the Pacific Ocean.

Updated at 4:25 a.m.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the three-star commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet was relieved of command on Wednesday. The fleet is based in Yokosuka, Japan.

A statement from the Navy explains why Aucoin was dismissed.

"Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, today relieved the commander of Seventh Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

A public comment period has just closed on a proposal by the Trump administration to expand drilling along the U.S. Atlantic coast.  

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

An international air-sea rescue has been launched in waters off Singapore for 10 missing U.S. sailors after a collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker.

Lori Mack / WNPR

Lobster populations in Southern New England are in dramatic decline and recovery is not likely to happen anytime soon.

It's the end of only the first week of the official Atlantic sturgeon fishing season on the St. John River in New Brunswick, Canada. But the two fishermen who supply Cornel Ceapa's Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar company have already landed close to half of the season's catch.

America's oldest commissioned warship returned to Boston's waters in shipshape on Sunday night.

One of the biggest fishing magnates in the country could be sentenced to prison this coming week, and the forfeiture of his boats could be a big hit for the Massachusetts port where he amassed a small empire.

Between his scalloping and groundfishing boats, Carlos Rafael – nicknamed "the Codfather" — came to be the largest single owner of fishing vessels in New England, and possibly in the country.

A massive iceberg the size of Delaware has broken free from Antarctica and is floating in the sea.

Earlier Wednesday, scientists announced that the 6,000-square-kilometer (about 2,300 square miles) iceberg had come loose, after satellites detected it had calved off the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula.

A beached humpback whale discovered dead several days ago in Jamestown is still lying on the rocks near the island’s southern coast. Scientists hoped to remove the whale's body Monday, but were unable due to the weather.

apasciuto / Creative Commons

Crashing waves, cawing gulls, the cutting scent of a falling tide -- there's nothing quite as invigorating as the experience of summer along the New England coastline.

For writer Jonathan White, however, it was not the East but the West Coast that fueled a lifelong passion for the water. 

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