THE u.S. NAvY was established on October 13, 1775, with the Department of the Navy founded on April 30, 1798. While the mission of the U.S. Navy is to "maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas," it also serves to provide important astronomical information to scientists and analysts. Given its handling of vast quantities of hazardous chemicals and environmentally-dangerous substances, the Navy recognizes its responsibility to the local and greater environments and makes efforts to remain environmentally conscious.
One example of Naval efforts to study the effects of environmentally-hazardous materials took place in 2007. The U.S. Navy participated in a joint research effort to investigate the effect and impact of aerosols on global warming and climate change. The mission was called UAE2 (United Arab Emirates Unified Aerosol Experiment), took place in the Arabian Desert, and joined scientists from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA), and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Aerosols are tiny airborne particles, which naturally contribute to cloud formation and, therefore, rainfall. They can be classified as light or dark. Lighter aerosols reflect sunlight and heat; therefore, they have a cooling effect on the atmosphere. Darker aerosols, however, trap sunlight and heat within the atmosphere, causing the temperature to rise.
Additionally, the U.S. Navy maintains equipment that can be used by scientists to study extreme weather conditions. This equipment, while intended for other purposes, has characteristics that can be taken advantage of by researchers. For example, the Navy has two major types of submarines: the TRIDENT ballistic missile submarine, and the Attack submarine that is less encumbered by large, bulky weapons and can travel into most waters, including those of the Arctic Ocean. The Attack submarines have been used for years by researchers, taking scientists to the Arctic waters to collect data regarding global warming. Such data include ice sheet thickness, water temperature at increasing depths, and other variables.
The Navy also has an undersea surveillance that can be used to collect data regarding global warming. This system is called SOSUS, the Sound Surveillance System. It is part of IUSS, the Integrated Underwater Surveillance System, and passively senses acoustic data that can be analyzed to monitor underwater activity of ships, as well as animals and other environmental components.
The U.S. Navy uses many pieces of equipment; each piece requires a significant amount of energy. As a major consumer of energy and fuels, the Navy makes efforts to reduce its fuel and energy consumption and to use cleaner fuel and energy options. For example, in Crane, Indiana, Team Crane consists of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Midwest and the Public Works Department at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division. Team Crane uses a fuel that is 80 percent biodiesel and 20 percent soybean oil; the fuel is called B-20 and comes from the Indiana Soybean Board. Plans are under way to convert all the diesel-burning equipment at Crane to B-20 utilizing equipment. The base at Crane is not the only naval station that practices environmental responsibility.
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