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SPOTLIGHT

1. OCEANS:

Vandalism on the high seas leaves gaps in key climate data

Every month, Anthony Barnston, a climate forecaster at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, gathers thousands of pieces of data from across the Pacific Ocean. Those, along with inputs from models and other regional information, help Barnston create a forecast for what's happening with the weather phenomenon known as El Niño. But sometimes -- fairly often, in fact -- there's a big gap in some of the data he presents and uses to make his forecasts.

2. RISK:

Coastal populations continue to increase in number and density -- NOAA report

There's a finite amount of coastal land area in the United States, and people keep moving there. That's the message from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Coastal Population Report, released yesterday. The report, produced in conjunction with the Census Bureau, notes the challenges that increased density can have on government services and management resources when coastal storms like Sandy and Isaac hit.

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