Droves of climate refugees across the world are on the move in search of greener and cleaner pastures. Maybe it's time for governments to consider whether it's cheaper to treat the causes of climate change instead of the symptoms.
About 300 million tons of plastic is produced globally each year. Only about 10 percent of that is recycled. Of the plastic that is simply trashed, an estimated seven million tons ends up in the sea each year.
THE federal government warns that as many as 274,000 homes along Australia's coast could be swallowed by rising sea levels over the next 90 years, threatening streets, suburbs and perhaps even townships.
Ocean acidification is the subject of a growing research interest. Most of the data collected so far has been obtained through laboratory perturbation experiments performed on isolated organisms for a short period of time. Studies performed in situ are key to investigate the effects of ocean acidification, over long periods of time, on the structure and functioning of natural communities. Such field experiments are, however, very challenging.
The aim of the European Free-CO2 Enrichment (eFOCE) experiment is to construct and test an benthic experimental system allowing the regulation of pH in a shallow, temperate coastal area (the prototype of a similar system has already been deployed in a coral reef setting by the University of Queensland). Following its validation, this instrument will be used to assess the effects of ocean acidification on key benthic, shallow-water communities of the Mediterranean Sea.
eFOCE is led by the Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche (LOV; Université Pierre et Marie Curie) and includes the following partners: Monterey Bay Research Aquarium Institute (MBARI), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA) and Station Biologique de Roscoff (SBR). eFOCE receives financial support from Foundation BNP Paribas
If you have never been north of the Arctic Circle, it is easy to imagine that the “ice cap” at the top of the world is a uniform sheet of white. The reality, particularly during the spring and summer melt, is a mottled landscape of white, teal, slate gray, green, and navy.
The sea ice atop the Arctic Ocean can—as shown in this photograph from July 12, 2011—look more like swiss cheese or a bright coastal wetland. As ice melts, the liquid water collects in depressions on the surface and deepens them, forming melt ponds. These fresh water ponds are separated from the salty sea below and around it, until breaks in the ice merge the two.
Researchers on the NASA-funded ICESCAPE mission—Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment—have been examining melt ponds, the ice around them, and the waters below for three weeks, with three more to go. Carried by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a team of oceanographers, marine biologists, and glaciologists are investigating how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean’s chemical and biological makeup.
NASA science writer Kathryn Hansen is blogging daily from the ICESCAPE cruise. Click here to learn some science, see what people are eating, and sample life on an Arctic icebreaker. You can also get a daily glimpse of the ice in the Arctic by clicking on the MODIS Rapid Response page.
The Acid Test Oceans do a good job of removing CO2 from the atmosphere but many marine organisms are paying the price. The International Panel on Climate Change has estimated that every day the oceans soak up over 25mt of CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels. This is having an effect on ocean chemistry, making the waters more acidic and reducing the levels of calcium carbonate minerals needed by many marine organisms to build shells and skeletons.
Using models and modern sea data, the average surface pH of seawater is estimated to have dropped from 8.2 by 0.1 units since the 1900s and is predicted to fall to about 7.8 by 2100.
‘For the next few decades, we have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen. As models go, the chemistry of the oceans can be predicted pretty well,’ says Scott Doney, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, US.
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Billions of tons of carbon trapped in permafrost may be released into the atmosphere by the end of this century as the Earth's climate changes, further accelerating global warming, a new computer modeling study.
"Perhaps our species’s greatest misconception about the sea was that it is inexhaustible. The idea seems rather silly now, in a world where most people are familiar with the word “overfishing.” But men once gazed into the deep and imagined that it teemed with life so plentiful that we could take and take without ever running out."
"Since the early 1980’s, the story of how whales walked into the sea has become one of the most celebrated of all evolutionary transitions. Pakicetus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, and many, many more – these fossil whales with legs have beautifully demonstrated how land-dwelling mammals became adapted to life at sea. But, between 50 and 40 million years ago or so, whales were just going through a transition that many other vertebrate groups had gone through before. They were not the first vertebrates to return to the sea, nor were they the last, and a paper recently published in Paleobiology by paleontologists Johan Lindgren, Michael Polcyn, and Bruce Young has traced the history of how a very different group of animals got their sea legs."
Japan will seek to extract natural gas from seabed deposits of methane hydrate, also known as 'burning ice', in the world's first such offshore experiment, a news report said Monday. (From Jim Lai's FB Page)
Ocean acidification is a global issue, is happening now and at an unprecedented rate. It is caused by ocean uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the atmosphere. Already oceans have taken up nearly a third of these emissions, thereby dampening climate change. However, this additional CO2 is changing ocean chemistry, so much so, that marine organisms, food webs and ecosystems are at risk. Like climate change, future ocean acidification will depend on the rate and concentration of future CO2 emissions and is irreversible on a timescale of centuries.
If emissions continue at the current level this ‘other CO2 problem’ is expected to affect marineecosystems and societies that depend on them. Scientists and governments around the world are mobilising to address this recently emerged issue which only really became a recognized threat about 5 years ago.
Professor Keith Hunter, New Zealand's leading scientist in the field of marine and freshwater chemistry explains to 'The Climate Show' what ocean acidification is and what it means for the future of the oceans.
Prof Hunter's research interests include the effects of trace metals, both essential and toxic, on the growth of phytoplankton.