Breaking Waves: Ocean News

03/26/2019 - 13:25
Oil companies must respect human lives and clean up the damage their industry does wherever they operate, say Dr John Sentamu, Baroness Amos, Prof Michael Watts, Njeri Kabeberi and James Thornton The devastating impact of oil spills is widely recognised. The past decade has witnessed the destruction caused to human life and the environment from spills including the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and the Montara spill in Australia in 2009. On each occasion the global community has reacted with horror, demanding the oil industry clean up local ecosystems and communities. Yet in Nigeria, and particularly in Bayelsa state in the Niger Delta, these calls are ignored. Continue reading...
03/26/2019 - 12:00
King Island brown thornbill was ranked the Australian bird most likely to go extinct within 20 years Researchers say they have discovered one of Australia’s most endangered birds in forest in Tasmania, outside its previously known habitat. Scientists from the Australian National University say the find is a rare piece of positive news for the King Island brown thornbill, which was last year ranked as the Australian bird most likely to go extinct within 20 years if nothing was done to secure its survival. Continue reading...
03/26/2019 - 11:00
Wild bees and hoverflies lost from a quarter of the places they were found in 1980, study shows A widespread loss of pollinating insects in recent decades has been revealed by the first national survey in Britain, which scientists say “highlights a fundamental deterioration” in nature. The analysis of 353 wild bee and hoverfly species found the insects have been lost from a quarter of the places they were found in 1980. A third of the species now occupy smaller ranges, with just one in 10 expanding their extent, and the average number of species found in a square kilometre fell by 11. Continue reading...
03/26/2019 - 10:35
NASA research shows that Jakobshavn Glacier, which has been Greenland's fastest-flowing and fastest-thinning glacier for the last 20 years, has made an unexpected about-face. The glacier is still adding to global sea level rise, but at a slower rate.
03/26/2019 - 09:56
On the US-Mexico border, residents say a vast geothermal project threatens the water – and claim the state has ignored local concerns to help big energy This story was published in conjunction with Searchlight New Mexico Riding his horse through cattle pasture of brush and brittle mesquite, Randy Walter spotted a steaming, 10ft geyser spewing from a well that had been capped and padlocked for 12 years. It was March 2016, and Walter had ranched the dry terrain of New Mexico’s Bootheel for as long as he could remember. If he knew one thing about the Animas Valley, it was this: water doesn’t just blow out of the ground. Continue reading...
03/26/2019 - 08:08
Famed Belgian statue wasted 1,000 to 2,500 litres of fresh clean drinking water each day For four centuries the celebrated Manneken Pis – the “peeing boy” in the local Dutch dialect – has embodied the laissez-faire culture of the Belgians. But, to the surprise of officials in the city of Brussels, it has emerged that the bronze statue had been weeing fresh clean drinking water – 1,000 to 2,500 litres of it a day, sufficient for the use of 10 households – directly into the city’s sewers. Continue reading...
03/26/2019 - 05:00
Chemicals used to clean up spills have harmed marine wildlife, response workers and coastal residents. The EPA must act Thirty years ago, on 24 March 1989, communities in Prince William Sound, Alaska, awoke to horrific news: the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker, had run aground and leaked 11m gallons of oil into the sound. Chaos ensued. Fishermen desperately began collecting oil in five-gallon buckets. Exxon, meanwhile, responded by burning floating oil and dumping toxic oil-based chemicals called “dispersants”. Dispersants break oil apart into smaller droplets, and this was assumed to enhance natural dispersion and degradation of oil, thereby “cleaning up” a spill. Instead, the dispersants formed chemically enhanced oil particles that proved to be more toxic to humans and the environment than the oil alone. Twenty-one years later, on 20 April 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, releasing 210m gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The subsequent response was all too familiar – burning oil and dumping dispersants once again. Two million gallons of dispersants were applied to “clean up” the spill. Instead, these chemicals led to unprecedented oil deposition on the ocean floor, resulting in severe impacts to marine wildlife from the sea floor to the upper ocean – including large dolphin die-offs, fish kills, and deformities – and devastating pulmonary, cardiac and central nervous system illnesses for response workers and coastal residents. Continue reading...
03/26/2019 - 00:10
Scientists say research will help predict how glaciers’ melting will affect oceans Australian researchers have discovered huge underwater lakes beneath the largest glacier in east Antarctica. The lakes were detected by scientists setting off small explosives 2m below the surface of the Totten glacier and listening to the reflected sound. Continue reading...
03/25/2019 - 23:54
Government announces generation projects that could win public support, and will examine need for a new coal plant in Queensland Scott Morrison has attempted to mollify rebel Queenslanders by promising to examine whether a new coal plant is needed in north Queensland, and by signing off on a shortlist for new power generation that includes “one very small” coal project in New South Wales proposed by coal baron and LNP donor, Trevor St Baker. Cabinet on Tuesday signed off on a shortlist of 12 generation projects that could attract taxpayer underwriting, and allocated $10m for a feasibility study that will examine whether it is desirable to revive the decommissioned coal plant at Collinsville, south of Townsville. Continue reading...
03/25/2019 - 22:38
It could take up to four months to finish cleaning up the spill from the MV Trader Ocean currents have carried oil leaking from a shipwreck on the Solomon Islands away from a nearby world heritage site as authorities continue a clean-up operation that is expected to take months. Cleaning up after the bulk carrier MV Solomon Trader, which ran aground on a coral reef in early February and released 80 tonnes of oil, is expected to take up to four months. Continue reading...