Breaking Waves: Ocean News

07/28/2015 - 14:25
Geoff Moore (Letters, 28 July) seems very poorly informed as to how the payments for rooftop solar arrays are calculated. If nothing is generated and therefore there is no export to the grid, the payment would be nil. We have a solar array and in four years have generated over 13,500 kilowatt-hours. In summer we could generate up to 350 kilowatt-hours a month, in winter maybe a tenth of that, and payments reflect this. Continue reading...
07/28/2015 - 14:03
(Click to enlarge) Cleanup after Hurricane Sandy has proven costly for New York City – and climate change increases the odds of future flooding, say scientists. (Credit: Justin Lane/EPA) Scientists at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science investigating the increasing risk of ‘compound flooding’ for major U.S. cities have found that flooding risk is greatest for cities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts when strong storm surge and high rainfall amounts occur together. (From ScienceDaily) — While rising sea levels are the main driver for increasing flood risk, storm surges caused by weather patterns that favor high precipitation exacerbates flood potential. The paper describing their research on the causes of compound flooding in urban areas of the U.S will appear in Nature Climate Change. “Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population resides in coastal counties,” said study lead author Thomas Wahl of the University of South Florida College of Marine Science and the University of Siegen in Germany. “Flooding can have devastating impacts for these low-lying, densely populated and heavily developed regions and have wide-ranging social, economic and environmental consequences.” Their analysis focused on the joint occurrence of the two distinct flooding sources in coastal regions — storm surge and high precipitation — that can result in direct run-off (pluvial) and increased river discharge (fluvial). The research team also identified three key compound flooding mechanisms: elevated water levels in estuarine regions; storm surge flooding that worsens with heavy rainfall and; moderate storm surge that blocks or slows down drainage. They concluded that “the complex interplay between storm surge and precipitation can lead to, or exacerbate, the impacts of flooding in coastal zones through multiple mechanisms.” “Whether or not all of these mechanisms are relevant at a particular site strongly depends on the local setting,” explained Wahl who, along with colleagues from the University of South Florida (USF), the University of Maine, and the University of Siegen, in Germany, collected and analyzed data sets for storm surge and rainfall for over 30 American cities along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts. Their analysis included many of the 17 U.S. port cities with populations over one million, for which the occurrence of compound flooding had not been previously assessed. Armed with data reaching back into the 1950s, and some data from the beginning 20th century for some sites, they determined that the risk for compound flooding was higher for cities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts than for those on the Pacific coast. Consequently, they looked more closely at selected regions along the Atlantic coast. Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150727120222.htm
07/28/2015 - 13:10
UK Cabinet Office report sets out risks of coronal mass ejections from the sun causing power outages, and disruption of GPS and communications Humanity would only have a 12-hour warning about the arrival of a “coronal mass ejection” that could damage the National Grid, pipelines and railway signals, according to a newly released document from the UK Cabinet Office. In a report worthy of a Bruce Willis film, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has set out the nature of the risk to the UK from “severe space weather”, which it says results from various types of solar activity. Continue reading...
07/28/2015 - 12:46
As Zimbabwe police say he faces poaching charges, Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer faces furious criticism on social media Who shot Cecil? First it was thought that a mystery Spaniard had the blood of one of Africa’s most famous lions on his hands. Then came a fresh twist. The Cecil slayer, Zimbabwean conservations said on Tuesday, was in fact a dentist from Minnesota. American Walter Palmer was said to be “quite upset” as the hunter became hunted. Zimbabwean police warned that he faced poaching charges, while there was a furious backlash on social media, with Facebook users variously calling for him to be publicly shamed, have his teeth pulled out without anaesthetic or be hunted and killed. Continue reading...
07/28/2015 - 12:28
The apparently unquenchable American appetite for English pollution started with a Baltimore raincoat company in 1923. Now Tom Cruise is joining in In 1923 a 16-year-old called Israel Myers set up a raincoat company in Baltimore. He called it Londontown. The firm jogged along profitably enough, supplying the US navy and becoming popular in Philadelphia on account of its special patented liners. In 1954, they had a rethink. Myers changed the name to London Fog. Suddenly, the anoraks flew off the hangers at Saks. “Every once in a while,” wrote the New York Times at the time, “a name comes along for a product that is exactly right. It describes the product exactly and does a selling job that even the legendary 10,000 words cannot do. Such a one is London Fog.” Continue reading...
07/28/2015 - 12:06
The snake bit John David Brock on his left arm as he was handling it during a Sunday service at a Pentecostal church, and he refused medical treatment A Kentucky sheriff’s office says a man has died from a snake bite suffered during a church service. The Bell County sheriff’s office said on Monday that 60-year-old John David Brock of Stoney Fork was handling the snake during a Sunday service at a Pentecostal church in Jenson. Continue reading...
07/28/2015 - 11:52
Resource scarcity is a major business challenge, but evolving market conditions mean companies that can adapt quickly could reap big profits As São Paulo, Brazil, suffers from the worst drought in its history, multinational pulp company Fibria, which is headquartered in the city, is one of many that has felt the pinch. At times, water has been shut off to 40% of the city and even now, after the rainy season, only 6-13% of the city’s reservoir’s capacity has been filled. In response, the company is working to reduce the amount of water it uses for forest irrigation. This isn’t the first time that Fibria has had to adapt to a shifting environment. Over the last several years, the rising scarcity of several essential resources – including water, fertilizer, labor and land – has pushed the company to reconsider its business model. It has diversified into renewable energy, biofuel production and sustainable real estate development. Fibria’s goal is to make these portfolio additions 20% of total free cash flow by 2025, making the company less pulp-dependent and giving it alternative options for future business growth in light of looming sustainability challenges. Continue reading...
07/28/2015 - 11:20
Ticks are spreading further north in the US and Canada with the potential to transmit diseases to dogs and humans, reports Earth Island Journal A few weeks ago, on a pleasantly cool day, this reporter and his dog, an Alaskan malamute named Bear, headed for a small set of trails in an area of woods not far from the New York-New Jersey border. With bicyclists plying their way on the shoulder of a nearby highway and the Hudson River rushing along beyond the wooded landscape, man and dog walked along the well-maintained trails, yielding to other visitors and trying to stay away from the tall grass. Memories of the day were somewhat dampened after returning home. Bear, whose deep malamute hair is a jungle of fluffiness, brought home an intrepid hitchhiker. Crawling in that furry maze, and thankfully not attached to his skin, was a tick, no doubt on the hunt for some dog blood — or human blood, for that matter. Another one was found crawling nearby. This episode plays out across the US and the rest of the world on a regular basis. Continue reading...
07/28/2015 - 09:58
Archive footage of Cecil the lion, the star attraction at Zimbabwe's Hwange national park that was killed earlier this month. The 13-year-old lion was found skinned and headless on the outskirts of the park. Authorities say an American man paid $50,000 (£32,000) for the chance to kill Cecil. Bryan Orford, a professional wildlife guide who has filmed Cecil many times, posted the footage online after his death Continue reading...
07/28/2015 - 09:38
Northern white rhino on brink of extinction after deaths of male in San Diego zoo last year and female named Nabire in Czech Republic this week Only four northern white rhinos remain on earth after a 31-year-old female named Nabire died in the Czech Republic late on Monday, zookeepers said. The animal born at Dvur Kralove zoo in the country’s north died from complications of a ruptured cyst, the zoo said in a statement on Tuesday. Continue reading...