Breaking Waves: Ocean News

02/11/2016 - 05:00
Warmer and wetter conditions facilitate transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, which may have added to spread, says lead climate change scientist The outbreak of Zika virus in Central and South America is of immediate concern to pregnant women in the region, but for some experts the situation is a glimpse of the sort of public health threats that will unfold due to climate change. “Zika is the kind of thing we’ve been ranting about for 20 years,” said Daniel Brooks, a biologist at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “We should’ve anticipated it. Whenever the planet has faced a major climate change event, man-made or not, species have moved around and their pathogens have come into contact with species with no resistance.” Continue reading...
02/11/2016 - 01:01
Furniture, kitchen goods and carpets ‘contaminated’ by floodwater can’t be recycled and will cost councils over an estimated £2 million in landfill tax Almost 30,000 tonnes of damaged household goods have had to be dumped in landfill following devastating winter floods, town hall chiefs have said. A snapshot analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) estimates councils have been landed with a £2.25m landfill tax bill as a result of the clear-up after the floods. Continue reading...
02/11/2016 - 00:29
Stanford Wood, Bedfordshire In our dog days this wood was a favoured spot, now I began to understand its origin A ghost came with me to the local wood that I had not visited in over 12 years. I imagined him sitting in the car panting at my shoulder all the way and then yipping with excitement when we pulled into the layby. I half reached for a lead that was not there and shut the car door quietly. In our dog days this was a favoured spot, a conifer plantation where he could do no harm, a springy floored place without seasons where a wee up a tree was all he could leave behind. Continue reading...
02/11/2016 - 00:16
News comes week after Larry Marshall announced shift in research priorities from understanding nature of climate change to adaptation and mitigation CSIRO chief Larry Marshall has provided more details on cuts to climate monitoring and modelling at the CSIRO – confirming that the number of researchers employed in two research programs would be halved. In Senate estimates on Thursday, under questioning from Labor’s Kim Carr, Marshall said 100 jobs would be cut from the oceans and atmosphere program . He said they would hire another 35 people, leaving an overall loss of 65 people. Continue reading...
02/11/2016 - 00:00
Online grocery startups in Kenya, Rwanda and Gambia help farmers cut out the middleman, but challenges such as low internet access may hinder profitability Growing up on a farm in central Kenya, Winston Wachanga witnessed the piles of fruit and vegetables that perished after never making it to a market. Later with a tomato farm of his own, he experienced the same struggle of farmers across the country trying to find a buyer. “We have so much produce but accessing customers is difficult. We don’t have capacity to get produce to market and we end up being exploited. It becomes frustrating,” he says. Continue reading...
02/10/2016 - 20:01
Antarctic scientist attacked by Republican Ted Cruz says Texas Senator “has confused which way is up” I have no clue how many climate science denial myths a Republican presidential candidate can fit onto the head of a pin, but given these zingers are generally huge it’s probably not that many. But we do now have some clue how many myths one of those candidates, Senator Ted Cruz, can fit into an eight-minute diatribe. At least six. Continue reading...
02/10/2016 - 19:42
Ocean Leadership ~ (Click too enlarge) Rising sea level in the Maledives (Credit: moosa ali/ Flickr) A satellite to measure the heights of the oceans was launched successfully on Sunday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. (From the New York Times) — The Jason-3 mission, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Eumetsat, a European weather satellite agency, will bounce radar signals off the water to precisely measure the sea surface height within a couple of inches. The data will help scientists track rising seas as global temperatures increase. The data will also be used to track the speed and direction of ocean currents, aiding the forecasts of hurricanes. The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, which launched the satellite on one of its Falcon 9 rockets, had aimed to recover the first-stage booster but was unable to do so. Last month, SpaceX successfully landed a Falcon 9 booster at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This time, one of the landing legs failed to lock, and the booster tipped over as it attempted to set down on a platform in the Pacific. Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/18/science/space/satellite-tracking-rising-seas-jason-3.html?ref=topics The post Satellite Tracking Rising Seas Launches Successfully appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
02/10/2016 - 18:43
Ocean Leadership ~ (Click to enlarge) Microsoft has tested a prototype of a self-contained data center that can operate hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean, eliminating one of the technology industry’s most expensive problems: the air-conditioning bill. (Credit: Pexels) Taking a page from Jules Verne, researchers at Microsoft believe the future of data centers may be under the sea. (From the New York Times/ by John Markoff) — Microsoft has tested a prototype of a self-contained data center that can operate hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean, eliminating one of the technology industry’s most expensive problems: the air-conditioning bill. Today’s data centers, which power everything from streaming video to social networking and email, contain thousands of computer servers generating lots of heat. When there is too much heat, the servers crash. Putting the gear under cold ocean water could fix the problem. It may also answer the exponentially growing energy demands of the computing world because Microsoft is considering pairing the system either with a turbine or a tidal energy system to generate electricity. The effort, code-named Project Natick, might lead to strands of giant steel tubes linked by fiber optic cables placed on the seafloor. Another possibility would suspend containers shaped like jelly beans beneath the surface to capture the ocean current with turbines that generate electricity. Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/01/technology/microsoft-plumbs-oceans-depths-to-test-underwater-data-center.html?ref=topics The post Microsoft Plumbs Ocean’s Depths To Test Underwater Data Center appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
02/10/2016 - 18:24
Officials from Michigan city testified to congressional leaders Wednesday to ‘help us restore our city’ after lead was discovered in drinking water Officials from the embattled city of Flint, Michigan, testified to Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday to reiterate their call for urgent upgrades to the midwestern city’s basic services. Abnormally high levels of lead were discovered in the city’s drinking water after an emergency manager, appointed by the state government, switched Flint’s water from Detroit’s supply to the Flint river, leading to extra corrosion in the old lead service lines that carry the city’s water. Continue reading...
02/10/2016 - 18:03
Ocean Leadership ~ (Click to enlarge) There are certain enterprising species that can do both: photosynthesize and consume prey. These organisms, found mostly in certain ocean plankton communities, live a flexible, “mixotrophic” lifestyle. (Credit: NOAA MESA Project/ Wikimedia Commons) How do you find your food? (From Science Daily) — Most animal species, whether they rummage through a refrigerator or stalk prey in the wild, obtain nutrients by consuming living organisms. Plants, for the most part, adopt a different feeding, or “trophic,” strategy, making their own food through photosynthesis. There are, however, certain enterprising species that can do both: photosynthesize and consume prey. These organisms, found mostly in certain ocean plankton communities, live a flexible, “mixotrophic” lifestyle. Now researchers at MIT and Bristol University in the United Kingdom have found that these microscopic, mixotrophic organisms may have a large impact on the ocean’s food web and the global carbon cycle. The scientists developed a mixotrophic model of the global ocean food web, at the scale of marine plankton, in which they gave each plankton class the ability to both photosynthesize and consume prey. They found that, compared with traditional models that do not take mixotrophs into account, their model produced larger, heavier plankton throughout the ocean. As these more substantial microbes die, the researchers found they increase the flux of sinking organic carbon particles by as much as 35 percent. Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160202110710.htm   The post Living A ‘Mixotrophic’ Lifestyle appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.