Breaking Waves: Ocean News

01/22/2015 - 16:07
(Click to enlarge) Portion of the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet. (Credit: Patrick Applegate) Melting of glacial ice will probably raise sea level around the globe, but how fast this melting will happen is uncertain. (From ScienceDaily)– In the case of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the more temperatures increase, the faster the ice will melt, according to computer model experiments by Penn State geoscientists. “Although lots of people have thought about sea level rise from the ice sheets, we don’t really know how fast that will happen,” said Patrick Applegate, research associate, Penn State’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. If all the ice in the Greenland Ice Sheet melts, global sea level would rise by about 24 feet. In the last 100 years, sea level in the New York City area has only increased by about one foot. However, storm surges from hurricanes stack on top of this long-term increase, so sea level rise will allow future hurricanes to flood places where people are not ready for or used to flooding. A vivid example occurred during Hurricane Sandy when parts of the New York City subway tunnel system flooded. Greenland might be especially vulnerable to melting because that area of Earth sees about 50 percent more warming than the global average. Arctic sea ice, when it exists, reflects the sun’s energy back through the atmosphere, but when the sea ice melts and there is open water, the water absorbs the sun’s energy and reradiates it back into the air as heat. Arctic sea ice coverage has decreased over the last few decades, and that decrease will probably continue in the future, leading to accelerated temperature rise over Greenland. Floating ice does not add to sea level, but the Greenland Ice Sheet rests on bedrock that is above sea level. Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150120151221.htm
01/22/2015 - 15:54
(Click to enlarge) Next Generation Sequencing. (Credit: Shaury Nash/Flickr) Next-generation sequencing offers insight into how species adapt to climate change. (From ScienceDaily)– Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has made it possible to analyze enormous numbers of short pieces of DNA very quickly, and this technology is already revolutionizing the biomedical sciences. The hope is that NGS may prove similarly useful in ecological studies by providing researchers fresh insight into the way populations are adapting to a changing world. In an article to be published in the March issue of BioScience, biologists Jonathon H. Stillman and Eric Armstrong, both affiliated with San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley, characterize the opportunities provided by NGS: “Next-generation sequencing approaches are fundamentally changing the way in which environmental scientists undertake studies to understand how organisms are responding or may respond in the future to climate change.” Further, the authors contend that NGS will allow researchers to “characterize the populations that they are studying to a higher resolution than ever before possible.” Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150121130813.htm
01/22/2015 - 13:07
Symbolic clock is now at three minutes to apocalypse, the darkest hour for humanity since the cold war The symbolic doomsday clock moved to three minutes before midnight on Thursday because of the gathering dangers of climate change and nuclear proliferation, signalling the gravest threat to humanity since the throes of the cold war. It was the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1984, when arms-control negotiations stalled and virtually all channels of communication between the US and the former Soviet Union closed down. Related: 2014 officially the hottest year on record, US government scientists say Related: US Senate refuses to accept humanity's role in global climate change, again Continue reading...
01/22/2015 - 12:09
The Serengeti national park and adjacent Ngorongoro conservation area in northern Tanzania are famous for their diverse and abundant African wildlife, from the ‘big five’ to migrating giraffes, wildebeests, zebras and gazelles Continue reading...
01/22/2015 - 12:07
Conservative MP calls for fracking moratorium as Labour says fracking should not be allowed unless regulatory loopholes are closed The former Tory environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, has called for a ban on fracking in the UK ahead of a report by an influential committee of MPs that is expected to conclude fracking could derail efforts to tackle climate change. The intervention by Spelman, a member of the Environmental Audit Committee, comes as the government’s drive for fracking came under heavy political attack on Thursday. Related: A county divided: is Lancashire ready for its fracking revolution? Continue reading...
01/22/2015 - 11:59
(Click to enlarge) Oil near the Deepwater Horizon disaster spill source as seen during an aerial overflight on May 20, 2010. (Credit: NOAA) Environmental researchers and BP attorneys sparred Wednesday over the potential effects of the 2010 Gulf oil spill in a trial aimed at determining whether the oil giant should be made to pay some $13.7 billion in Clean Water Act penalties. (From charlotteobserver.com / by Kevin McGill) – A government witness, Dr. Stanley Rice, a retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration toxicology expert, was critical of a BP expert’s report on toxicity levels in Gulf waters in the months following the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig at BP’s Macondo well. Under friendly questioning from a Justice Department lawyer, Rice outlined his criticisms, saying the report did not focus sufficiently on surface waters or a deep-sea plume of oil that followed the disaster. “You do not get the impression that there’s anything to worry about,” Rice said of the report. Under cross-examination, Rice acknowledged some errors in his own reports, which were based on peer-reviewed studies of the effects of the spill. For instance, he agreed that some sample data and reported locations were mismatched in one chart. However, he stuck to his overall conclusions. BP attorney Hariklia Karis also questioned Rice about his use of studies pertaining to the effects of oil on tuna embryo, noting that the tuna species mentioned in the studies does not live in the Gulf. Rice said the reactions of the embryos from each species would likely be the same although the dosages of oil that would cause those effects would likely differ. Read the full article here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2015/01/21/5461435/past-future-effects-of-oil-argued.html#.VMEqdi4sByF
01/22/2015 - 11:25
Industry committee votes against unambitious package to reform flagging EU Emissions Trading System The chances of a modest increase in carbon prices before 2020 rose on Thursday after votes by MEPs on one of the European Parliament’s most conservative committees. MEPs on the industry committee voted first against market reforms to EU carbon trading, and then against the package they had just agreed. The chaotic manoeuvring leaves open the possibility of more ambitious reforms early this year, which could lead to higher carbon prices. Continue reading...
01/22/2015 - 10:25
NOAA once again has to rescale its ocean heat chart to capture 2014 ocean warming Wow, was this a bad year for those who deny the reality and the significance of human-induced climate change. Of course, there were the recent flurry of reports that 2014 surface temperatures had hit their hottest values ever recorded. The 2014 record was first called on this blog in December and the final results were reported as well, here. All of this happened in a year that the denialists told us would not be very hot. But those denialists are having a tough time now as they look around the planet for ANY evidence that climate change is not happening. The problem is, they’ve been striking out. Continue reading...
01/22/2015 - 07:47
Asian demand for valuable rhino horn caused the number killed to jump by 21% to 1,215, despite increased efforts to protect them The number of rhinos killed in South Africa last year jumped by a fifth, marking a new record for poaching, driven by Asian demand for rhino horn which is more valuable by weight than gold. A total of 1,215 rhinos were killed in 2014, statistics published by the environment ministry on Thursday showed, in what environmentalists said was now a “do or die situation”. Continue reading...
01/22/2015 - 07:15
Fossil fuel companies have taken up majority positions in key renewables trade groups steering them towards a pro-gas stance that influenced Europe’s 2030 clean energy targets, industry insiders claim Major fossil fuel companies and energy utilities have used their financial power to take control of key renewable energy lobby groups in Europe in an effort to slow the continent’s transition to clean energy, according to industry insiders. Continue reading...