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18 December 2014
Michael Wong wants to understand how life could evolve on other worlds. A graduate student in planetary sciences at the California Institute of Technology, he usually focuses on planetary atmospheres. But recently, his quest took Wong to a strange, hostile setting: the bottom of an acidic ocean on Earth, 4 billion years ago.
16 December 2014
When ocean scientists visit the beach they pack more than sunscreen and a towel – they pack drones. Researchers show in a new study that drones can be used to cheaply and accurately monitor the movement of water in the surf zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The drones provide a new way of documenting the movement of plant and animal plankton, sediments and pollutants, including spilled oil, near the shore.
9 May 2014
A plan to reduce carbon from the atmosphere by adding large amounts of iron to the Southern Ocean around Antarctica may not be as effective as previously thought, according to new research.
23 April 2014
Discharged seawater pumped from the ocean and used for a renewable air conditioning system would overload surface waters with minerals that could potentially be captured instead for use in agriculture, according to a noted oceanographer.
13 May 2013
The surface waters of a major portion of the Arctic Ocean are becoming saturated with carbon dioxide sooner than many scientists expected, all but halting the watery region’s ability to sop up more of the greenhouse gas from Earth’s atmosphere, new research finds.
19 April 2013
Over 80 scientists gathered at a conference here this week to share their latest research on past, current, and projected future sea level rise and to discuss how this information can be used to shape policy. Despite their diverse perspectives and expertise, one thing the scientists agreed on for sure: the rates and impacts of sea level rise are local and communities are facing a growing risk.
1 April 2013
Melting Arctic sea ice is threatening local communities and Arctic habitats, experts stressed at a congressional briefing on March 20. The American Geophysical Union co-hosted the briefing to help inform members of Congress and their staffers about the state of the Arctic and the repercussions of sea ice loss due to global warming. The experts stressed that the consequences are already evident in Arctic communities, and will continue to compound as more sea ice is lost.
13 December 2012
The crumbling volcanic islands of the southern Pacific Ocean could be a major source of undocumented – and potentially dangerous – tsunamis.
7 December 2012
Whirlpools created at the edges of breaking waves can influence how ocean nutrients – and pollution – get mixed about in the ocean.
6 December 2012
Bacteria dependent on light may have found refuge from encroaching glaciers in inland seas some 600 million years ago, when Earth was a giant ice ball.
5 December 2012
Vulnerable to Earth’s changing climate, people living on small, low-lying islands dread the day when rising seas will swallow up their homes for good. But new findings predict that some islands will become uninhabitable long before they’re submerged. Some island habitats will be destroyed up to 10 times faster than current models project, scientists reported Tuesday at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
27 September 2012
Every summer in the Arctic, a vast system of ponds appears on the broad beds of floating sea ice, only to freeze again when the cold season returns. Researchers consider these transient bodies of water – called melt ponds — an important factor in climate change because they absorb sunlight and contribute to sea-ice loss. While warming has increased the fraction of Arctic sea ice where melt ponds form, global climate models have remained incapable of accurately predicting the influence of melt ponds, scientists say. A new model, which incorporates complex physics of the ponds, is generating predictions of sea-ice extent and thickness that match well with observations, the model’s developers report. The researchers are introducing this new capability just weeks after the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to an unprecedented autumn low that climate models were unable to predict.
6 April 2012
The ocean is filled with more plastics than previously thought, according to a new study. Tiny plastic fragments not only float on the ocean’s surface, but are also temporarily pushed beneath the top layer of water by the tumult caused by maritime winds.
23 March 2012
A year after the tsunami that devastated the Japanese coastline, the United States still needs to ramp up its tsunami preparedness, experts say. Scientists at a March 21 Capitol Hill briefing in Washington, D.C., stressed the importance of detecting tsunamis before they reach coastlines and educating the public on tsunami dangers.
9 December 2011
Francisco Chavez has been studying a single bay in northern California for over half his scientific career. But his work isn’t isolated; his measurements are helping tell the story of Pacific Ocean acidification.
One man’s noise is another man’s data — which is why seismologists are giving marine biologists an unexpected boost these days.
7 December 2011
A 200 nautical mile zone surrounds the United States, starting from three miles off U.S. shores, called the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Within the EEZ everything between the ocean surface and below the seafloor falls under U.S. jurisdiction – including fisheries or seafloor minerals. Proving that the continental shelf naturally extends past 200 nautical miles would allow the United States control of what is found on the seafloor and beneath it.
7 October 2011
One hurricane season might pummel the United States, while others bypass it completely – and now scientists have gained a new understanding about why. A team of oceanographers has identified how and why the varying size of a vast body of warm ocean water to the east and south of the U.S. can affect the number of hurricanes that make U.S. landfall. With this new insight, hurricane specialists may someday be able to better predict the likelihood that storms will make landfall during a given hurricane season.
1 August 2011
By the time the waves of the 2004 Sumatra tsunami swept half way across the globe and reached Drake Passage at the Southern tip of South America, they were just ripples.
But two pressure gauges deep below the surface of the passage reacted to those tiny remnants of the once-towering waves, giving scientists a fortuitous opportunity to study the long-distance behavior of a tsunami.
20 December 2010
Between sessions last Friday, I hope you visited the exhibition hall one last time. Past the jewelery stands selling fossils and geodes and booths selling maps and drilling equipment, you may have spotted a minor celebrity–a little machine famous for great science.
At their booth, members of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) proudly displayed a mock up of the new crew cabin for the Alvin–a little submarine of large reputation.