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13 May 2013

AGU Video: Prospects dim for ice-free Arctic Ocean helping slow global warming

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.

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19 April 2013

Exploring a changing coast in the face of sea level rise – Galveston, Texas

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.

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1 April 2013

Diminished Arctic sea ice threatens communities in northern latitudes

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.

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13 December 2012

Secret tsunamis of the South Pacific

The crumbling volcanic islands of the southern Pacific Ocean could be a major source of undocumented – and potentially dangerous – tsunamis.

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7 December 2012

Scientists put a new spin on waves

Whirlpools created at the edges of breaking waves can influence how ocean nutrients – and pollution – get mixed about in the ocean.

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6 December 2012

Shelter from the Snowball

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.

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5 December 2012

New model of sea level rise accounts for splash in the bath

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.

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27 September 2012

Scientists simulate growing role of Arctic climate culprit

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.

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6 April 2012

Ocean’s plastic pollution runs deep

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.

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23 March 2012

Tsunami preparedness briefing on Capitol Hill stresses disaster education

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.

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9 December 2011

Surviving an acidic tide

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.

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Singing whales take center stage in seismic study

One man’s noise is another man’s data — which is why seismologists are giving marine biologists an unexpected boost these days.

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7 December 2011

Volcanic bridges across the abyss

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.

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7 October 2011

Study shows how warm swath of ocean may keep hurricanes at sea

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.

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1 August 2011

Measuring tsunami remnants half a world away

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.

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20 December 2010

New cockpit for Alvin, the famous deep sea diver!

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.

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14 December 2010

Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Scientists respond with research

Often research is driven by a desire to understand the fine details of a specific process; any application is often years in the future. But when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig atop the Macondo oil well exploded on April 20, scientists used their tools to analyze an immediate problem.

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New eyes on the ocean

A global flotilla of diving robots have their eyes trained on the seas. An ocean monitoring program, called Argo, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, has currently deployed 3,239 satellite-connected floats. These monitors are constantly diving, free floating and surfacing. They are the marine equivalent to weather stations on land, recording temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll levels. Such information is then beamed in real-time to data centers in France and California. And a new breed of floats is about to do more.

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13 December 2010

The Coral Triangle’s dark secret: Life thrives in the deep

In this morning’s session OS11D “Ocean Exploration 1,” researchers presented evidence that the ocean deep basins have the potential to mirror the diversity of shallower areas. As part of a joint ocean research project between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Indonesia, Santiago Herrera of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution discussed the different habitats and species found thousands of meters below the ocean surface.

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