26 March 2015

Shell-shocked: Ocean acidification likely hampers tiny shell builders in Southern Ocean

 Shell-shocked: Ocean acidification likely hampers tiny shell builders in Southern Ocean

A new study shows a ubiquitous type of phytoplankton — tiny organisms that are the base of the marine food web – appears to be suffering from the effects of ocean acidification caused by climate change.

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25 March 2015

On the JOIDES Resolution: Turbidite Transport (+ video)

On the JOIDES Resolution: Turbidite Transport (+ video)

On this expedition, we’re studying sediments that have been eroded from the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. The Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers carry this sediment to the delta in Bangladesh, but what happens next? How does this material get all the way out to the middle of the Bay of Bengal where we’re drilling, almost 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) away?

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19 March 2015

Harvesting “big data” to help farmers

Harvesting “big data” to help farmers

Scientists are using massive amounts of information about the climate, weather and land to develop new tools farmers can use to grow more food without harming the environment.

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16 March 2015

U.S. hurricanes begin in western Africa’s atmosphere

U.S. hurricanes begin in western Africa's atmosphere

Hurricanes require moisture, the rotation of the Earth, and warm ocean temperatures to grow from mere atmospheric disturbances into tropical storms. But where do these storm cells originate, and exactly what makes an atmospheric disturbance amp up full throttle?

A new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters finds most hurricanes over the Atlantic Ocean that eventually make landfall in North America actually start as intense thunderstorms in western Africa.

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13 March 2015

Source to Sink (+ video)

Source to Sink (+ video)

Why are we studying the mountains by drilling into the seafloor?

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12 March 2015

Researchers study methane-rich plumes from Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus

Researchers study methane-rich plumes from Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has measured a curious abundance of methane spewing into the atmosphere of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. A team of American and French scientists published findings in Geophysical Research Letters suggesting two scenarios that could explain the methane abundance observed in the plumes.

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5 March 2015

More urban heat; less summer fog, on California coast

More urban heat; less summer fog, on California coast

The summer fog that shrouds coastal southern California – what locals call the June Gloom – is being driven up into the sky by urban sprawl, according to scientists who have studied 67 years of cloud heights and urban growth in the region. Less fog may, at first, seem like a good thing. But less fog is bad news for native plants in the coastal hills and mountains, which depend on the cool fog as their only source of water during the rainless summer months. So less fog means warmer, drier, less healthy hillsides and potentially more fires.

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2 March 2015

Study of atmospheric ‘froth’ may help GPS communications

Study of atmospheric 'froth' may help GPS communications

Irregularities in Earth’s upper atmosphere can distort GPS signals, Scientists are studying these irregularities to help overcome their effects on communications.

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25 February 2015

Drilling deep

Drilling deep

We’re in the Indian Ocean currently drilling the deepest of a six hole transect across the middle of the Bengal submarine fan. The fan covers the bottom of the Bay of Bengal with sediments eroded from the Himalayas. We’ll be devoting almost three weeks of our eight-week International Ocean Discovery Program expedition to drilling at this site. Our target: to reach 1,500 meters (about a mile) depth. Drilling this deep is a major challenge when you are drilling into the seafloor, which just so happens to be more than 3,600 meters (about two miles) below sea level.

But why so deep? And why here?

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24 February 2015

Massive amounts of Saharan dust fertilize Amazon rainforest

Massive amounts of Saharan dust fertilize Amazon rainforest

The Sahara Desert is a near-uninterrupted brown band of sand and scrub across the northern third of Africa. The Amazon rainforest is a dense green mass of humid jungle that covers northeast South America. But after strong winds sweep across the Sahara, a tan cloud rises in the air, stretches between the continents, and ties together the desert and the jungle. It’s dust. And lots of it.

Scientists have not only used a satellite to measure the volume of dust that makes this trans-Atlantic journey. They have also calculated how much phosphorus – remnant in Saharan sands from part of the desert’s past as a lake bed – gets carried across the ocean from one of the planet’s most desolate places to one of its most fertile.

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