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7 October 2022

#AntarcticLog: Back to the ice!

It’s springtime in Antarctica, and the scientists are heading back to the ice. Not only the scientists, but the support people working at the stations, and yes, even a few science communicators and artists. Among the first to travel to McMurdo and the South Pole in the wake of the Covid pandemic is Lauren Lipuma, editor of the U.S. Antarctic Program (and the National Science Foundation’s) newspaper, The Antarctic Sun.


19 August 2022

#AntarcticLog: Alvin dive 5101

Greetings once again from sea, this time the Caribbean Sea, off the Cayman Islands to be precise, way down deep at the Mid-Cayman Rise.  Today is Alvin dive 5101, on the Beebe Vent Field (named for the deep-sea pioneer William Beebe who, with Otis Barton, descended 417m in the bathysphere in 1930, the year Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was founded), the deepest known hydrothermal vents in the world. Wonder what we’ll find… 


29 April 2022

#AntarcticLog: A small piece about a big deal

Artist Karen Romano Young explains through SciArt why tiny krill are a big deal for Antarctic food webs (and penguins, seals, orcas–and scientists).


22 April 2022

#AntarcticLog: Watch Your Language

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here. Last week I posted about how I try to find the best visual image to convey the main point of a comic or visual story.  This week I’m sharing just one image — an introduction to the JOIDES Resolution and Expedition #379, in which I took part three years ago, in 2019. I continue to …


12 May 2020

New evidence of watery plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa

Scientists are keen to explore beneath Europa’s thick blanket of ice, and they can do so indirectly by hunting for evidence of activity emanating from below. A new study published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters, did exactly this.


6 May 2020

Going against the trend

Global warming has affected the entire planet’s surface, except for one particular area of the ocean, which until 2015 had bucked the trend. A research team has now unraveled what was going on.


7 April 2020

NASA study adds a pinch of salt to El Niño models

When modeling the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) ocean-climate cycle, adding satellite sea surface salinity — or saltiness — data significantly improves model accuracy, according to a new study. ENSO is an irregular cycle of warm and cold climate events called El Niño and La Niña. In normal years, strong easterly trade winds blow from the Americas toward southeast Asia, but in an El Niño year, those winds are reduced and sometimes even reversed. Warm water that was “piled up” in the western Pacific flows back toward the Americas, changing atmospheric pressure and moisture to produce droughts in Asia and more frequent storms and floods in the Americas. The reverse pattern is called a La Niña, in which the ocean in the eastern Pacific is cooler than normal.


1 October 2019

Water distribution affects exoplanets’ habitable zone

A new study finds land planets, which have equal to or less than 10 percent of the volume of Earth’s water, can remain habitable at a closer distance to their host star if most of their water is at the planet’s poles. This means the habitable zone for these types of planets may be different than previously assumed.


29 August 2019

Researchers find new ways for coral reef ecosystems to grow

Particulate organic matter from the open ocean has a bigger-than-expected role in the growth and health of coral reefs, say researchers studying declining coral reefs in Hawaii.


24 July 2019

Scientists take high-speed video of waves to better understand sea spray

Waves crashing on seashores generate tiny droplets of water known as sea spray. Sea spray moves heat and water from the ocean to the atmosphere, but scientists are unsure which part of the wave-breaking process generates the most spray, whether it be wind shear, splashing, or the popping of air bubbles at the surface of the wave. To address this question, scientists generated breaking waves experimentally in a lab. They used a wave tank about the size of an average bowling lane to create miniature versions of plunging breakers, where the wave crest curls over itself and plunges downward.


6 March 2019

Deep diving robots find warming accelerating in South Pacific Ocean waters

The coldest, near-bottom South Pacific waters originating from Antarctica are warming three times faster than they were in the 1990s, according to new research analyzing data from deep-diving ocean robots and research cruises.


31 January 2019

Beach building is keeping the Atlantic Coast from going under

The artificial build-up of beaches is buffering the U.S. Atlantic coastline against the effects of sea level rise, but that benefit may not last as sand gets harder to come by in the coming decades.


27 August 2018

Scientists find corals in deeper waters under stress too

Coral reefs around the world are threatened by warming ocean temperatures, a major driver of coral bleaching. Scientists routinely use sea-surface temperature data collected by satellites to predict the temperature-driven stress on reef communities, but new research shows that surface measurements alone may not accurately predict the full extent of thermal stress on deeper corals.


6 April 2018

Early climate action has big effect on rising sea levels

Rising sea levels will accelerate this century and beyond, exposing hundreds of millions of people to flooding and other coastal hazards by the year 2300. But acting early to lower greenhouse gas emissions can slow that rise, say scientists in two new studies in Earth’s Future, an open access journal published by the American Geophysical Union.


7 November 2017

Scientists may have solved mystery of rapidly rising Indian Ocean sea level

Sea levels around the world have risen by 1.7 millimeters (0.07 inches) on average each year since 1880, but in recent years, scientists have observed a rapid increase in sea level in the north Indian Ocean. Tide gauge records and other datasets reveal the pace of sea level rise in the north Indian Ocean has accelerated to 3.1 millimeters (0.12 inches) per year within the last three decades. The accelerating sea level rise has confounded scientists but new research claims weakening of South Asian monsoons may be to blame.


12 June 2017

New study evaluates efficiency of oceans as heat sink, atmospheric gases sponge (plus video)

A new study is one the first to estimate how much and how quickly the ocean absorbs atmospheric gases and contrast it with the efficiency of heat absorption. Using two computer models that simulate the ocean, scientists found that gases are more easily absorbed over time than heat energy.


11 July 2016

Climate tipping points: What do they mean for society?

The phrase “tipping point” passed its own tipping point and caught fire after author Malcolm Gladwell’s so-named 2000 book. It’s now frequently used in discussions about climate change, but what are “climate tipping points”? And what do they mean for society and the economy?


28 June 2016

Climate change causing oceanic boundary currents to intensify and shift poleward

Weather along the eastern coasts of South Africa, Asia, Australasia and South America will get significantly warmer and stormier on average over the next 100 years, a new study finds. The culprit? Climate changes that are causing ocean currents next to these coastal regions, called western boundary currents, to become stronger and extend further toward the poles, according to the new study.


20 June 2016

Observing bubbles from underwater gas seeps (video)

Natural oil and gas seeps exist on the ocean floor all over the world. Although humans have known about and exploited these natural resources for thousands of years, scientists know little about how oil and gas droplets disperse in deep water and how they affect underwater ecosystems.


14 June 2016

Communicating the importance of our oceans

June is all about oceans. Learn about what’s going on in your area and how you can be an advocate for one of Earth’s greatest resources.