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24 July 2019
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.
22 April 2019
A new study explains the mechanism behind Hurricane Harvey’s unusual intensification off the Texas coast and how the finding could improve future hurricane forecasting.
20 March 2019
Where do tiny bits of plastic go when they are flushed out to sea? Much gets caught in subtropical ocean gyres, but more microplastic may be reaching Arctic waters than previously appreciated. Watch a simulation of microplastic drift over 12 years in the North Pacific.
12 December 2018
A recently developed early warning system can forecast floods on coral-lined coasts worldwide and could help save residents of low-lying island nations from unprecedented disaster, according to researchers.
17 October 2018
Long-term melting may lead to release of huge volumes of cold, fresh water into the North Atlantic, impacting global climate.
18 September 2018
The Sahara and Arabian deserts did not cool as much as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere during the Little Ice Age, but in fact were drier 200 years ago than they are today, according to a new study. The Little Ice Age was a cool period from around 1450 to 1850. During this time, Europe was very cool and even experienced a “year without a summer” in 1816 due to the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a volcano in Indonesia. Scientists knew Europe experienced significant cooling during the Little Ice Age because of historical data but were unsure how other parts of the world were affected, such as the Sahara and Arabian deserts.
13 September 2018
Fall is nearly here and, for most of us, that means the end of the summer heatwave. In the waters of British Columbia, however, the seasonal cycle is stuck. A marine heatwave began more than four years ago and new research suggests it won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Marine heatwaves are not new. But heatwaves are getting more intense and more frequent with a changing climate. Over the fall and winter of 2013 and 2014, satellites detected above normal temperatures in the surface waters of the northeast Pacific. At its peak, the mass of warm water—nicknamed “The Blob”—had water temperatures up to 3 °C warmer than normal and covered an area larger than Australia.
4 September 2018
Groundwater containing excess nitrogen from agricultural fertilizers likely contaminated coral reefs on the Cook Islands during the second half of the 20th century, continuing for years after fertilizer use stopped, according to a new study. The finding suggests human activities have long-lasting impacts on coral reef communities and could be contributing to their decline.
27 August 2018
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.
14 August 2018
More than 100 oceanic floats are now diving and drifting in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica during the peak of winter. These instruments are gathering data from a place and season that remains very poorly studied, despite its important role in regulating the global climate.