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18 September 2018
Coral skeletons act as archive of desert conditions from Little Ice Age
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
The Blob hides in the deep
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
Polluted groundwater likely contaminated South Pacific Ocean coral reefs for decades
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
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.
14 August 2018
Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide
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.
15 May 2018
Antarctic seals can help predict ice sheet melt
Two species of seal found in Antarctic seas are helping scientists collect data about the temperature and salinity of waters around vulnerable ice sheets in West Antarctica.
27 April 2018
Growing ‘dead zone’ confirmed by underwater robots in the Gulf of Oman
New research has confirmed a dramatic decrease in oxygen in the Gulf of Oman part of the Arabian Sea.
18 April 2018
Tohoku tsunami impacted home-building habits of eco-engineer heart urchins
In a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, researchers explore how tsunamis impact shallow marine environments, also known as benthic environments, and the small, burrowing animals that dwell there.
28 March 2018
Study reveals potential stability of ocean processes despite climate change
In a new study published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, Pearse Buchanan, a scientist at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, and his team integrated new, dynamic ways of representing marine ecosystem processes in ocean models. In applying them, they found that a more realistic representation of the marine ecosystem helped the ocean to take up and store carbon at similar rates regardless of global changes in physical properties, like temperature, salinity and circulation.
20 March 2018
Wind, sea ice changes suggest climate change in western Arctic
A major shift in western Arctic wind patterns occurred throughout the winter of 2017 and the resulting changes in sea ice movement are possible indicators of a changing climate, according to authors of a new study.