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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.