All posts tagged: Oceans

Save our seas: five ways to rewild and conserve the ocean | Oceans

Save our seas: five ways to rewild and conserve the ocean | Oceans

1. Give nature a helping hand by reintroducing species Some ocean species and habitats struggle to recover on their own and need help. Take sea otters, which were virtually eliminated by the end of the 19th century by commercial hunting for their super-dense pelts. From the 1960s to 1990, some sea otters were moved to repopulate places where they had once lived. Today there are about 150,000 sea otters in the wild and a third of them are descended from translocated otters. Sunflower sea stars (Pycnopodia helianthoides) can grow to the size of bike wheels. After disease devastated their populations, scientists began to breed them in aquariums. Photograph: naturediver/Getty/iStockphoto The US Fish and Wildlife Service is now considering moving more otters to fill in the gaps, including along the coast north of San Francisco. The motivation for this is partly because otters can help keep entire ecosystems healthy. Without otters to keep their numbers down, sea urchin populations explode and kelp forests become grazed down to the seabed. When otters returned to Alaska and British …

Oceans face ‘triple threat’ of extreme heat, oxygen loss and acidification | Oceans

Oceans face ‘triple threat’ of extreme heat, oxygen loss and acidification | Oceans

The world’s oceans are facing a “triple threat” of extreme heating, a loss of oxygen and acidification, with extreme conditions becoming far more intense in recent decades and placing enormous stress upon the planet’s panoply of marine life, new research has found. About a fifth of the world’s ocean surface is particularly vulnerable to the three threats hitting at once, spurred by human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, the study found. In the top 300 meters of affected ocean, these compound events now last three times longer and are six times more intense than they were in the early 1960s, the research states. The study’s lead author warned that the world’s oceans were already being pushed into an extreme new state because of the climate crisis. “The impacts of this have already been seen and felt,” said Joel Wong, a researcher at ETH Zurich, who cited the well-known example of the heat “blob” that has caused the die-off of marine life in the Pacific Ocean. “Intense extreme events like these …

The world’s oceans just broke on an important climate change record

The world’s oceans just broke on an important climate change record

As climate change worsens, experts anticipate worsened tropical storms, more frequent wildfires, rising sea levels and shortages of important products like food and microchips. Humanity needs every break that it can get in offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions causing this overheating, which is why a recent report from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Service raises such concern: It reveals that global heating has fueled such massive overheating in the world’s oceans that over the past year they broke temperature records every single day. Not only do the world’s oceans absorb around a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans produce, they similarly absorb roughly 90% of the planet’s excess heat. As a result, they play a critical role in limiting the degree to which climate change causes extreme weather and other problems. Yet the new data suggests that the world’s oceans are straining under this burden. The research reinforces a recent study in the journal Nature Climate Change, which identified human-caused climate change as the driver behind two important increases in the sea surface temperature’s seasonal cycle amplitude, …

Why are the world’s cities sinking? – podcast | Science

Why are the world’s cities sinking? – podcast | Science

A study has found that more than two dozen US coastal cities are sinking by more than 2mm a year. It’s a similar picture across the world. Nearly half of China’s major cities, as well as places such as Tehran and Jakarta, are facing similar problems. These issues are compounded by sea level rises caused by global heating. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Manoochehr Shirzaei of Virginia Tech University and Prof Robert Nicholls of the University of East Anglia to find out what’s making our cities sink and whether anything can be done to rescue them from the sea How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know Source link

11-year-old girl finds fossil of largest marine reptile ever to swim Earth’s oceans

11-year-old girl finds fossil of largest marine reptile ever to swim Earth’s oceans

(LEFT) Dean Lomax, Ruby Reynolds, Justin Reynolds and Paul de la Salle with fragments of an ichthyosaur jawbone in 2020. (CREDIT: Dean Lomax) In 1811, Mary Anning, a 12-year-old from southwestern England, made a groundbreaking discovery on a beach near her home: the first scientifically identified ichthyosaur fossil, a marine reptile akin to a dolphin from the dinosaur era. Fast forward two centuries, just under 50 miles away, an 11-year-old named Ruby Reynolds stumbled upon another ichthyosaur fossil, possibly the largest ever found by science. Ruby, now 15, and her father, Justin Reynolds, have been exploring fossil-rich areas near their Braunton home in England for over a decade. Their journey took a significant turn in May 2020 during a family outing to Blue Anchor village along the River Severn estuary when they spotted a fossilized bone fragment nestled on a rock. An illustration by artist Sergey Krasovskiy of an ichthyosaur, a dolphin-like, ocean-dwelling reptile from the time of the dinosaurs. (CREDIT: Sergey Krasovskiy) “We were both excited as we had never found a piece of …

A new theory for how oceans form on other worlds

A new theory for how oceans form on other worlds

The most dramatic scientific progress occurs when a new window into the Universe gets thrown open. When I was a graduate student, for example, I was taught that Earth was born hot and dry. Any water present at our planet’s formation got boiled away. So, because the only window we had on planetary evolution was our own Solar System, most astronomers were sure that the water making up our oceans must have been delivered later in Earth’s history through impacts with H2O-rich comets.  But then we discovered exoplanets orbiting distant stars. A new window into the Universe was opened as, suddenly, there were lots of new planets to consider. Most importantly, astronomers were finding entirely new classes of planets that do not exist in our Solar System. Now, through the study of those truly alien worlds, a new story of planets and their reservoirs of water may be emerging. For the past few years, I have been part of a large-scale National Science Foundation effort to study high-pressure conditions inside planets. The Center for Matter …

‘Are We Faced With a Colossal Ecosystem Tragedy? Yes’

‘Are We Faced With a Colossal Ecosystem Tragedy? Yes’

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The world is not doing enough to protect coral reefs, the United Nations’ special envoy for the ocean said Tuesday in defense of the marine ecosystems that protect biodiversity, sustain underwater life and produce some of the oxygen we breathe. In an interview with The Associated Press on the sidelines of an international ocean conference in Greece, Peter Thomson suggested that all significant coral reefs should be included in marine protected areas under what is known as the “30×30” initiative — a plan to designate 30% of the world’s land and ocean areas as protected areas by 2030. Top reef scientists on Monday announced that coral reefs are experiencing global bleaching for the fourth time — and the second time in just 10 years – as a result of warming oceans amid human-caused climate change. Bleaching occurs when stressed coral, which are invertebrates, expel the algae that provide their food and give them their vibrant colors. Although the coral can recover, severe and prolonged bleaching can kill it. Scientists from the …

Climate crisis increasing frequency of deadly ocean upwells, study finds | Oceans

Climate crisis increasing frequency of deadly ocean upwells, study finds | Oceans

A climate-disrupted ocean is pushing sharks, rays and other species to flee ever-hotter water in the tropics, only for them to be killed by increasingly intense upwells of cold water from the depths, a study has found. One of the authors of the paper described the “eerie” aftermath of a mass die-off of more than 260 marine organisms from 81 species in a singular event of extreme cold upwelling off the coast of South Africa in 2021. The paper, published in Nature Climate Change on Monday, found that shifts in ocean currents and pressure systems driven by climate breakdown were increasing the frequency and intensity of upwellings, which may in turn increase the vulnerability of migratory species such as bull sharks. Scientists focused on the mass die-off event in 2021, which they were able to track in unusually precise detail because one of affected creature that survived was a bull shark that had been satellite tagged. They found it had been caught in water that fell more than 10C below the temperature that such tropical …

Coral reefs are experiencing mass bleaching amid record ocean heat, scientists warn

Coral reefs are experiencing mass bleaching amid record ocean heat, scientists warn

The world is currently experiencing its second major coral bleaching event in 10 years, with reef systems from Australia to Florida teetering on the brink of disaster following months of record-breaking ocean heat, a US agency announced Monday. Issued on: 15/04/2024 – 17:45Modified: 15/04/2024 – 19:25 3 min The consequences of coral bleaching are far-reaching, affecting not only the health of oceans but also the livelihoods of people, food security, and local economies. Severe or prolonged heat stress leads to corals dying off, but there is hope for recovery if temperatures drop and other stressors such as overfishing and pollution are reduced. “As the world’s oceans continue to warm, coral bleaching is becoming more frequent and severe,” said Derek Manzello of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “When these events are sufficiently severe or prolonged, they can cause coral mortality, which hurts the people who depend on the coral reefs for their livelihoods.” Read more‘Real estate’ for corals: Swiss organisation builds artificial reefs with art, tech NOAA’s heat-stress monitoring is based on satellite …

Shipping’s Shadow World | Vanessa Ogle

Shipping’s Shadow World | Vanessa Ogle

In the early morning hours of March 26, emergency workers in Baltimore received a mayday call from the Dali, a 985-foot container ship. Shortly after setting sail from the city’s port, the vessel had lost power, and with it control over its engine and navigation instruments. It was on course to hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge, an important artery for commuters and goods that spans the Patapsco River. Minutes after the call, the Dali struck one of the bridge’s pylons, causing the whole structure to collapse. First responders managed to close the bridge, but six construction workers who were filling potholes on the road, all immigrants from Central America, are presumed dead. Now one of America’s busiest ports is closed. Rebuilding the bridge will take years. The Baltimore bridge crash is a global story. The Dali was on its way to Sri Lanka with a cargo of around 4,700 containers, including some with hazardous materials. It was chartered to the Danish shipping giant Maersk, flew the flag of Singapore, and was managed by the …