29 September 2015

This Week in Water

Really, there is only one piece of water news this week:

NASA has discovered evidence of flowing salt water on Mars.

Dark lines indicate where water flows on Mars


22 September 2015

This Week in Water

I've been away and been distracted; apologies. A lot has happened in our watery world in my absence so let's get to it, focusing this week on the threats to our oceans.

Scientists are claiming the upcoming Paris climate talks are paying insufficient heed to the dangers posed by global warming to the world's oceans.

Scripps oceanographers have found the fourth lowest Arctic sea-ice minimum ever recorded this year and surprising turbulence under the surface.

As reported here many times over the years, rising seas threaten U.S. coastal cities such as San Francisco in the near- to mid-term future.

Long-term warming trends coupled with this year's super strong El Niño are causing unprecedented bleaching and death of Hawaii's coral, and the outlook is not good.

This year's dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, at approximately 6,474 square miles, is significantly above average and larger than forecast even in June.

The impact of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound has been far greater than anyone thought, including heart defects in salmon and herring due to exposure to crude oil toxins in the seawater.

A newly discovered underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean is spewing carbon dioxide, thereby further acidifying the ocean and turning vibrant coral gardens to carpets of algae.

A pristine underwater ecosystem of ocean life has been discovered off the south coast of Australia at unexpected depths.

The U.S. Navy has agreed to reduce underwater explosive testing and mid-range sonar training off the coasts of California and Hawaii that have killed a number of whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions and adversely affected the hearing abilities of many others.

The Everglades Foundation of Palmetto Bay has announced a $10 million prize to entrepreneurs who come up with a solution to the world's growing algae populations. The algaefication of the oceans and freshwater ways (including so-called dead zones) is caused by phosphorus and nitrogen and other chemical runoff from fertilizers and from sewage treatment.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa's Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (aka HURL) has been exploring the deep seas since the 1980s. [Great article from the NY Times about HURL's important work.]