AuthorTopic: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread  (Read 11215 times)

Offline RE

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Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« on: November 07, 2015, 06:01:39 PM »
Kicking off with Poisoned Crabs in CA.

King Crab still in the Fish Dept at 3 Bears here.  I may buy some tomorrow before they are gone too.  :'(


A California crab ban reveals trouble in the Pacific Ocean

Crab fishing is delayed, and poisoned sea lions are washing ashore, with a toxic algae to blame

November 6, 2015 12:22PM ET
by Azure Gilman @azuregilman

In 40 years of crab fishing off the California coast, Dave Bitts has seen the crab season delayed before over price disputes or the quality of the harvest.

But this year is the first time he has seen a nearly statewide delay on crabbing based on health fears.

High levels of domoic acid, a neurotoxin harmful to humans and other animals, have been found in Dungeness crabs along the California coastline. The toxin is produced by algae, which are thriving in warmer ocean temperatures.

As a result, for the first time in memory the California Fish and Game Commission this week delayed the recreational Dungeness crab season that was scheduled to begin Saturday for the area stretching from Southern California’s Ventura County to the Oregon state line. The state has also suspended the rock crab harvest, which is normally allowed year-round.

Commercial crabbing of Dungeness and rock crab along the California coast will be delayed as well, leaving people like Dave Bitts to wonder how drastically their harvest will be impacted.
Crab alert: California health officials warn not to eat them 2:29
Your World This Morning | November 5, 2015

“Worst case, this thing continues, and we just don’t have a season," said Bitts, who makes about half his income off Dungeness crabs, the most common type of crab harvested off the California coast. "That would be a very serious deal indeed.”

Consumers might be annoyed that a favorite seafood will be more scarce, and those who make their living from it are rightly worried about a major financial loss. California’s crabbing industry brings in around $60 million a year for harvesters alone, and the revenues amount to much more when counting the grocery stores and restaurants who sell the catch.

An even more dire concern may be that the contamination of crabs points to the Pacific Ocean facing problems of a magnitude never seen before.

Persistent warm-water conditions along the U.S. West Coast have contributed to the largest toxic algae bloom ever recorded. One type of algae — Pseudo-nitzschia — has poisoned much of the food web, and is drastically affecting marine ecosystems along the West Coast. One sign of that is that sea lions suffering from seizures caused by domoic acid have been washing up on California beaches.

The algae bloom now in the Pacific stretches well beyond state borders, from the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. One irregularly warm area of the ocean has been joined by El Niño, a cyclical weather pattern characterized by warm ocean water.

“This is usually the time of year when we expect an algae bloom to dissipate, because typically the water is cooling off,” said Michael Milstein, a public affairs officer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “But in this case it doesn’t seem to be tapering off as we would have expected, and that’s in large part because the ocean is still quite warm.”

The persistently warm water and poisonous algae have prompted seafood harvest bans up and down the Pacific Coast, affecting California, Oregon and Washington.

Larry Collins, president of the San Francisco Bay Crab Boat Association, said, “I’ve seen the crabs delayed in Oregon and Washington many times from domoic acid before. What’s unusual is that it’s never happened to us down here.”

California’s delaying the season for crabs is only one of a series of such delays or suspensions since May in fishing for anchovies, shellfish and Dungeness crabs in the Pacific, said Raphael Kudela, a professor of ocean sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz.

“The toxin [domoic acid] has been around so long it’s associated with mortalities of seabirds, of sea lions," he said. "The toxin is working its way through the food web."

Shellfish and anchovies, among others, feed on the toxic algae and are in turn eaten by larger animals, spreading domoic acid up the food chain.

The Marine Mammal Center reported that as of early September it had rescued 180 sea lions, three-quarters of which were suffering from the effects of domoic acid, which can include lethargy, disorientation, seizures and death.

The Pacific’s warmer temperatures pose another danger to sea lions by driving fish they feed on to colder waters. The NOAA has deemed this threat serious enough to declare it an “unusual mortality event.”

On Friday, the federal agency co-sponsored a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., on the toxic algae bloom. Participants at the event described the impact on West Coast ecosystems and fisheries.

Some experts have said that delaying crabbing season to protect consumers won't address the causes of the algae bloom.

“If you just protect the people, that’s great," said William Cochlan, a senior research scientist at San Francisco State University who studies phytoplankton. "But if you don’t do the research, or our agencies don’t fund scientists to do this sort of research, we’re essentially just sticking our heads in the sand. And there’s no reason to think it’s going to go away."

Bitts, the fisherman who relies heavily on Dungeness crabs and is based in Eureka on the Northern California coast, is hoping for the best.

“This has been a very strange year on the ocean, in ways that I don’t understand,” said Bitts, who captains a fishing boat called the Elmarue. “If you’re a fisherman, you have to put some aside in the good years and hope it’s enough to get you through the bad years.”
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Fukushima Five Years Later: "The Fuel Rods Melted Through Containment"
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2016, 02:15:14 AM »
Fukushima Five Years Later: "The Fuel Rods Melted Through Containment And Nobody Knows Where They Are Now"


Tyler Durden's picture

Today, Japan marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic and catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant. On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the northeast coast of Japan, killing 20,000 people. Another 160,000 then fled the radiation in Fukushima. It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, and according to some it would be far worse, if the Japanese government did not cover up the true severity of the devastation.

At least 100,000 people from the region have not yet returned to their homes. A full cleanup of the site is expected to take at least 40 years. Representative of the families of the victims spoke during Friday’s memorial ceremony in Tokyo. This is what Kuniyuki Sakuma, a former resident of Fukushima Province said


For those who remain, we are seized with anxieties and uncertainties that are beyond words. We spend life away from our homes. Families are divided and scattered. As our experiences continue into another year, we wonder: 'When will we be able to return to our homes? Will a day come when our families are united again?'


There are many problems in areas affected by the disaster, such as high radiation levels in parts of Fukushima Prefecture that need to be overcome. Even so, as a representative of the families that survived the disaster, I make a vow once more to the souls and spirits of the victims of the great disaster; I vow that we will make the utmost efforts to continue to promote the recovery and reconstruction of our hometowns.

Sadly, the 2011 disaster will be repeated. After the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, Japan was flooded with massive anti-nuclear protests which led to a four-year nationwide moratorium on nuclear plants. The moratorium was lifted, despite sweeping opposition, last August and nuclear plants are being restarted.

Meanwhile, while we await more tragedy out of the demographically-doomed nation, this is what Fukushima's ground zero looks like five years later. As Reuters sums it up best,  "no place for man, or robot."

The robots sent in to find highly radioactive fuel at Fukushima's nuclear reactors have “died”; a subterranean "ice wall" around the crippled plant meant to stop groundwater from becoming contaminated has yet to be finished. And authorities still don’t know how to dispose of highly radioactive water stored in an ever mounting number of tanks around the site.

Five years ago, one of the worst earthquakes in history triggered a 10-metre high tsunami that crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station causing multiple meltdowns. Nearly 19,000 people were killed or left missing and 160,000 lost their homes and livelihoods.

Today, the radiation at the Fukushima plant is still so powerful it has proven impossible to get into its bowels to find and remove the extremely dangerous blobs of melted fuel rods.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power has made some progress, such as removing hundreds of spent fuel roads in one damaged building. But the technology needed to establish the location of the melted fuel rods in the other three reactors at the plant has not been developed.

“It is extremely difficult to access the inside of the nuclear plant," Naohiro Masuda, Tepco's head of decommissioning said in an interview. "The biggest obstacle is the radiation.”

The fuel rods melted through their containment vessels in the reactors, and no one knows exactly where they are now. This part of the plant is so dangerous to humans, Tepco has been developing robots, which can swim under water and negotiate obstacles in damaged tunnels and piping to search for the melted fuel rods.

But as soon as they get close to the reactors, the radiation destroys their wiring and renders them useless, causing long delays, Masuda said. 

Each robot has to be custom-built for each building.“It takes two years to develop a single-function robot,” Masuda said. 


Tepco, which was fiercely criticized for its handling of the disaster, says conditions at the Fukushima power station, site of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in Ukraine 30 years ago, have improved dramatically. Radiation levels in many places at the site are now as low as those in Tokyo.

More than 8,000 workers are at the plant at any one time, according to officials on a recent tour. Traffic is constant as they spread across the site, removing debris, building storage tanks, laying piping and preparing to dismantle parts of the plant.

Much of the work involves pumping a steady torrent of water into the wrecked and highly radiated reactors to cool them down. Afterward, the radiated water is then pumped out of the plant and stored in tanks that are proliferating around the site.

What to do with the nearly million tonnes of radioactive water is one of the biggest challenges, said Akira Ono, the site manager. Ono said he is “deeply worried” the storage tanks will leak radioactive water in the sea - as they have done several times before - prompting strong criticism for the government.

The utility has so far failed to get the backing of local fishermen to release water it has treated into the ocean.

Ono estimates that Tepco has completed around 10 percent of the work to clear the site up - the decommissioning process could take 30 to 40 years. But until the company locates the fuel, it won’t be able to assess progress and final costs, experts say.

The much touted use of X-ray like muon rays has yielded little information about the location of the melted fuel and the last robot inserted into one of the reactors sent only grainy images before breaking down.


Tepco is building the world’s biggest ice wall to keep  groundwater from flowing into the basements of the damaged reactors and getting contaminated.

First suggested in 2013 and strongly backed by the government, the wall was completed in February, after months of delays and questions surrounding its effectiveness. Later this year, Tepco plans to pump water into the wall - which looks a bit like the piping behind a refrigerator - to start the freezing process.

Stopping the ground water intrusion into the plant is critical, said Arnie Gunderson, a former nuclear engineer.

“The reactors continue to bleed radiation into the ground water and thence into the Pacific Ocean,” Gunderson said. "When Tepco finally stops the groundwater, that will be the end of the beginning.”

While he would not rule out the possibility that small amounts of radiation are reaching the ocean, Masuda, the head of decommissioning, said the leaks have ended after the company built a wall along the shoreline near the reactors whose depth goes to below the seabed.

“I am not about to say that it is absolutely zero, but because of this wall the amount of release has dramatically dropped,” he said.

"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline RE

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Arctic Death Rattle
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2016, 08:26:59 AM »
Resort Hotels on the beaches of Nunavut coming soon.


August 22, 2016
Arctic Death Rattle

by Robert Hunziker

As of August 17th U.S. Naval Research Lab measurements of Arctic sea ice over a 30-day period “shows that the multi-year sea ice has now virtually disappeared,” Storms over Arctic Ocean, Arctic News, August 19, 2016. This means the Arctic has lost its infrastructure. It’s gone.

That means no more 20’-25’ multi-year thick ice, leaving two-dimensional “ice extent” with little thickness and no substantial mass, which charlatans use to prey upon the public’s climate science ignorance by crowing about how far and wide the “ice extent” is during freeze-over so that anthropogenic global warming is made to appear as a hoax. These keynote mountebanks at staged speaking events mislead the public about climate change. They’re found high and low.

In turn, the Arctic negatively affects the entire Northern Hemisphere (source: Jennifer Francis, Instit. of Marine and Coastal Sciences) by altering jet streams at 30,000-40,000 feet altitude, which turns normal weather patterns upside down, wreaking havoc throughout the hemisphere. But, much more significantly, loss of Arctic ice exposes the planet to risks of a crushing blow to the planetary ecosystem, without warning.

Going forward, Arctic ice will consist of young, thin, new yearly ice that easily fractures, turns to slush, turns darker, much more prone to absorbing sunlight, which, unfortunately, could bring on a worldwide catastrophe. Fasten your seat belts!

Ever since the last Ice Age, the Arctic has performed a huge favor by serving as a deep freeze over gigatons of frozen methane (CH4). That locked-in-ice methane, especially in shallow waters where it can make it to the surface in bubbles (already studied by teams of scientists), is a beastly monster beyond anything Hollywood has ever dreamed; it makes Godzilla look like a little whippersnapper.

Natalia Shakhova, head of the Russia-U.S. Methane Study at International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska believes it is possible that a 50-gigaton (Gt) burp of methane erupts along the shallow waters (50-100 m) of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, thereby actuating a fierce self-reinforcing feedback process leading to runaway global warming (5Gt of CH4 is currently in the atmosphere). In turn, life on Earth hits a thud!

Still, it’s important to note that the “50-gigaton burp of methane” theory is extraordinarily controversial among climate scientists. Whereas, the startling loss of Arctic ice mass is irrefutable via actual measurement, and it is glaring evidence of global warming, as heat melts ice!

The Guardian’s ace environmental editor John Vidal recently published an article entitled Time to Listen to the Ice Scientists About the Arctic Death Spiral, The Guardian, August 18, 2016, wherein he states: “The Arctic’s ice is disappearing. We must reduce emissions fast, or the human catastrophe predicted by ocean scientist Peter Wadhams will become reality.”

Professor Peter Wadhams (University of Cambridge) has a new book due for release September 1st, 2016 A Farewell to Ice, A Report from the Arctic (Publ. Allen Lane). According to Vidal’s Guardian article, Wadhams’ book offers a new slant on the climate change controversy: “Because Peter Wadhams says what other scientists will not, he has been slandered, attacked and vilified by denialists and politicians who have advised caution or no-action.”

“He and other polar experts have moved from being field researchers to being climate change pioneers in the vanguard of the most rapid and drastic change that has taken place on the planet in many thousands of years. This is not just an interesting change happening in a remote part of the world, he says, but a catastrophe for mankind.”

All of which begs the question: Is runaway global warming a possibility within current lifetimes?

Yes, it is certainly possible if, as Dr. Wadhams suggest, an ice-free Arctic triggers rapid acceleration of climate change. Accordingly, Wadhams beckons people who study climate change to speak up, tell the truth, don’t hold back.

After all, it is already public knowledge that scientists have been tweaking their own work by downplaying the severity of climate change in order to preserve grants and avoid ridicule, and dodge rabble-rousing, extremist name labeling, which can freeze research funds and ruin careers.

Leading climate scientists are not willing to honestly expose their greatest fears, as discovered by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! whilst at COP21 in Paris this past December, interviewing one of the world’s leading climate scientists, Kevin Anderson (University of Manchester) of Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research/UK who said: “So far we simply have not been prepared to accept the revolutionary implications of our own findings, and even when we do we are reluctant to voice such thoughts openly… many are ultimately choosing to censor their own research.”

Forthwith, we know from one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change that climate scientists are censoring (downplaying) their own research, but why?

“What we are afraid of doing is putting forward analysis that questions the paradigm, the economic way that we run society today… We fine-tune our analysis so that it fits into the economic reality of our society, the current economic framing. Actually our science now asks fundamental questions about this idea of economic growth in the short term, but we’re very reluctant to say that. In fact, the funding bodies are reluctant to fund research that raises those questions,” Top Climate Expert: Crisis is Worse Than We Think & Scientists Are Self-Censoring to Downplay Risk, Democracy Now! Dec. 8, 2015.

Dr. Anderson’s last sentence is worth repeating because it goes to the heart of the debate about climate research bias: “In fact, the funding bodies are reluctant to fund research that raises those questions.” To that end, money dictates science. Hmm! Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Along with Wadham’s unambiguous point-blank warning of serious trouble ahead, Anderson’s revelation is all the more reason to stop and think and act, each and every person, especially leaders because the accumulation of all wars, of all natural disasters, of all famine and heartache throughout all time pales in comparison to a blindside hit by out of control intense climate change, perhaps driven by runaway global warming.

The likely upshot of out of control intense climate change, beyond catching humanity with its pants down, is rapid increase in sea level flooding coastal cities, embedded droughts diminishing or destroying agricultural production, severe storm activity, and horrific heat throughout the mid latitudes, resulting in panic, illness, and sudden death (happening now). The world turns chaotic. Life turns difficult. The American dream turns horribly sour within a generation.

But, the preponderance of published science on climate change leads to the conclusion that such an event is far off in time, decades or in some cases more than 100 years away, and in some cases nothing to worry about, which is the intermittent “gradualists” viewpoint.

Whereas sorrowfully, in point of fact, there is already evidence indicating that the worst-case scenario is in its early stages. Just read Wadhams’ book. The only question going forward is whether climate change rapidly accelerates as an out of control defiant monster or evolves little by little, in which case the gradualists will be correct, meaning future generations can fight the demons of ecosystem collapse.

In any case, anthropogenic (human influenced) climate change/global warming is openly and plainly a deadly serious dilemma that in some cases is severe, happening right under society’s collective nose, for instance, the loss of Arctic sea ice, or 95% of Greenland’s surface turning to slush for the first time in recorded scientific history (1-2 mile thick ice = 23’ sea rise), or Swiss Alps’ glaciers turning into Land O’ lakes, or the Everest base camp glacier turned to stone, or the permanent closing of the world’s highest ski resort Chacaltaya at 17,785 feet turned to rock, or Chinese drought destructiveness doubling over the decades, or Antarctica’s Totten Glacier 90×20 miles irreversibly cascading, or Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier retreating at fastest rate of any ice mass on Earth, or North Carolina’s Outer Banks irreversibly losing isle land mass to the sea, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

Still, people in key American leadership positions, like Donald Trump, publicly state: “Global warming is a hoax.”
Join the debate on Facebook

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at
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Offline azozeo

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Re: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2016, 10:31:12 AM »
It should get real interesting now that hurricane season is in full swing.

Wouldn't want to be on the east coast of North America anytime soon.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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Re: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2017, 04:29:18 AM »
2017-03-13 - Great Barrier Reef suffers second consecutive mass bleaching as potential for record warm 2017 looms:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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Re: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 04:27:44 PM »
2017-03-17 - The Great Barrier Reef in Australia continues dying like never seen before in human history:

Quote: "Scientists speculate that the era of never-ending global coral bleaching may have already arrived, decades early. In a new study, published Wednesday as the cover story in the journal Nature, Hughes and his colleagues — the paper includes an astounding 45 co-authors — find that 91 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has bleached at least once during three major bleaching events in 1998, 2002, and 2016. The most recent of these events — triggered in part by a strong El Niño — was so severe that there is no similar analog in the thousands of years of ancient coral cores scientists use to study past climates."
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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Re: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2017, 01:40:39 PM »
2017-03-29 - Pacific Ocean dying off hard:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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Re: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2017, 01:48:44 PM »
2017-03-29 - Monster El Niño forming - will it be more devastating than the last one?
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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Beneath the Waves -- Why Climate Change Needs to Be Acknowledged
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2017, 01:41:32 AM »

Jun 8, 2017 @ 01:30 PM 271

Beneath the Waves -- Why Climate Change Needs to Be Acknowledged

Christopher P. Skroupa , 


I focus on the intersection of government, Wall Street & main street.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

In light of the U.S.'s withdrawal of the Paris Climate Agreement, examination of how climate change can affect us is now more crucial than ever to consider.

Jon White is serving as the President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership after coming onboard in September 2015 as the Vice President for Ocean Science and Strategy. Prior to this he had a distinguished 32-year career in the U.S. Navy and retired at the rank of Rear Admiral. White’s passion for the ocean and science began at a very early age as he grew up near Florida’s Gulf coast. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanographic Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master’s degree in Meteorology and Oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

White had numerous operational assignments at sea and ashore as a Naval Meteorology and Oceanography specialist, culminating in his assignment as Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy from 2012 to 2015.  This position included appointments as the Director of Navy’s Task Force Climate Change, and Navy Deputy to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Christopher P. Skroupa: In honor of today being World Oceans Day, can you start by talking about how the ocean benefits humans?  Is it all about beach vacations and shrimp dinners?

Jonathan White: To put it simply, our very survival is linked to that of the ocean. Every second breath you take comes from marine phytoplankton, tiny organisms that create half the world’s oxygen through photosynthesis. So to say that it helps us fulfill the very basic functions necessary for life is an understatement. We also have the ocean to thank for many important processes, like the water cycle and weather patterns. Without ocean currents transporting and mixing warm and cool water around the globe, our planet wouldn’t be able to support life as we know it.

The ocean also provides incredible resources to our nation, like seafood, security, economic growth, and so much more. The ocean provides about 20 percent of the animal protein we depend upon for food and it’s indirectly a source of a lot more — marine products can be found in everything from livestock feed to insecticides and fertilizers. Additionally, the ocean economy, which weathered the recession of 2007-2009 better than the U.S. economy as a whole, contributes $359 billion to our gross domestic product. Finally, the ocean plays a key role in our national security. Our 95,000 mile coastline is our nation’s longest border. Our national security isn’t about fortifying that ocean border but about understanding our ocean to best utilize it. Oceanography was a key determinant in the U.S. Cold War victory due to the knowledge advantage provided to our forward deployed maritime forces, especially our submarines.

Skroupa: Sounds like there are a lot of societal benefits from the ocean and that maintaining the integrity of the ocean system is critical. What is the ocean’s role in weather and climate? What do people most often not know or misunderstand about that relationship? How do changes to the broader ocean-atmosphere system threaten the resources and services we depend on from the sea?

White: I’d say that most people don’t understand the complexities of the ocean-weather-climate relationship, so I’ll start with some definitions. There is a difference between weather and climate, and that difference is time — weather is atmospheric conditions in the short-term (minutes to months), while climate is a description of long-term weather patterns in a particular area. To understand weather, you must understand what the ocean does. To understand climate, you must understand what the ocean is.

As anyone who has been to the beach and felt the tug of a current can tell you, what the ocean does is move water, through both surface and deep-water currents. In moving water, the ocean is moving heat — it absorbs half of the sun’s heat that reaches our planet. Currents move warm water from the equator to the poles and cold water from the poles to the equator. This drives weather patterns, keeping regional temperatures from being as extreme as they would be if all the hot water stayed at the equator and all the cold water stayed at the poles. Additionally, as water molecules evaporate, they ultimately lead to precipitation that provides the “water of life” over land.  So that’s what the ocean does — it moves water, through currents and evaporation, and that defines our weather.

Now for what the ocean is — it is a heat sink and a moisture source. The ocean stores more heat in the top three meters than the entire atmosphere does. It acts as the flywheel of our climate, absorbing and releasing heat to stabilize Earth’s temperature as a flywheel absorbs and releases energy to stabilize the speed of an engine. Changes in year-to-year climate, such as El Niño, and longer-term natural climate variability, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, are both driven by the ocean. Climate is actually more closely linked to ocean conditions than weather. So as to what the ocean is — it is a heat absorber and climate stabilizer.

Changes to the ocean-atmosphere system absolutely threaten the resources we depend upon from the sea. Warming sea surface temperatures have already caused marine species to shift north to cooler waters, which can wreak havoc on the lives of the fishers and communities dependent upon them. Another major problem is the addition of more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as about a quarter of all carbon dioxide released is absorbed by the ocean. As the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere has grown, so too has the total uptake by the ocean. This has fundamentally changed the chemistry of seawater, making it more acidic, in what is known as “ocean acidification.” If you happen to have a shell made of calcium carbonate (such as oysters, clams, and sea urchins) or weakly-protected bones (like larval fish), this is bad news — a more acidic ocean makes it harder for these species to build their shells or grow into adult fish, which puts the entire food web at risk and threatens coastal economies dependent upon shellfish and finfish fisheries.

Skroupa: So the ocean is a driver of climate, but it is also impacted by the increasing carbon dioxide levels. As someone who has worked at the nexus of national security and climate change for decades, can you explain how these changes impact our national security? And is this a future threat or something that’s already happening?

White: Absolutely, climate change is already happening, and it does impact our national security. It has effects across the board, but there are four key areas I’ll focus on.

The first is how the changing climate impacts our military infrastructure. This includes physical structures, such as bases, but also information infrastructure, like our communications systems and data. For structures, understanding and adapting to this involves more than studying how sea level rise will impact coastal infrastructure. It’s also looking at how changes in the ocean impact weather conditions inland, through events like droughts and floods. In 2010, more than 14 inches of rain and a levee breach caused flood damage to every structure at the Navy’s facility in Millington, Tennessee, which is home to all its personnel information and programs. Some buildings had up to 55 inches of standing water. Likewise, the ability to communicate can also be temporarily disrupted by weather events. We must ensure our military is set up for success by building and updating infrastructure in a way that keeps it out of harm’s way.

The second is the impact of climate change on global stability. As people’s basic needs — such as access to food and water — are undermined, conflict arises. Our troops are deployed in areas of the world teetering on the edge of scarcity-induced unrest, which will only be exacerbated by changing weather patterns.

The third relates to access to the opening Arctic and its natural resources, which include oil and natural gas. As ice melts, we’ll have ability to reach areas we couldn’t before. However, we’ll still need heavy icebreakers to plow through the ice, and we are woefully outnumbered by Russia in this count. We have one working heavy icebreaker (a second is out of service and a third is classified as a medium icebreaker) compared to Russia’s 40. This is linked to Russia’s military build-up in the region, which also includes the reopening of a refurbished Soviet-era base and attempts to claim 460,000 square miles of the Arctic Ocean.
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A recent expedition to the Gulf of Mexico has yielded the largest 'dead zone' ever recorded in the area.
Measuring 8,776 square miles, this massive patch of oxygen depleted water is wreaking havoc on the Gulf's marine life - a consequence of unchecked agricultural runoff pouring down from the Mississippi River.
Dead zones appear in the Gulf every summer, and the typical size is around 5,800 square miles.
Back in 2002, scientists detected an unusually large dead zone stretching for 8,497 square miles, but this new one, detected just last week, is now the largest ever recorded.
At a whopping 8,776 square miles (22,730 sq km), it's 4.6 times larger than the target size set by the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force.
In the words of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, this finding shows that "nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed is continuing to affect the nation's coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf."
Hypoxia is a fancy term for low oxygen, and it's primarily a problem for estuaries and coastal waters. These dead zones have dissolved oxygen concentrations of less than two to three parts per million, and they're triggered by a variety of factors.
In the case of the Gulf of Mexico, excess nutrients stream down the Mississippi river, stimulating massive algal growths that eventually decompose - a process that depletes the oxygen required to support marine life.
Sources of these nutrients include fertilisers from agriculture, golf courses, and suburban lawns, erosion of soil packed with nutrients, and sewage discharge from treatment plants.
Dead zones can cause a loss of fish habitat, or force fish to migrate to other areas to survive.
They can also cause reproductive issues among marine animals.
Studies suggest that dead zones in the Gulf are leading to fewer large shrimp, for instance.
There are over 400 hypoxic zones in the world, but the Gulf of Mexico dead zone is the largest in the US, and one of the largest globally.
The latest measurements in the Gulf were made by a team of scientists led by Louisiana State University and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON).
Data was recorded aboard the RV Pelican from July 21 to 31.
Sadly, the size of the dead zone didn't come as a surprise.
"We expected one of the largest zones ever recorded because the Mississippi River discharge levels, and the May data indicated a high delivery of nutrients during this critical month which stimulates the mid-summer dead zone," said LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais in a statement.
These findings suggest that efforts to reduce nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River basin aren't working.
The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast, an initiative to help farmers apply fertilisers at optimum times, is either ineffective or being ignored.
Dead zones obviously affect the fishing industry, but as for farmers, not so much.
It's not immediately clear how voluntary measures to rectify the situation are actually going to shrink the Gulf Zone's dead zone to an annual average of 1,900 square miles, a goal set by the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force.
Perhaps this year's record-setting dead zone will finally get a serious conversation started.

I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline RE

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Low oxygen levels, coral bleaching getting worse in oceans
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 12:12:54 AM »

Bleached corals are seen at Ko Racha Yai, Thailand, in 2010. (Mark Eakin/NOAA)

Low oxygen levels, coral bleaching getting worse in oceans

There are more than 12 million square miles of ocean with low oxygen levels.

    Saturday, January 6, 2018 8:39pmNation-World

By Seth Borenstein / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Global warming is making the world’s oceans sicker, depleting them of oxygen and harming delicate coral reefs more often, two studies show.

The lower oxygen levels are making marine life far more vulnerable, the researchers said. Oxygen is crucial for nearly all life in the oceans, except for a few microbes.

“If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. That pretty much describes it,” said study lead author Denise Breitburg, a marine ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. “As seas are losing oxygen, those areas are no longer habitable by many organisms.”

She was on a team of scientists, convened by the United Nations, who reported that the drop in oxygen levels is getting worse, choking large areas, and is more of a complex problem than previously thought. A second study finds that severe bleaching caused by warmer waters is hitting once-colorful coral reefs four times more often than they used to a few decades ago. Both studies are in Thursday’s edition of the journal Science .

When put all together, there are more than 12 million square miles of ocean with low oxygen levels at a depth of several hundred feet, according to the scientists with the Global Ocean Oxygen Network. That amounts to an area bigger than the continents of Africa or North America, an increase of about 16 percent since 1950. Their report is the most comprehensive look at oxygen deprivation in the world’s seas.

“The low oxygen problem is the biggest unknown climate change consequence out there,” said Lisa Levin, a study co-author and professor of biological oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Levin said researchers have seen coastal “dead zones” from fertilizer pollution from farms before, as well as areas of low oxygen in open ocean blamed on warmer waters, but this study shows how the two problems are interconnected with common causes and potential solutions.

“Just off Southern California, we’ve lost 20 to 30 percent of our oxygen off the outer shelf,” Levin said. “That’s a huge loss.”

Some low oxygen levels in the world’s ocean are natural, but not this much, Breitburg said. A combination of changes in winds and currents — likely from climate change — is leaving oxygen on the surface, and not bringing it down lower as usual. On top of that, warmer water simply doesn’t hold as much oxygen and less oxygen dissolves and gets into the water, she said.

“Oxygen loss is a real and significant problem in the oceans,” said University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha Joye, who wasn’t part of the study but praised it. Levels of ocean oxygen are “changing potentially faster than higher organisms can cope.”

In a separate study, a team of experts looked at 100 coral reefs around the globe and how often they have had severe bleaching since 1980. Bleaching is caused purely by warmer waters, when it’s nearly 2 degrees above the normal highest temperatures for an area.

In the early 1980s, bleaching episodes would happen at a rate of once every 25 to 30 years. As of 2016, they now are happening just under once every six years, the study found.

Bleaching isn’t quite killing the delicate corals, but making them extremely sick by breaking down the crucial microscopic algae living inside the coral. Bleaching is like “ripping out your guts” for coral, said study co-author Mark Eakin, coordinator of the Coral Reef Watch program for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Guam has been one of the hardest places hit with eight severe bleaching outbreaks since 1994, four of them in the last five years, Eakin said. The Florida Keys, Puerto Rico and Cuba have been hit seven times.

It takes time to recover from bleaching, and the increased frequency means coral doesn’t get the chance to recover before the next outbreak, Eakin said.

Only six of the 100 coral reefs weren’t hit by severe bleaching: four around Australia, one in the Indian Ocean and another off South Africa.

Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who studies reefs but wasn’t part of this international team, applauded the research and said that as the world warms more there will be “profound and lasting damage on global reefs.”
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Offline RE

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🌏 Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2018, 01:51:22 AM »

Global Warming Zaps Oxygen

by Robert Hunziker / February 16th, 2018

Take a deep breath. A recent scientific study reveals disturbing loss of ocean oxygen. Unnerving climatic events like this justify ringing and clanging of the bells on the Public Square, all hands on deck. In particular, and as expected, the culprit is too much anthropogenic-induced global warming or idiomatically speaking, human activities such as planes, trains, and automobiles… burning tons of coal. Somebody must do something to fix it… ah-ah-ah!

According to Denise Breitburg, lead author marine ecologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center:

    The decline in ocean oxygen ranks among the most serious effects of human activities on the Earth’s environment.1

A team of scientists with GO2NE (Global Ocean Oxygen Network) created by the UN Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission conducted a sweeping all-encompassing study of the state of ocean oxygen:

    In the past 50 years, the amount of water in the open ocean with zero oxygen has gone up more than fourfold. In coastal water bodies, including estuaries and seas, low-oxygen sites have increased more than 10-fold since 1950. Scientists expect oxygen to continue dropping even outside these zones as Earth warms.2

According to Vladimir Ryabinin, executive secretary of the International Oceanographic Commission that formed GO2NE:

    Approximately half of the oxygen on Earth comes from the ocean.

Today, there are actual dead zones where oxygen has plummeted so low that life suffocates. Not only low oxygen that doesn’t suffocate life still stunts growth, hinders reproduction, and promotes disease. In short, low oxygen stresses the entire ecosystem. According to the “legendary ocean researcher” Dr. Sylvia Earle, as recognized by the Library of Congress, and referred to as “Her Deepness” by The New Yorker and former Chief Scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) but resigned and started Mission Blue “to save the ocean”: “The ocean is dying… All of us are the beneficiaries of having burned through fossil fuels, but at what costs?  If we continue business as usual, we’re in real trouble.”

If only, a wish list, key federal positions that impact the planet, like the presidency (Trump) and heads of departments, like the EPA (Pruitt), had a smidgen of Dr. Earle’s mindset, knowledge, and consciousness, the great biosphere Earth would have a fighting chance, but no. Regrettably, they are at war with the planet. Their timing in office could not be worse! Indeed, the U.S. economy is the world’s largest at 25% of world GDP.  Its impact on the climate system exceeds all others.

Metaphorically, comparing biosphere Earth to a passenger plane traveling from NY to Paris, nobody notices when half a dozen rivets pop off the fuselage. And, nobody knows when another 10 or 20 pop off. The plane still flies, but as rivets continue to pop off and the fuselage loosens and opens up the plane starts losing altitude. Passengers notice.

Similarly, biosphere Earth has lost many, many rivets but in contrast to the passenger plane scenario, scientists like Dr. Sylvia Earle and Dr. James Hansen, former top climate scientist of NASA, have already noticed, and they forewarned society before the fuselage rips apart, before passengers notice. Consequently, according to Paris ’15, the world takes warnings by scientists seriously and acts to repair the damage, but will it be soon enough? Some scientists don’t think so.

Examples of earthly rivets popping off: (1) “Ocean seasons are changing as a result of too much heat and CO2… The scale of ocean warming is truly staggering with numbers so large that it is difficult for most people to comprehend.”3 , (2) In 2017, the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone, where oxygen is so weak that fish die, is the largest ever at 8,800 square miles.4, (3) The deadly trio, or fingerprints, of mass extinctions, including global warming, ocean acidification, and anoxia or lack of ocean oxygen at current rate of change are unprecedented in Earth’s known history.5, (4) Oceans have lost 40% of plankton production over past 50 years, threatening loss of one of the major sources of oxygen for the planet.6 Many more examples of earthly rivets popping off are extant but time and space limit.

What if the aforementioned airline pilot announced: “This is an urgent message from your pilot: Rivets are popping off the fuselage. Fasten your seat belts!”

In reality, that’s happening now. Earthly rivets are popping off all over the place, and even though scientists are warning of rivets popping off or “tipping points” in the climate system, America’s president Trump relies upon sources like Fox News and the Heritage Foundation for science knowledge. Therefore, it’s guaranteed he’ll never even hear the compulsory final announcement: “Fasten your seat belts.” Well, come to think of it, it’s way too late then anyways.

    “The Ocean Is Losing Its Breath”, University of Californian-San Diego, Science Daily, January 4, 2018. [↩]
    Ibid. [↩]
    Dan Laffoley, IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme. [↩]
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). [↩]
    Alex Rogers, Oxford, scientific director State of the Ocean. [↩]
    Boris Worm, Killam Research Professor, Dalhousie University, Halifax. [↩]
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 01:56:41 AM by RE »
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2018, 02:24:48 PM »
WWN-style reporting.  What percentage of the oceans are dead?  The Gulf dead-zone isn't due to global warming so much as agricultural pesticides and other poisons being dumped in the Mississippi - it's outrageous, but nobody cares.  And nobody will care when polar bears go extinct, so long as the Alaskan oil dividend is still being paid to keep everyone quiet, and you can always watch Attenborough videos of them if you like bears that much - bloody nuisance around town.
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🌊 The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Has Even More Garbage Than We Thought
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2018, 01:25:50 AM »

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Has Even More Garbage Than We Thought

Thousands of tons of plastic are swirling around the Pacific Ocean's surface and endangering sea life.

By Steven Sparkman
March 22, 2018

The world's biggest patch of ocean junk is bigger than anyone thought. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which floats somewhere between California and Hawaii, is now estimated to have around 87,000 tons of plastic — four times more than the next highest estimate. And it's growing faster and faster.

The Great Pacific patch is the most famous of the world's garbage patches, but there are many more. They form when strong currents surround an area of the ocean and collect all the plastic that floats by.

But it's hard to estimate how much junk a patch really has, so scientists sent out hundreds of trawling expeditions, which skimmed the top of the ocean for plastic. They also collected aerial images from research planes to help make their estimates.

Related Story
Ocean Plastic Could Triple By 2025Ocean Plastic Could Triple By 2025

They learned a bit more about the Great Pacific patch, too. Microplastics, like small beads and crumbled pieces of bigger objects, have gotten a lot of blame for the debris problem. But the survey found larger objects account for the vast majority of the plastic weight — more than anyone realized.

The biggest contributor is fishing nets, which make up 46 percent of the total plastic weight in the patch. Beyond being a huge part of the garbage problem, these lost and discarded nets also entangle and kill untold numbers of ocean animals.

The research comes from an organization called The Ocean Cleanup, which intends to start skimming huge amounts of debris from the patch this summer. The group estimates it can clean up 50 percent of the patch's plastic in five years.
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Offline RE

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🌊 Relax, The Day After Tomorrow isn’t going to happen, like, tomorrow
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2018, 01:47:35 AM »

bad circulation
Relax, The Day After Tomorrow isn’t going to happen, like, tomorrow
By Eric Holthaus   on Apr 13, 2018

Back in 2004, the blockbuster disaster film The Day After Tomorrow introduced the world to the important role that the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation might play in kicking climate change into overdrive. The ocean’s heat-transport system collapses in the movie, unleashing a tidal wave on New York City, spawning continent-sized superstorms, and freezing much of the Northern Hemisphere.

More than a decade later, mainstream science is still fighting the popular perception that abrupt climate change might just happen one afternoon — a ridiculous notion that skews our perception of the massive real-world consequences climate change is already bringing.

Problem is, there’s a thread of truth to that movie’s skewed premise: We know the Atlantic’s circulation is slowing down. And we know it’s expected to slow down in the future because of climate change. But the evidence of a catastrophic collapse anytime soon remains extremely tenuous.

This week, two teams of researchers published new evidence in the journal Nature that the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation is now at its weakest in at least the past 1,600 years.

Taken at face value, this news is troubling. If the Atlantic’s circulation continues to slow dramatically, it would mean changes in European weather, drought in central and west Africa, fluctuations in hurricane frequency, and sharp rises in sea level on the east coast of the United States as ocean water from the wind-driven Gulf Stream current piled up without an escape route.

Dig further, however, and you’ll find that there are reasons not to lose too much sleep over a looming ocean-triggered apocalypse.

The initial wave of news coverage this time around has been predictably dire, even for jaded journalists routinely confronted with the possibility of climate-induced civilizational collapse.

Take this line from the Washington Post’s coverage: “The Atlantic Ocean circulation that carries warmth into the Northern Hemisphere’s high latitudes is slowing down because of climate change, a team of scientists asserted Wednesday, suggesting one of the most feared consequences is already coming to pass.” Others went further: “Gulf Stream current at ‘record low’ with potentially devastating consequences for weather, warn scientists,” read a headline in The Independent.

Deep breaths, people. The truth isn’t quite so scary.

For starters, these results aren’t especially new. Similar work in 2015 showed largely the same thing — a slowdown coinciding with the rise of industrial civilization. Sure enough, a persistent cool spot has started to appear over the North Atlantic in recent years, just south of Greenland, exactly where we’d expect one if a slowdown was underway.

In phone and email conversations with Grist, the lead authors of both papers as well as outside experts strongly cautioned against making too much of the new research.

“I would not call it a global catastrophe,” says Levke Caesar, a physicist at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and lead author of the first paper.

David Thornalley, a geographer at University College London and lead author of the second paper, mostly agrees. He says the best data available suggests that most likely the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation will gradually weaken over the next century. While that doesn’t rule out a collapse scenario, he says, “We don’t know how close we are to a tipping point.”

Other experts who study the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), the scientific name for this phenomenon, say that recent news coverage has twisted their colleagues’ work out of context.

Isabela Astiz Le Bras, a physical oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, says that direct measurements of the AMOC taken over the past 20 years “do not reflect the reported trends” that media coverage has latched on to. That’s partly because the new papers rely on indirect approximations, or proxies, of the AMOC.

“It seems like the uncertainty has been underplayed in the media, and the implications blown out of proportion, which is unfortunate,” Le Bras says.

Martha Buckley, an oceanographer at George Mason University, goes even further. She disputes the claim that the circulation has slowed down primarily as a result of climate change, mostly because there just isn’t enough evidence yet.

“I do not believe the framing of this research as a global catastrophe is supported by the science,” she says. “Furthermore, I believe it detracts from the imminent and certain impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, more heat waves, melting of ice, and ocean acidification.”

Setting aside possible human influence, the strength of the AMOC varies a lot naturally. David Smeed, an oceanographer at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, United Kingdom, is the principal investigator for the leading effort to directly measure the AMOC, which he and his colleagues began in 2004.

“From our measurements that we make, so far what we’ve observed is consistent with natural variability,” Smeed says. “To detect an anthropogenic change, when we compare with the climate models, we realize that we need to measure a lot longer before we’d be able to detect that signal.”

At an international scientific meeting this summer, researchers will present their latest results and hash out their differences.

There is evidence that a sudden slowdown has happened before, about 30,000 years ago, an era defined by stronger storms and sudden sea-level rise. Another collapse would take years — not hours as in The Day After Tomorrow — and Buckley says not a single model predicts this scenario for this century without invoking simultaneous collapses in other climate systems, like the Greenland ice sheet.

But precisely because the AMOC has collapsed relatively quickly before, Thornally says, it’s worth worrying about now, especially because man-made climate change is creating “the right conditions for it to happen” — even if those conditions haven’t been met yet.

The media, says Thornalley, are “right to flag it as something that is potentially catastrophic, though catastrophic obviously in a different way than in a movie.”
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