Archive for July, 2013

Polar ecosystems acutely vulnerable to sunlight-driven tipping points

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Slight changes in the timing of the annual loss of sea-ice in polar regions could have dire consequences for polar ecosystems, by allowing a lot more sunlight to reach the sea floor. The research predicts biodiversity on some areas of the polar seabed could be reduced by as much as one third within decades, as the poles warm....

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Dawn of carnivores explains animal boom in distant past

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Scientists have linked increasing oxygen levels and the rise and evolution of carnivores (meat eaters) as the force behind a broad explosion of animal species and body structures millions of years ago....

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Was Moby Dick a real whale?

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While Moby Dick was not a real whale, real-life events inspired the classic novel....

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How did Earth’s primitive chemistry get kick started?

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How did life on Earth get started? Three new papers strengthen the case that Earth's first life began at alkaline hydrothermal vents at the bottom of oceans. Scientists are interested in understanding early life on Earth because if we ever hope to find life on other worlds -- especially icy worlds with subsurface oceans such as Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's Enceladus -- we need to know what chemical signatures to look for....

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North Pole not flooded — but lots of melting in the Arctic

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Widespread media reports of a lake at the North Pole don't hold water -- but scientists who deployed the monitoring buoys are watching closely as Arctic sea ice approaches its yearly minimum....

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Ice-free Arctic winters could explain amplified warming during Pliocene

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Year-round ice-free conditions across the surface of the Arctic Ocean could explain why the Earth was substantially warmer during the Pliocene Epoch than it is today, despite similar concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to new research....

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Large Gulf dead zone, but smaller than predicted

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Scientists have found a large Gulf of Mexico oxygen-free or hypoxic 'dead' zone, but not as large as had been predicted. Measuring 5,840 square miles, an area the size of Connecticut, the 2013 Gulf dead zone indicates nutrients from the Mississippi River watershed, which drains 40 percent of the lower 48 states, are continuing to affect the nation's commercial and recreational marine resources in the Gulf....

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Global warming endangers South American water supply

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Chile and Argentina may face critical water storage issues due to rain-bearing westerly winds over South America's Patagonian Ice-Field to moving south as a result of global warming....

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Recreational Boating [Explore]

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NOAA's Office of Coast Survey, the nation's nautical chartmaker, provides a suite of products to help make maritime transportation safe for all users. These products, while keeping commerce safely moving through our nation's waterways and ports, provide valuable information to the recreational boating community as well. Explore the free NOAA nautical products available to help make your next trip an enjoyable one:
NOAA BookletCharts contain all the information of the full-scale nautical chart but is reduced in scale and divided into multiple pages for convenience. The BookletCharts help recreational boaters locate themselves on the water. Boaters like to put each page in a sheet protector and keep them handy. They are updated weekly and printable at home for free.
The United States Coast Pilot expands on the information on nautical charts and provides sailing directions for U.S. coastal and intracoastal waterways and the Great Lakes. Within its nine volumes of supplemental information, the Coast Pilot provides information from channel and wharf descriptions to weather and ice conditions. Coast Pilot updates are continually posted on its website.
On the water and need information in near real-time? NOAA's nowCOAST, a web mapping portal, provides access to observations, forecasts, imagery, and geo-referenceed layers for all regions of the U.S. NowCOAST is updated at regular intervals throughout the day so boaters can stay aware of the ever-changing environment.
Understanding nautical charts is critical to navigating waterways. The U.S. Chart No. 1 provides descriptions for the symbols, abbreviations, and terms found on both paper and electronic navigational charts.
It’s fun to learn the history of where you’re sailing, and studying old charts sometimes reveal histories you never suspected. Our Historical Map & Chart Collection has over 35,000 images, covering offshore and onshore sites. They include some of the nation’s earliest nautical charts, bathymetric maps, city plans, and even a special collection of Civil War maps, charts and sketches.
You got an App for that? We sure do! Currently in beta form, MyNOAACharts is a tablet application that allows users to download NOAA nautical charts and editions of the U.S. Coast Pilot. Usable on land and water, this app will help in your trip planning and while sailing.
Teach kids about nautical charting or even learn more yourself with NOAA’s Educational Activities and Videos. Travel the Seas, an animated primer on nautical charts, is a great way to get started! ...

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A new coral reef species from the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia

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A new shallow water coral species, Echinophyllia tarae sp. n., is described from the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. Scleractinia, also called stony corals, are exclusively marine animals; they are very similar to sea anemones but generate a hard skeleton. This coral was observed in muddy environments where several colonies showed partial mortality and re-growth....

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