Archive for August, 2014

Antarctic sea level rising faster than global rate

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A new study of satellite data from the last 19 years reveals that fresh water from melting glaciers has caused the sea level around the coast of Antarctica to rise by 2cm more than the global average of 6cm. Researchers detected the rapid rise in sea-level by studying satellite scans of a region that spans more than a million square kilometers. The melting of the Antarctic ice sheet and the thinning of floating ice shelves has contributed an excess of around 350 gigatonnes of freshwater to the surrounding ocean....

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Not all phytoplankton in the ocean need to take their vitamins

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Some species of marine phytoplankton, such as the prolific bloomer Emiliania huxleyi, which can grow so big it can be seen from space, can grow without consuming vitamin B1 (thiamine), researchers have discovered. Until now, many marine microbes with cells that have a nucleus -- eukaryotes -- were thought to depend on other organisms to produce thiamine. If this were the case, B1 would be a major factor in controlling the growth of algae such as E. huxleyi....

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Managing coasts under threat from climate change, sea-level rise

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Coastal regions under threat from climate change and sea-level rise need to tackle the more immediate threats of human-led and other non-climatic changes, according to a team of international scientists. The team of 27 scientists from five continents reviewed 24 years of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments. They focused on climate change and sea-level rise impacts in the coastal zone, and examined ways of how to better manage and cope with climate change....

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Marine protected areas inadequate for protecting fish and ocean ecology, study finds

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A new study reports that an expansion of marine protected areas is needed to protect fish species that perform key ecological functions. According to investigators, previous efforts at protecting fish have focused on saving the largest numbers of species, often at the expense of those species that provide key and difficult-to-replace ecological functions....

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NOAA’s Marine Debris Program reports on national issue of derelict fishing traps

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Thousands of fishing traps are lost or abandoned each year in US waters. A new NOAA report is the first of its kind to examine the derelict fish trap problem, nationally, and recommends actions to better manage and prevent it....

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Pacific plate shrinking as it cools

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The Pacific tectonic plate is not as rigid as scientists believe, according to new calculations. Scientists have determined that cooling of the lithosphere -- the outermost layer of Earth -- makes some sections of the Pacific plate contract horizontally at faster rates than others and cause the plate to deform....

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Potential influences on recent UK winter floods investigated by new scientific review

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A comprehensive review of all potential factors behind the 2013/2014 UK winter floods has been published by researchers. The paper does not definitively answer whether human activity played a role in the magnitude of the winter flood events. It does, however, examine how factors such as the state of the global oceans may have interacted with wind patterns and subsequent high-level atmospheric features....

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Natural methane seepage on U.S. Atlantic ocean margin widespread

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Natural methane leakage from the seafloor is far more widespread on the U.S. Atlantic margin than previously thought, according to a study by researchers from Mississippi State University, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other institutions....

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Southeast Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail

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If you've ever had the notion to paddle an unbroken marsh and river trail that meanders for hundreds of miles down America's picturesque Southeast coast, check out the Southeast Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail (SECT) website.

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Cold snap in the tropics: How tropical glaciers respond to cooling periods

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Tropical glaciers have responded to episodes of cooling in Greenland and the Antarctic over the past 20,000 years, according to a study that covers 21 Andean glaciers. As elsewhere on the planet, tropical glaciers (located on either side of the equator between 23°N and 23°S) have been retreating since the Last Glacial Maximum around 20,000 years ago. This retreat has been interrupted by stillstands and re-advances, although a detailed chronology of these events in tropical regions remained unclear until now....

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