Archive for September, 2014

Satellite measurements reveal gravity dip from ice loss in West Antarctica

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Although not designed to map changes in Earth's gravity over time, ESA's GOCE satellite has shown that the ice lost from West Antarctica over the last few years has left its signature. More than doubling its planned life in orbit, GOCE spent four years measuring Earth's gravity in unprecedented detail. Researchers have found that the decrease in the mass of ice during this period was mirrored in GOCE's measurements....

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Biodiversity in the Mediterranean is threatened by alien species

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Humans have introduced nearly a thousand species from other seas into the Mediterranean with very serious impact on its unique flora and fauna, finds a new study....

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Rating the planet’s oceans: First global ocean health index

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Researchers have helped produce the first Ocean Health Index that includes all the Earth's oceans. In addition, for the first time, the report assessed the Antarctic and the 15 ocean regions beyond national jurisdiction (high-seas areas) -- all critical regions for maintaining a healthy climate, safeguarding biodiversity and providing sustainable food sources....

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NASA support key to glacier mapping efforts

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Thanks in part to support from NASA and the National Science Foundation, scientists have produced the first-ever detailed maps of bedrock beneath glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. This new data will help researchers better project future changes to glaciers and ice sheets, and ultimately, sea level....

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Ocean data shows ‘climate dance’ of plankton

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The greens and blues of the ocean color from NASA satellite data have provided new insights into how climate and ecosystem processes affect the growth cycles of phytoplankton -- microscopic aquatic plants important for fish populations and Earth's carbon cycle....

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Laser-guided herds of sea monkeys show how zooplankton migrations may affect global ocean currents

Sea monkeys have captured the popular attention of both children and aquarium hobbyists because of their easily observable life cycle. Physicists are interested in a shorter-term pattern: Like other zooplankton, brine shrimp vertically migrate in large groups throughout the day in response to changing light conditions. New research suggests that the collective movement of small marine organisms could affect global ocean circulation patterns on a level comparable to the wind and the tides....

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Coral’s best defender against an army of sea stars: Crabs

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Coral reefs face a suite of perilous threats in today's ocean. From overfishing and pollution to coastal development and climate change, fragile coral ecosystems are disappearing at unprecedented rates. Despite this trend, some species of corals surrounding the island of Moorea in French Polynesia have a natural protector in their tropical environment: coral guard-crabs. New research has helped unravel the complex symbiotic relationship between these crabs and the coral reefs they live in and defend....

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Greenland Ice Sheet more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought

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A new study finds that the Greenland Ice Sheet, which covers 1.7 million square kilometers and contains enough ice to raise sea levels worldwide by seven meters, is less stable and more sensitive to climate change than previously thought....

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How far does sound travel in the ocean?

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The distance that sound travels in the ocean varies greatly, depending primarily upon water temperature and pressure.

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While the Arctic is melting, the Gulf Stream remains

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The melting Arctic is not the source for less saline Nordic Seas. It is the Gulf Stream that has provided less salt. A new study documents that the source of fresher Nordic Seas since 1950 is rooted in the saline Atlantic as opposed to Arctic freshwater that is the common inference....

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