Archive for February, 2016

New theory of deep-ocean sound waves may aid tsunami detection

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Researchers have now identified a less dramatic though far more pervasive source of acoustic-gravity waves: surface ocean waves, such as those that can be seen from a beach or the deck of a boat. These waves, known as surface-gravity waves, do not travel nearly as fast, far, or deep as acoustic-gravity waves, yet under the right conditions, they can generate the powerful, fast-moving, and low-frequency sound waves....

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Microorganisms duke it out within algal blooms

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A five-month survey finds that algal blooms encompass dozens of types of microorganisms fighting for supremacy, with the dominant species shifting on an almost daily basis....

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Plankton feces could move plastic pollution to the ocean depths

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Plastic waste could find its way deep into the ocean through the feces of plankton, new research shows....

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When sea levels rise, damage costs rise even faster

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Damages from extreme events like floods are even more relevant than the mean sea level itself when it comes to the costs of climate impacts for coastal regions. A team of scientists now provides a method to quantify monetary losses from coastal floods under sea-level rise. For the first time, the scientists show that the damage costs consistently increase at a higher rate than the sea-level rise itself....

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NASA sees a different kind of El Nino

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A new NASA visualization shows the 2015 El Nino unfolding in the Pacific Ocean, as sea surface temperatures create different patterns than seen in the 1997-1998 El Nino. Computer models are just one tool that NASA scientists are using to study this large El Nino event, and compare it to other events in the past....

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What is marine biogeography?

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Marine biogeography is the study of marine species, the geographic distribution of their habitats, and the relationships between living organisms and the environment. By mapping benthic habitats, studying what occurs on the bottom of a body of water, and assessing the relationships between the environment and the organisms that live there, biogeographers provide useful information to protect and conserve marine resources.

Marine biogeographers often use Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, to aid in their research of marine animals, plants, and habitats. Scientists and GIS specialists develop map-based data that describe the distribution and ecology of living marine resources and their connections to human communities. State and federal planners can apply these tools and information to position aquaculture sites and alternative energy facilities, and to protect fisheries and coral spawning areas. Information from biogeographers allows planners to consider possible scenarios, such as new development, that may, or may not, impact the environment.

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Online Tool Serves Up Ocean Science Studies

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Updates to BOEM's Environmental Studies Program Information System (ESPIS) tool, hosted by NOAA Digital Coast, now enable users to search, filter, map, discover, and download more than 40 years of studies and related data that can provide critical information for ocean plans and decisions.

This interactive tool was devised by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and NOAA to provide faster data searches and more offerings than were possible with previous ESPIS versions.

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Tracing deep ocean currents

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Radioactive isotopes typically take four years to reach the Norwegian coast from Sellafield on the north-eastern coast of England. Researchers are following the radioactive waste to understand how ocean currents are formed and to see where they flow....

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Salt marshes will persist despite rising seas, study predicts

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Traditional assessment methods overestimate salt-marsh vulnerability because they don't fully account for processes that allow for vertical and landward migration as water levels increase, a new analysis suggests....

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Wastewater treatment plants significant source of microplastics in rivers

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Millions of tiny pieces of plastic are escaping wastewater treatment plant filters and winding up in rivers where they could potentially contaminate drinking water supplies and enter the food system, according to new research....

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