(Credit: Karen Koltes) Forty percent of the world's 7.6 billion people live in coastal cities and towns. A team including Smithsonian marine biologists just released 25 years of data about the health of Caribbean coasts from the Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Program (CARICOMP). (From Science Daily) -- The study provides new insights into [...]
Under-ice seafloor community in O'brien Bay showing a diverse community of marine invertebrates. (Credit: Jonny Stark/Australian Antarctic Division) In a world-first, a research team of Australian and international scientists has used data collected by satellites and an ocean model to explain and predict biodiversity on the Antarctic seafloor. (From EurekAlert.org) -- The researchers [...]
(Credit: Projeto TAMAR) A University of Central Florida biologist whose groundbreaking work tracking the movements of sea turtle yearlings in the North Atlantic Ocean attracted international attention has completed a similar study in the South Atlantic with surprising results. (From Phys.org) -- South Atlantic sea turtles do not passively ride prevailing currents as historically assumed, [...]
Scientists have identified a way in which the effects of Antarctic melting can be enhanced. Their new satellite observations of the Dotson Ice Shelf show its losses, far from being even, are actually focused on a long, narrow sector. In places, this has cut an inverted canyon through more than half the thickness of the shelf structure. If the melting continued unabated, it would break Dotson in 40-50 years, not the 200 years currently projected. "That is unlikely to happen because the ice will respond in some way to the imbalance," said Noel Gourmelen, from the University of Edinburgh, UK. "It's possible the area of thinning could widen or the flow of ice could change. Both would affect the rate at which the channel forms. But ...
Algae that tinge snow red are to blame for about a sixth of the snowmelt at an Alaskan ice field. Microbes are pushing glacial snow into the red. An alga species that grows on glaciers gives the snow a crimson hue, which increases the amount of sunlight that the snow soaks up and makes it melt faster, new measurements confirm. On Alaska’s Harding Icefield, these microbes are responsible for about a sixth of the snowmelt in algae-tinged areas, researchers report September 18 in Nature Geoscience. The finding suggests that future climate simulations, unlike current ones, should account for the effects of these algae when making predictions about glacial melt.
A sentinel of Earth’s climate is going dark. After running for a decade beyond its planned life, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) is nearly out of fuel and will soon make its final science run, NASA announced late yesterday. The tandem of satellites—called GRACE-1 and GRACE-2—measure minute shifts in Earth’s gravity to chart flows of mass across the planet, such as the unexpectedly rapid melt of polar ice sheets and the drawdown of underground water reservoirs called aquifers.
NOAA's new weather satellite sent back its first images and the Earth has never looked sharper. 22,300 miles above the Earth sounds like a long way, but from that distance the GOES-16 satellite is able to capture high-resolution images that are allowing us to see our planet in clearer detail than we ever have before. Launched in November 2016, the new satellite is the first of four new satellites that will transmit images at a higher-resolution than previously possible. The resulting pictures are pretty to look at but that's not the point. These images could save lives.
New study finds that 10% to 50% of iceberg melting happens in the fjords, not in the open ocean as assumed by previous research. Icebergs contribute more meltwater to Greenland’s fjords than previously thought, losing up to half of their volume as they move through the narrow inlets, according to new research. Greenland, the world’s largest island, is almost entirely covered by a permanent ice sheet that has been shrinking and melting as global warming increases temperatures. In fjords, narrow inlets where glaciers meet the sea, ice breaks off from glaciers to form dense packs of icebergs.
Controls engineers at UC San Diego have developed practical strategies for building and coordinating scores of sensor-laden balloons within hurricanes. Using onboard GPS and cellphone-grade sensors, each drifting balloon becomes part of a "swarm'' of robotic vehicles, which can periodically report, via satellite uplink, their position, the local temperature, pressure, humidity and wind velocity. This new, comparatively low-cost sensing strategy promises to provide much-needed in situ sampling of environmental conditions for a longer range of time and from many vantage points within developing hurricanes.
It doesn't matter where you get your weather forecast. With the newest weather satellite in orbit, prediction models will probably improve overnight. The GOES-R satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral on Saturday afternoon atop an Atlas V 541 rocket. It's the first of three satellites being built to replace the aging United States weather satellite system.
This summer, with sea ice across the Arctic Ocean shrinking to below-average levels, a NASA airborne survey of polar ice just completed its first flights. Its target: aquamarine pools of melt water on the ice surface that may be accelerating the overall sea ice retreat.
During every day in May, for example, sea ice extent — which measures how much ocean is at least 15% ice-covered — was lower than ever observed since 1979.