Breaking Waves: Ocean News

08/06/2020 - 10:00
Researchers say moderate reductions in CO2 emissions could halve their likelihood Extreme droughts are likely to become much more frequent across central Europe, and if global greenhouse gas emissions rise strongly they could happen seven times more often, new research has shown. The area of crops likely to be affected by drought is also set to increase, and under sharply rising CO2 levels would nearly double in central Europe in the second half of this century, to more than 40m hectares (154,440 sq miles) of farmland. Continue reading...
08/06/2020 - 09:34
Any improvements would be eclipsed by damage done to nature, green groups say Radical changes to planning rules in England will damage nature, increase air pollution and leave local people with no say on protecting urban wildlife corridors, environmental charities say. Green organisations reacted angrily to the government’s plans to sweep away current planning restrictions and adopt what one NGO said was a “pervasively permissive” approach to development that would leave the environment unprotected. Continue reading...
08/06/2020 - 08:50
India’s commercial capital grinds to a halt after heaviest August rainfall in 47 years causes widespread flooding The heaviest monsoon downpour in nearly 50 years has brought Mumbai to a standstill, with stranded passengers at railway stations having to be rescued by dinghies from waist-high water. People who live in areas normally unaffected by the annual monsoon flooding looked out from their high-rise flats at new swirling rivers outside caused by the heaviest single day’s rain recorded in August in 47 years. Continue reading...
08/06/2020 - 08:02
Roads near Courmayeur closed to tourists because of threat from falling Planpincieux ice Homes have been evacuated in Courmayeur in Italy’s Aosta valley, after a renewed warning that a huge portion of a Mont Blanc glacier is at risk of collapse. The measures were introduced on Wednesday morning after experts from the Fondazione Montagne Sicura (Safe Mountains Foundation) said 500,000 cubic metres of ice was in danger of sliding off the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses park. Continue reading...
08/05/2020 - 12:30
Exclusive: Queensland Treasury Corporation told Palaszczuk government the under-investment was costing tourism sector up to $3.3bn a year The Queensland Treasury Corporation warned the state government that its ongoing under-investment in national parks and other protected areas was “not sustainable”, harmed conservation efforts and cost the tourism sector potential visitors worth up to $3.3bn each year. Guardian Australia has obtained a leaked report from the QTC – the state’s central financing authority – from 2018, calling for a “bold” government strategy and significantly increased funding for protected areas. Continue reading...
08/05/2020 - 11:40
Marine heatwaves across the world's oceans can displace habitat for sea turtles, whales, and other marine life by 10s to thousands of kilometers. They dramatically shift these animals' preferred temperatures in a fraction of the time that climate change is expected to do the same, new research shows.
08/05/2020 - 10:00
Rats and bats that host pandemic pathogens like Covid-19 increase in damaged ecosystems, analysis shows Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The human destruction of natural ecosystems increases the numbers of rats, bats and other animals that harbour diseases that can lead to pandemics such as Covid-19, a comprehensive analysis has found. The research assessed nearly 7,000 animal communities on six continents and found that the conversion of wild places into farmland or settlements often wipes out larger species. It found that the damage benefits smaller, more adaptable creatures that also carry the most pathogens that can pass to humans. Continue reading...
08/05/2020 - 10:00
The tropical island edges out Madagascar as botanists estimate that 4,000 new species could be discovered in the next 50 years New Guinea is home to more than 13,500 species of plant, two-thirds of which are endemic, according to a new study that suggests it has the greatest plant diversity of any island in the world – 19% more than Madagascar, which previously held the record. Ninety-nine botanists from 56 institutions in 19 countries trawled through samples, the earliest of which were collected by European travellers in the 1700s. Large swathes of the island remain unexplored and some historical collections have yet to be looked at. Researchers estimate that 4,000 more plant species could be found in the next 50 years, with discoveries showing “no sign of levelling off”, according to the paper published in Nature. Continue reading...
08/05/2020 - 09:09
Ocean Leadership ~ I read this article last week about stealthy deep-sea fish that reminded me about the various laws of physics as they relate to black body radiation and electromagnetic energy emission, absorption, and reflection — complex topics that admittedly confounded me during part of my academic career. The article described a recent study having to do with fish that can absorb light from bioluminescent organisms, which makes them virtually invisible in the dark, open, deep-sea environment. This concept is also related to the advent of stealth technology, including shapes and coatings that help evade detection via radar and the visible spectrum. The idea that a deep-sea fish can absorb surrounding light is not only a great example of how these principles of physics can be seen in the natural world but is also a reminder of how much we still have to learn from nature. Even technology that goes into stealth materials, like planes and ships, are already born out of nature, but there’s so much more to discover, particularly when it comes to our ocean. Characterizing and understanding the entire ocean water column, including the biological, geological, physical, and chemical properties, is essential to our efforts to sustain a healthy and prosperous ocean, and is appropriately a principle part of Ocean Exploration as outlined in the exemplary, recent National Strategy for Mapping, Exploring, and Characterizing the U.S. EEZ developed by NOAA and other federal partners. COL is also partnering with NOAA on efforts related to Ocean Exploration toward a true “national” program that avails itself of platforms and capabilities from multiple ocean science and technology sectors in the United States and beyond. The fruits of NOAA’s efforts are already being born in several recent partnerships that NOAA has developed with private ocean exploration and research entities related to this. It is important that this work, which includes efforts by several of our member organizations, continue so that we can learn from what exists in the unexplored parts of our ocean, including the global ocean expanse well beyond the U.S. EEZ. I am pleased that Ocean Exploration remains a priority for congressional funding (to include the $42.7 million for the program in the recent House Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill), but I also recognize the need for a true national exploration program that avails itself of capabilities and resources across our maritime nation and beyond.  We must all continue to advocate for this, even as we are amazed on a continuing basis by new discoveries, such as stealthy deep-sea fish. And maybe we might one day bring together a “fleet” of ships and other platforms whose primary mission is to explore our global ocean to the fullest extent possible, with international coordination and collaboration to do this with utmost efficacy and efficiency. We are a nowhere near a planetary Starfleet, but perhaps a planetary Ocean Exploration Fleet is well within our means in coming years as we seek to boldly know what no one has known before about our ocean. Member Highlight A ‘Regime Shift’ Is Happening In The Arctic Ocean, Stanford Scientists Say Scientists at Stanford University have discovered a surprising shift in the Arctic Ocean. Exploding blooms of phytoplankton, the tiny algae at the base of a food web topped by whales and polar bears, have drastically altered the Arctic’s ability to transform atmospheric carbon into living matter. Over the past decade, the surge has replaced sea ice loss as the biggest driver of changes in uptake of carbon dioxide by phytoplankton. The study centers on net primary production (NPP), a measure of how quickly plants and algae convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into sugars that other creatures can eat. Read our most recent and past newsletters here: http://oceanleadership.org/newsletter-archive/ The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: Cloaking Devices in the Ocean? (08-03-2020) appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
08/05/2020 - 03:00
The former high court judge urges politicians to defend their institution rather than prioritise partisan self-interest Debates about climate change and the Indigenous voice to parliament have been hijacked by sloganeering and the “peddling of false and misleading ideas”, according to the former high court justice Kenneth Hayne, who has urged Australian politicians to defend their institution rather than prioritise partisan self-interest. Giving the annual Sir Zelman Cowen Centre oration on Wednesday, Hayne reflected on the decline of trust in institutions, characterising hyper-partisan debate as a “dialogue of the deaf” in which slogans substitute for facts, and protagonists decline to acknowledge doubt, nuance or alternative points of view. Continue reading...