In response to the growing need for oceanic data in climate models, an Argentine-built spacecraft carrying instruments from the United States and other nations is set to launch Thursday in California. The craft will use a NASA-built instrument, the Aquarius, to map weekly changes in the levels of brine in the sea, and it is so sensitive it can detect changes down to a dash of salt in a gallon of water.
An unusual signal detected by the ultra-sensitive seismometers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's research facility on a small island in the Panama Canal was recently traced to the phenomena of “seiches”, or standing waves in the lake. Mapping these waves has allowed researchers to better understand signals in the ocean, which could in turn improve tsunami forecasting.
One of the last uncharted regions of Earth, the Aurora Subglacial Basin, has been unlocked with ice-penetrating radar by a team from the U.S. UK, and Australia. The immense ice-buried lowland lies kilometers below sea level and their work has revealed some of the largest fjords on Earth.
The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 were generated on a fault that didn't rupture in the usual fashion, according to a study by researchers at Stanford Univ. and the Univ. of Tokyo. The quake’s motion amplified fault slip near the surface, causing violent seafloor sediment deformations previously seen only in computer simulations.
Some scientists have debated the actual severity of the nuclear power plant incident at Fukushima Dai-ichi, but its impact on the ocean is no question much greater than that of Chernobyl. Now, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are starting to build a global database of baseline levels of marine radionuclides so they can be more accurately tracked in the future.
The Environmental Sample Processor, which won an R&D 100 Award in 2009, looks a lot like a garbage can, but is actually a fully functioning laboratory, thrown overboard, to analyze water samples in the open ocean. Invented by scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, these mobile labs might one day crisscross our oceans, monitoring for problems such as oil spills.
The first comprehensive study of the biological effects of Antarctic icebergs shows that they fertilize the Southern Ocean, enhancing the growth of algae that take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then, through marine food chains, transfer carbon into the deep sea.
A new study led by the J. Craig Venter Institute provides fascinating insights into how marine phytoplankton have evolved to become the dominant primary producers in many ocean regions. The urea cycle, which was originally thought to have originated in animals, has now been found to exist in diatoms.
An international team of researchers led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has deciphered the genome of a tropical marine organism known to produce substances potentially useful against human diseases.
The first experiment to study the dynamic microbial life inside the Earth’s crust deep undersea, in situ, attracted television cameras from The History Channel for the filming of “Journey to the Earth’s Core”. It also required new technology, known as the Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kit, which seals the sub-surface borehole for undisturbed observations of the natural hydrogeological state and microbial ecosystem inside Earth’s crust.
Triton Submarines this week announced the impending release of their Triton 36,000 full ocean depth submersible. Featuring passenger cockpit approximately six feet in diameter and made entirely of borosilicate glass developed using a new process from Rayotek Scientific, the sub will offer the possibility of a return to the deepest part of the ocean in more than 50 years.
Over the next two years, billionaire adventurer Richard Branson will plumb the deepest depths of the world’s five oceans with a new 18-foot-long Virgin Oceanic submarine that was unveiled Tuesday in Newport Beach, Calif. He has partnered with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and several other research laboratories to add scientific clout to his plans.
Meeting recently at the 300-year-old Royal Society, Britain’s national science academy, some of the world’s top physicists, geochemists, environmentalists, lawyers, psychologists, and policy experts debated the merits of “geoengineering”. Acting on the premise that we are completely unprepared if the climate changes dramatically, experts discussed the feasibility of various “sunshade” schemes.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, some of the last hurdles in human exploration of the globe were overthrown, notably the scaling of Mt. Everest and the plumbing of the depths of the Marianas Trench. They paved the way for planting a flag on the Moon. But one notable project went underfunded and eventually forgotten.
Stanford researchers have developed a rechargeable battery that uses freshwater and seawater to create electricity. Aided by nanotechnology, the battery employs the difference in salinity between fresh and saltwater to generate a current. A power station might be built wherever a river flows into the ocean.
Perhaps lost in the recent debates related to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan is that natural disasters and not nuclear energy should be the focus, says Oak Ridge National Laboratory's John Sorensen, an emergency preparedness expert.
As the tsunami waves reach coastlines in Hawaii and the U.S., Japan collects itself after being hit with one of the largest magnitude earthquakes in recorded history. The magnitude-8.9 "megathrust" quake is similar to what happened during the 2004 Sumatra quake.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Kauai was the first of the Hawaiian islands hit by the tsunami. Waves about 3 feet high were recorded on Oahu and Kauai, and officials warned that the waves would continue and could become larger.
A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan's eastern coast Friday, killing hundreds of people as it swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control.
A new carbon model developed by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey now allows scientists to estimate sources and losses of organic carbon in surface waters in the United States. Study results indicate that streams act as both sources and sinks for organic carbon.
Scientists now say that fluid flow probably a more significant effect on marine optics than previously realized. In much the same way that particles can be added to fluid to reveal current flow, researchers have studied the way phytoplankton arrange themselves at the ocean’s surface depending on current. These organisms have a substantial effect on filtered light, which in turn affects growth rates.
Almost 600 million years ago, before the rapid evolution of life forms known as the Cambrian explosion, a community of seaweeds and worm-like animals lived in a quiet deep-water niche near what a small village in south China. Preserved in a nearly pristine state, these fossils hold valuable information about the time when oxygen in the oceans was rare and sporadic.
What is it about doomsday scenarios? Every once in a while, it seems, the general public can’t get enough of predictions about impending disaster. And the most recent spate of disaster ruminations seems more pervasive than ever.
Pacific Crest announced the new Advanced Data Link (ADL) generation of radios with the introduction of ADL Foundation, a 0.1 -1.0 Watt programmable transceiver.