Tag Archives | Oceans

Over Demanding Market Affects Fisheries More than Climate Change

PIC: Sudokuhani (CC)

PIC: Sudokuhani (CC)

Via AlphaGalileo:

Fisheries that rely on short life species, such as shrimp or sardine, have been more affected by climate change, because this phenomenon affects chlorophyll production, which is vital for phytoplankton, the main food for both species.

Disclosed by the research “Socioeconomic Impact of the global change over the fishing resources of the Mexican Pacific” headed by Ernesto A. Chávez Ortiz, from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN).

Work performed at the Interdisciplinary Center of Marine Sciences (CICIMAR) from the IPN, indicates that in the last five years there have been no “spectacular” changes attributable to climate change, what has affected the fishing resources more is the over demanding market.

“Globally, a great part of the fishing resources is being exploited to its maximum capacity, several have overpass its regeneration capacities and are overexploited” Chávez Ortiz points out.

The specialist at CICIMAR details that the research consisted in exploratory weather and fisheries analysis, and confirmed what has been intuitively said for a while: a lot of the variability in the fishing is due to climate change, the problem is that evidence hadn’t been found to prove it.

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On the Slow Kill of the World’s Oceans

Picture: speakupforblue.com

Picture: speakupforblue.com

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:

It is probable that every major ecological pillar however tenuously stabilizing the structure of the oceans is crumbling.  Although some endangered fish populations and coral reef systems are being protected and restored, the seas overall are in deep shit.  Overfishing and pollution are reducing biodiversity by killing-off larges swaths of ocean life.  The destruction of vast marine habitats will have catastrophic repercussions for humanity.  [According to some earth scientists, oceanic ecocide poses a greater threat to the existence of humanity than climate change.  Higher global temperature averages which melt icecaps and glaciers will lead to higher sea levels and the inundation of a plethora of coastal industries, cities, and urban centers that are responsible for contributing to environmental destruction and the mass production of excessive, heat-trapping, carbon-dioxide emissions. As in times of major economic depressions or financial stagnation, the inundation of coastal megalopolises will result in a decrease of industrial activity which may subsequently benefit nature as a whole (until industrial activity is resumed), but would have horrible consequences for humanity, especially for those hundreds of millions of impoverished coastal inhabitants who already live in deprivation, and who would become environmental refugees in the event of a significant increase in sea levels.  (Click here to view an interactive map from National Geographic which depicts how coastlines would change if all glaciers and icecaps on Earth were to melt.)]

Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but human beings have caused a lot of trouble for life in the world’s oceans.  The process in which the destruction of sea life occurs is largely two-fold.  Large-scale destructive events like oil spills (Deepwater Horizon) and nuclear power plant disasters (Fukushima) can cause serious damage to the affected aquatic areas.  Damage from such disasters is often immediately evident, such as the deformed and eyeless fish and shrimp that appeared in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, or the dying sea lions pups and seals with bleeding lesions that have washed up on beaches in California and Alaska the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown.  Yet as grave and harmful as they are, explosive, headline-making disasters are less deleterious to life in the seas than the cumulative, synergistic effects of routine human activities such as oceanic commerce, commercial fishing, and pollution.  For example, a 2002 study by the National Academy of the Sciences found that the 85 percent of the 29 million gallons of marine oil pollution originating from North America derives from runoff from cars and oil-based machines and accessories (like lawnmowers and household robots) – and the sum of these tiny releases of oil, carried into the ocean by streams and storm drains, is equivalent to an Exxon Valdez oil spill every eight months.  [As additional food for thought: there are apparently 90,000 cargo ships in the world.

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The Ocean Is Broken

Pacific-garbage-patch-map 2010 noaamdpAustralia’s Newcastle Herald describes the sorry tale of Ivan Macfadyen’s adventures in the polluted Pacific Ocean. Here’s a particularly depressing excerpt:

“After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.

“We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.

“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.”

In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.

“Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea.

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Climate Change Will Not Spare an Inch of Global Ocean

Coral Reef aerialAnd the Greedy Lying Bastards still say it ain’t happening! Via Live Science:

Every corner of the world’s oceans — from pole to pole and sea surface to seafloor — will undergo chemical changes associated with global climate change by 2100, jeopardizing the livelihoods of billions of people who subsist on marine ecosystems, according to a new study.

Previous studies addressing the effects of climate change on future ocean health have tended to focus on the effects of increased temperature and acidity on marine ecosystems. However, other oceanic conditions — including dissolved oxygen and productivity, or the abundance of tiny plant-like organisms that form the base of the marine food web — also play an important role in overall ocean health. As is the case on land, marine animals need oxygen and plant-life to survive. [Video: Humans Hit the Oceans Hard]

A team of 29 international scientists based at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, have now developed more comprehensive projections of future ocean health, which take into account temperature, acidity, dissolved oxygen and productivity.

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Dumping Iron In The Seas Could Slow Global Warming

Wipeter (CC)

Prepare yourselves for radical unintended consequences if these scientists manage to convince governments to go along with their plan. Alastair Doyle reports for Reuters via the Christian Science Journal:

Dumping iron in the seas can help transfer carbon from the atmosphere and bury it on the ocean floor for centuries, helping to fight climate change, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The report, by an international team of experts, provided a boost for the disputed use of such ocean fertilisation for combating global warming. But it failed to answer questions over possible damage to marine life.

When dumped into the ocean, the iron can spur growth of tiny plants that carry heat-trapping carbon to the ocean floor when they die, the study said.

Scientists dumped seven tonnes of iron sulphate, a vital nutrient for marine plants, into the Southern Ocean in 2004. At least half of the heat-trapping carbon in the resulting bloom of diatoms, a type of algae, sank below 1,000 metres (3,300 ft)…

[continues at Reuters via the Christian Science Journal]

The Freakonomics guys also espouse this idea:

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U.S. Navy Wants To Keep Prying Eyes Away From Ocean Floor

LIDO Listening To The Deep Sea Ocean Environment

LIDO Listening To The Deep Sea Ocean Environment

Satellite photos used to be for military eyes only, but Google Earth changed all that. Now something similar is happening to the ocean depths, with any web user able to listen in and “surf the sea floor” – and the US Navy is not happy. Rhitu Chatterjee and Rob Hugh-Jones report for PRI’s The World via BBC News:

“The cable is going underneath here,” says Benoit Pirenne, standing at the water’s edge on Canada’s Vancouver Island. “It’s going out 500 miles (800km) in a big loop in the ocean, coming back in the same place.”

The Vancouver cable connects a network of scientific instruments on the floor of the north Pacific, some as deep as 1.5 miles (2.5km).

Set up by Pirenne and his colleagues at the University of Victoria, and called Neptune Canada, they continuously monitor the marine environment.

The scientists are harvesting large amounts of information, including water pressure readings that help them better understand the movement of tsunamis through oceans, which they hope will lead to more accurate warning systems.

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Did Life On Earth Start With A Single Ocean-Sized Mega-Creature?

lucaFile this under we-are-all-connected: three billion years ago, life on Earth may have been a global mega-organism called LUCA, from which all living things today are descended. Can we get an artist’s rending of this colossal being?  New Scientist writes:

ONCE upon a time, 3 billion years ago, there lived a single organism called LUCA. It was enormous: a mega-organism like none seen since, it filled the planet’s oceans before splitting into three and giving birth to the ancestors of all living things on Earth today.

This strange picture is emerging from efforts to pin down the last universal common ancestor – not the first life that emerged on Earth but the life form that gave rise to all others.

The latest results suggest LUCA was the result of early life’s fight to survive, attempts at which turned the ocean into a global genetic swap shop for hundreds of millions of years.

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UFO At The Bottom Of The Baltic Sea?

medium_baltic-ufo-and-trackSomething very large and circular slid across the ocean floor off the coast of Sweden. Is it a UFO? If so, our extraplanetary visitors should be commended on selecting the best country for initiating contact. Via Gizomodo:
Swedish sea treasure hunters have found something extraordinary: A 60-foot disc sunk in the bottom of the ocean, with what appears to be 985-foot-long impact tracks leading to it.
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Earth’s Oceans On Brink Of Mass Extinction In One Generation

cousteau-fish-school_1393_600x450Clear the ocean of all of those pesky fish, and then we can put all sorts of cool things down there. Via the Independent:

The speed and rate of degeneration of the oceans is far faster than anyone has predicted; many of the negative impacts identified are greater than the worst predictions; the first steps to globally significant extinction may have already begun.

The world’s oceans are faced with an unprecedented loss of species comparable to the great mass extinctions of prehistory, a major report suggests today.

The seas are degenerating far faster than anyone has predicted, the report says, because of the cumulative impact of a number of severe individual stresses, ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification, to widespread chemical pollution and gross overfishing.

The coming together of these factors is now threatening the marine environment with a catastrophe “unprecedented in human history”, according to the report, from a panel of leading marine scientists.

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Unknown 55-Foot Creature Washes Ashore In China

55 feet long and smells terrible? Must be my mother-in-law. (rimshot) The Sun reports:

A giant 55 foot ‘sea monster’ has been found washed up on a beach in China. The beast from the deep is so badly decayed it cannot be identified. But according to local reports from Guangdong, in the south-east of the country, it weighed at least 4.5 tons.

People have flocked to see the creature — despite the rotting corpse’s foul stench. It was found tangled in ropes and one theory is fisherman caught it but could not land it as it was so big.

chinafish-460x306

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