Archives for February 2015

Impact Of Tsunami On The Columbia River

Columbia River Gorge (Credit:

(Click to enlarge) Columbia River Gorge (Credit: matunos/Flickr)

Engineers at Oregon State University have completed one of the most precise evaluations yet done about the impact of a major tsunami event on the Columbia River, what forces are most important in controlling water flow and what areas might be inundated.

(From ScienceDaily)– They found, in general, that tidal stages are far more important than river flow in determining the impact of a tsunami; that it would have its greatest effect at the highest tides of the year; and that a tsunami would be largely dissipated within about 50 miles of the river’s mouth, near Longview, Wash.

Any water level increases caused by a tsunami would be so slight as to be almost immeasurable around the Portland metropolitan area or Bonneville Dam, the study showed. But water could rise as much as 13 feet just inside the mouth of the Columbia River, and almost 7 feet within a few miles of Astoria.

“There have been previous models of Columbia River run-up as a result of a tsunami, but they had less resolution than this work,” said David Hill, an associate professor of civil engineering in the OSU College of Engineering. “We carefully considered the complex hydrodynamics, subsidence of grounds that a tsunami might cause, and the impacts during different scenarios.”

Read the full article here:

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Doctors should take lead in push to curb climate change: experts

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Doctors should take the lead in supporting political efforts to cut the pace of climate change and encouraging more people to see the problem as a crucial issue for public health, experts say.

Reuters: Environment

Quantifying the likelihood of a continued hiatus in global warming

The probability of a hiatus in global warming is calculated, with a 10-year event having a probability of ∼10%, but a 20-year event less than 1%. The current 15-year event is found to have up to 25% chance of continuing for another 5 years.

Nature Climate Change doi: 10.1038/nclimate2531

Nature Climate Change – AOP – science feeds

China bans carved ivory imports

China has established a one-year ban on imports of carved African elephant ivory. 

Conservationists say the move, effective immediately, sends an important signal, but alone won't be enough to slow elephant poaching. 

“This announcement is an encouraging signal that the Chinese government is ratcheting down the import of African elephant ivory into the country,” said Iris Ho, director of wildlife for Humane Society International, in a statement. “We are hopeful that more meaningful actions are being considered by the leadership and relevant government agencies of China that will further strengthen the country’s efforts on combating the elephant poaching and ivory trafficking crisis.”

ENN: Top Stories

Global Impact Of Debris On Marine Life Studied

This is a sample of the debris recovered from marine life. (Credit: Lloyd Russell)

(Click the enlarge) This is a sample of the debris recovered from marine life. (Credit: Lloyd Russell)

Nearly 700 species of marine animal have been recorded as having encountered human-made debris such as plastic and glass according to the most comprehensive impact study in more than a decade.

(From ScienceDaily)– Researchers at Plymouth University found evidence of 44,000 animals and organisms becoming entangled in, or swallowing debris, from reports recorded from across the globe.

Plastic accounted for nearly 92 per cent of cases, and 17 per cent of all species involved were found to be threatened or near threatened on the IUCN Red List, including the Hawaiian monk seal, the loggerhead turtle and sooty shearwater.

In a paper, The impact of debris on marine life, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, authors Sarah Gall and Professor Richard Thompson present evidence collated from a wide variety of sources on instances of entanglement, ingestion, physical damage to ecosystems, and rafting — where species are transported by debris.

Sarah Gall said: “The impact of debris on marine life is of particular concern, and effects can be wide reaching, with the consequence of ingestion and entanglement considered to be harmful. Reports in the literature began in the 1960s with fatalities being well documented for birds, turtles, fish and marine mammals.”

Read the full article here:

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Why the sun impacts climate more during cooler periods

The activity of the Sun is an important factor in the complex interaction that controls our climate. New research now shows that the impact of the Sun is not constant over time, but has greater significance when the Earth is cooler. There has been much discussion as to whether variations in the strength of the Sun have played a role in triggering climate change in the past, but more and more research results clearly indicate that solar activity – i.e. the amount of radiation coming from the Sun – has an impact on how the climate varies over time.

ENN: Top Stories

Will Looming Spikes Change Minds on Warming?

Humanity may be about to experience unprecedented temperature rise. Will it prompt climate action? Continue reading →
Discovery News

On Nantucket, Surf’s Up, if You’re Part Penguin

A photographer captured slushy waves in Massachusetts, a wintry phenomenon that even some glaciologists could not fully explain.
NYT > Oceans

Program Update: National Ocean Sciences Bowl – February 2015


The results are in from the first round of the 2015 National Ocean Sciences Bowl® (NOSB) regional competitions held on February 7.  Teams from the following high schools won their respective bowls:

  • Bay Scallop Bowl – Mount Sinai High School
  • Blue Crab Bowl – Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School
  • Blue Heron Bowl – North Carolina School of Science and Math
  • Chesapeake Bay Bowl – Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology
  • Great Lakes Bowl – Dexter High School
  • Hurricane Bowl – Long Beach High School
  • Lake Sturgeon Bowl – Marshfield High School
  • Loggerhead Challenge – Chaparral Star Academy
  • Nor’easter Bowl – Contoocook Valley Regional High School
  • Penguin Bowl – Centerville High School
  • Quahog Bowl – Coginchaug Regional High School
  • Southern Stingray Bowl – Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology
  • Spoonbill Bowl – Eastside High School
  • Trout Bowl – Liberty Common High School
  • Tsunami Bowl – Mat-Su Career & Technical High School

The remaining regional competitions will take place this Saturday, February 28. The winning team from each regional bowl will attend the 18th Annual NOSB Finals Competition at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory on April 23-26, 2015 in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Tanzania breaks promise – thousands of Maasai evicted to make way for lion hunt

Last November Tanzania’s President Kikwete tweeted his promise that the evictions of indigenous Maasai people and their villages near Serengeti National Park would stop. But now another round of evictions is under way: thousands of Maasai have been evicted at gunpoint and their homes burnt to ashes. The Maasai say: ‘We need your help!’
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist