Archives for April 2016

Member Highlight: Plastics Below The Ocean Surface

Ocean Leadership ~

A plastic bag floats in the sea off the Philippines. Ocean plastic has turned up literally everywhere. It has been found in the deep sea and buried in Arctic ice. (Credit: Keith A. Ellenbogen, AP)

(Click to enlarge) A plastic bag floats in the sea off the Philippines. Ocean plastic has turned up literally everywhere. It has been found in the deep sea and buried in Arctic ice. (Credit: Keith A. Ellenbogen, AP)

Plastics are all around us. They are found in containers and packing materials, children’s toys, medical devices and electronics. Unfortunately, plastics are also found in the ocean.

(From Science Daily)– A 2015 paper published in Science estimates that anywhere from 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic were dumped into the ocean in 2010 alone. One metric ton equals approximately 2,200 pounds, roughly the weight of a Mazda Miata.

As we celebrate Earth Day on Friday, April 22, new research by University of Delaware physical oceanographer Tobias Kukulka provides evidence that the amount of plastic in the marine environment may be greater than previously thought.

Plastic in the ocean becomes brittle over time and breaks into tiny fragments. Slightly buoyant, these microplastics often drift at the surface where they can be mistaken for food by birds, fish or other marine wildlife. Microplastics have turned up in the deep ocean and in Arctic ice, too.

“You have stuff that’s potentially poisonous in the ocean and there is some indication that it’s harmful to the environment, but scientists don’t really understand the scope of this problem yet,” explains Kukulka, an expert on ocean waves and currents, and associate professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment’s School of Marine Science and Policy.

One technique scientists use to try and quantify how much plastic is in the marine environment is to drag a tow net over the surface for a few miles, then count the number of plastic fragments. This number is then used to calculate a concentration considered representative of the amount of plastic in the area.

But Kukulka isn’t so sure this method provides an accurate picture of what’s happening. “My research has shown that ocean turbulence actually mixes plastics and other pollutants down into the water column despite their buoyancy,” Kukulka said. “This means that surface measurements could be wildly off and the concentration of plastic in the marine environment may be significantly higher than we thought.”

Read the full article here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160421171351.htm

The post Member Highlight: Plastics Below The Ocean Surface appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Jon White – From the President’s Office: 4-29-2016

Ocean Leadership ~

Jon White

After amazing competition and sportsmanship, the nineteenth annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl is over.  It was a nail biting, tear-inducing (literally) final match that was tied at the halfway point. California’s Albany High School pulled ahead for the win over Wisconsin’s Marshfield High School for their first ever NOSB Finals win!  Two other big winners for the weekend – Lexington High School (Massachusetts) won the Science Experts Briefing, a mock congressional hearing, and York High School (Maine) took home the James D. Watkins Sportsmanship Award. Congratulations to the winners, to all of our tough competitors, and the Ocean Leadership staff for another amazingly successful NOSB!  I’d also like to send a huge thank you to all of our volunteers, judges, and sponsors – we could not have done this without you.

Back in DC, I switched gears and was part of the “Technology Solutions in an Opening Arctic” congressional briefing hosted by the Marine Technology Society, House Oceans Caucus, and Congressional Arctic Working Group. The continuing loss of overall sea ice in the Arctic is already producing challenges and opportunities.  My presentation, and the theme I carried throughout the panel discussion is that the Arctic nations and other world leaders must use good ocean science and technology (much of which comes from our members) to inform decisions regarding economic and other opportunities in the changing Arctic.  If we do so, I am convinced that we can ensure an Arctic “opening” that remains peaceful and pristine, while the economy becomes more prosperous and productive.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to address the esteemed NOAA Science Advisory Board, which was attended by all of the NOAA senior staff and line office directors.  I used the NOSB results as a springboard to stress that we have a unique opportunity in history.  I believe our nation (and the world) is waking up to the critical importance that ocean, atmospheric, and climate science (among others) play in the future of our planet and its human population.  Thus, we must gather, harmonize, and project the voices of all earth science communities, of all ages and backgrounds, today to develop solutions and inform the critical decisions in front of us. 

-Jon
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Member Highlight

Plastics Below The Ocean Surface

A 2015 paper published in Science estimates that anywhere from 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic were dumped into the ocean in 2010 alone. New research by University of Delaware physical oceanographer Tobias Kukulka provides evidence that the amount of plastic in the marine environment may be greater than previously thought.

The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: 4-29-2016 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Kenya prepares huge ivory burning as it seeks ban on trade

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan park rangers piled up thousands of elephant tusks and rhino horns to burn on Saturday, sending a message to poachers and smugglers that their trade will be stopped.


Reuters: Environment

Brutal, opaque, illegal: the dark side of the Tres Santos ‘mindfulness’ eco-tourism resort

A small fishing community in Mexico’s Baja California is playing involuntary host to a gigantic tourism and real estate development, writes Viviane Mahieux. And while the branding of the Tres Santos resort is all about mindfulness, ecology and sustainability, the reality is one of big money, high level politics, and the unaccountable deployment of state violence against those who dare oppose it.
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

ONW: Week of April 25, 2016 – Number 315 – Available Now!

Ocean Leadership ~

http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=222a27da663bc7a6c129815e5&id=fb3328356f

The post ONW: Week of April 25, 2016 – Number 315 – Available Now! appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

The Curious Case of the Caspian Sea’s Scars

A NASA oceanographer saw what appeared to be a scraped seafloor on satellite images of an archipelago.
Oceans

Emissions standards a factor in Delta’s Bombardier jets deal: Delta executive

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Concern over future U.N. aircraft emissions standards was a factor in a Delta Air Lines Inc deal announced this week to buy 75 new CS100 jets from Bombardier Inc, a Delta executive said on Friday.


Reuters: Environment

Why aren't hybrid car owners showing more loyalty to hybrids?

Hybrid cars have come a long way since the first frumpy Toyota Prius debuted in Japan almost 20 years ago. The same can be said for electric cars since GM rolled out its EV1 in the late 1990s, only to backtrack, repossess and destroy all of them, infuriating its fans in the process. There are now dozens of hybrid models, and they enjoyed a surge in saleswhen gasoline prices spiked in 2007 and again in 2012. But more recently, their sales overall have been on the decline. Meanwhile electric vehicles are becoming more sophisticated, are improving their range and have seen sales on the uptick while the automakers have become more competitive in their advertising.

As expected, hybrid cars’ sluggish sales numbers have much to do with the fact that oil prices have been in a two-year slump while conventional gasoline engines keep getting cleaner and more fuel efficient. When hybrids started becoming more popular a decade ago, it was often assumed that when it came time for a new upgrade, owners would stay loyal and trade in one hybrid car for another.

 

ENN: Top Stories

Widespread Loss Of Ocean Oxygen To Become Noticeable In 2030s

Ocean Leadership ~

Ocean Reef Park at Singer Island Florida (Credit: Kim Seng/Flickr)

(Click to enlarge) Ocean Reef Park at Singer Island Florida (Credit: Kim Seng/Flickr)

A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

(From Science Daily)– Scientists know that a warming climate can be expected to gradually sap oceans of oxygen, leaving fish, crabs, squid, sea stars, and other marine life struggling to breathe. But it’s been difficult to determine whether this anticipated oxygen drain is already having a noticeable impact.

“Loss of oxygen in the ocean is one of the serious side effects of a warming atmosphere, and a major threat to marine life,” said NCAR scientist Matthew Long, lead author of the study. “Since oxygen concentrations in the ocean naturally vary depending on variations in winds and temperature at the surface, it’s been challenging to attribute any deoxygenation to climate change. This new study tells us when we can expect the impact from climate change to overwhelm the natural variability.”

Read the full article here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160427150914.htm

The post Widespread Loss Of Ocean Oxygen To Become Noticeable In 2030s appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Africa leaders, conservationists seek to save elephants, rhinos

MOUNT KENYA, Kenya (Reuters) – The future of Africa’s elephants and rhinos depends on the ability of its nations to battle together against poaching, African leaders and conservationists said on Friday at a summit meeting in Kenya.


Reuters: Environment