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Climate Change

This category contains 188 posts
Figure 1 from Volkov et al. 2017. Map of path along which deep-ocean temperature measurements were taken in 2005 and 2014 (labeled on map as P16).

Is the Deep Ocean Warming Too?

It’s been shown that the surface of the South Pacific Ocean has been warming by absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere, but is this heat making it down to the deep ocean? Deep-ocean warming can lead to more rapid global warming in the future, but detecting it is tricky. Despite the challenges, a team of researchers shows that the Deep South Pacific has indeed been warming.

Fig. 4: Ringed seal pup. Author: Shawn Dahle, NOAA, Polar Ecosystems Program research cruise. Source: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pusa_hispida_pup.jpg

Throwing Babies out with the Sea Ice: Ringed Seals Response to Ice Decline

As the Earth warms, sea ice declines. What happens to those animals who rely on the ice? Today’s oceanbites looks at one animal, the ringed seal, and how it may be affected by climate change!

Conservationists are scrambling to save the species of the world, but where should they start

‘The conservationist is ready to see you’: triaging marine ecosystems in times of climate change

Climate change affects ecosystems worldwide, but how do conservationists decide which of planet earth’s ecosystems are most in need?

earth heart

Looking into the crystal ball of statistics, or how number crunching debunks the natural variability argument skeptics love

Have that one relative who always argues that current climate change symptoms are part of natural variability? Check out this article and be prepared with some nifty statistics next time they try to make that claim!

Figure 1: Cows are not the only source of methane! (Source: Jean-Luc Bailleul (own work), via Wikicommons)

More than cow burps: the many sources of methane

Methane is an important, and often forgotten, greenhouse gas. It comes from a variety of sources including wetlands, rice paddies, and natural gas operations. This article explores methane’s role in our changing climate and investigates some natural and anthropogenic sources.

Zostera marina, marine eelgrass (photo by Ronald C. Philips, Wikimedia) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eelgrass.jpg

Life Finds a Way: Eelgrass Beds Respond in Surprising Ways to Extreme Warming Events

Article: Reynolds LK, DuBois K, Abbott JM, Williams SL, Stachowicz JJ (2016) Response of a Habitat-Forming Marine Plant to a Simulated Warming Event Is Delayed, Genotype Specific, and Varies with Phenology. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0154532. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154532 Climate change is poised to dramatically alter the make-up and functioning of Earths’ ecosystems, including those in the oceans. […]

So cute!

It’s a trap! African penguins impacted by climate change

Young penguins living along the southwestern coast of Africa typically follow cool, nutrient rich water to find food as they grow up. This used to lead them to ‘delicious’ fish such as anchovies and sardines. However, in this ecosystem – the Benguela Upwelling Zone – climate change and overfishing have reduced these fish populations. This forces the young penguins to eat less nutritious fish so fewer of them survive to adulthood. This threatens the African penguin’s future. Conservation efforts are needed to ensure this important (and adorable!) species survives.

Container Ship Departing New York Harbor

MARPOL-ling in the Right Direction

Posted by Steven Koch Research article: Zetterdahl, M., Jana Moldanov, J., Xiangyu Pei, X., Pathak, R. K., Demirdjian, B. (2016). Impact of the 0.1% fuel sulfur content limit in SECA on particle and gaseous emissions from marine vessels. Elseveir, Atmospheric Environment, 145 (2016) 338-345. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2016.09.022 Background Air pollution is an important issue that adversely […]

A Greenland ice core segment, extracted from the ice sheet. Ice cores trap past climate conditions, allowing researchers to study paleoclimates. Credit: wikicommons.

The Bipolar See-Saw: Dansgaard-Oeschger Events and the Antarctic Climate

Within large timescales of glacial and interglacial periods, mini, rapid climate shifts may occur thanks to oceanic circulation processes and balancing global ocean budgets. The events in question originate in the North Atlantic; but, how do they affect the Antarctic?

Locations of the ice stations sampled during the expedition. At each ice station, samples from sea ice, melt pond water, under-ice water and deep-chlorophyll maximum water were collected. Maps show the average amount of ice coverage for August, September and October.

The Meltdown: Protists in the time of disappearing Sea Ice in the Arctic Ocean

Sea ice levels in the Arctic Ocean safeguard thousands of marine biosystems. Protists are little known micro-organisms that play a key role in maintaining a balanced oceanic ecosystem. Read more to see how climate change is affected sea ice-levels, and what that means for our protist comrades.

Figure 1: A venomous cone snail that lives in tropical reef systems. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ocean acidification makes predators dumb

Chemistry is important for a lot of things, but can it change the behavior of animals? Read on to find out how changes in water chemistry alter the behavior of a venomous cone snail!

(source: thekitchn.com)

Clamate Change: How clams may be able to cope with a warming world

Global temperatures are increasing at a rate never before seen in Earth’s history. Although efforts to mitigate this are still very important, it is also important to study and understand what is going to happen to the plants and animals that live here. Evidence of climate change already surrounds us, and the more we know, the better prepared we will be to cope with our new environment. In this study, a group of researchers have studied how two species of clams react to a warmer environment to understand the coping mechanisms they use for survival.

Soft coral dominated reef. Author: Matt Kieffer. Source: Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/15439205306)

Hard Coral or Macroalgae? Coral Reefs May Have Another Option

Most of the time coral reef communities are discussed, it seems the focus is whether they’re dominated by hard coral or algae. It turns out there may be other possible outcomes for reefs in the future. Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

Fig. 1: Massive kelps are good at creating habitat for others but have proven sensitive to changes in climate. Could they be canaries in the coal mine for detecting climate change? (Photo: Riverview Science)

The Kelp in the Coal Mine: can kelps act as an indicator for climate change?

Many scientific studies have shown that kelp species are sensitive and vulnerable to climate change. Some scientists think of them as sentinel species, or early warning indicators of climate change. Recently, a large mass of warm water, affectionately known as “The Blob,” covered the northeast Pacific, resulting in a long-term elevation of ocean temperature. With existing ecological records of kelp forests in California, this provided an opportunity for researchers to test whether these giant kelps are indeed a sentinel species and can warn us about the looming effects of climate change.

The Lilypad Wave Energy Converter (WEC). Credit: Energy Island.

New Year, new innovations: energy and climate science

Research in marine renewable energy and climate systems will grow ever more important in the future. The research for these areas are not just done on the coast, however – I ventured into the mountains to learn more.

Figure 2: Kavachi Eruption: Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2002: Explorer Ridge. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/May_14_Kavachi_eruption.jpg

Sharkcano, a melting pot for biology

No, a Sharkcano is not a volcano that erupts sharks. IT IS WAY COOLER THAN THAT! It is a submarine volcano that hosts a diverse macro community in water that is much warmer and more acidic that the surrounding seawater. Read more to find out about this alien-esc ecosystem in the South Pacific Ocean.

Fig. 4: Microscopic phytoplankton contribute to the ice algae community. Here they can bee seen growing in the spaces between the ice (Photo: Live Science).

Frozen Food: how ice algae support Arctic ecosystems

It may seem like a harsh place to grow, but algae inhabit the under side of Arctic ice. As it turns out, these frozen, sea “veggies” provide an important source of food for Artic ecosystems.

Where is all the methyl mercury coming from?! 
(Creative Commons photo by Patrick Kelley)

A mercurial tug o’ war in Antarctic sea ice

DNA from bacteria living in Antarctic sea ice provides a clue to the mysterious origins of methyl mercury in seawater in the Southern Ocean.

Fig. 7: Kelp forests usually do best when they can go uneaten (Photo: NOAA).

Kelp Deforestation: warming oceans are paving the way for seaweed eaters

As oceans heat up, tropical fish have started migrating to colder, temperate waters. The change in scenery from corals to kelp has plant-eating tropical fish drooling over the abundance of food in their new surroundings. After monitoring kelp habitat in Australia over a ten-year period, researchers found that this increase in tropical fish had some serious consequences for kelp forests.

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The Polar Linkage Express: complicated interactions between the Arctic and mid-latitudes

Climb aboard the Polar Linkage Express to learn about the main challenges facing scientists as they try to decipher just what is going on with winter weather these days! Is it really linked to the state of the Arctic?

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