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Hazards

This category contains 19 posts

BAD BOYZ 2.0. Emerging environmental contaminants

Our generation is facing environmental challenges not only from commonly-known contaminants, but also emerging ones, which have been lurking in the shadows until recently. Check this week’s post to know more about these (sometimes surprising) pollutants, and their effects!

Time to update the history books: the future of radionuclides in the ocean

Scientists measured three radionuclides (137-cesium, tritium, and radiocarbon) to understand how Fukushima derived radionuclides are distributed in the North Pacific Ocean.

Manmade Pollutants Plague Deep-sea Organsims

Scientists have found an alarming accumulation of certain persistent organic pollutants in an environment previously thought pristine and untouched by humans: the deep sea.

Let’s Ghost Fishing for Halloween!

Ghost fishing is ghastly because it creates underwater graveyards for wildlife. The authors covered here wrote a new review of gear entanglement among mammals, reptiles, and sharks. Find out what they discovered by reading today’s post!

To I.D. Debris: LIDAR as a tool to identify trash on the beach

Scientists may have a new option for figuring out how much debris litters our beaches and what it all is! Find out more in today’s World Oceans Day post on marine debris!

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Beat the Heat: Predicting Eastern U.S. Hot Days using the Pacific Ocean

Get ready for summer! Scientists have found a new way to predict the extremely hot days that occur throughout summer, using rainfall over land and the temperature of the Pacific Ocean. Read on to learn more!

Storm Troopers! Robots collect ocean data during hurricanes

Hurricane prediction models are constantly improving as we create more innovative ways to study the growth and development of storms. In 2011, a team from Rutgers University sent an autonomous underwater vehicle into the projected path of Hurricane Irene to measure ocean conditions before, during, and after it passed.

Hail and Tornadoes? Blame ENSO

El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can change winter weather on the western coasts of South and North America. Its arm of influence extends to the interior of the US as well, and can affect the frequency of severe weather events such as hailstorms and tornadoes throughout winter and spring.

Out of sight, out of mind: The effect of gas & oil spills on deep-sea communities

When undersea wells blowout, toxic concentrations of hydrocarbons can be rapidly released into the environment. The media presents these blowouts with dramatic images of flora and fauna covered in black tar along coastlines and on the sea surface. What are rarely shown in glossy photographs, however, are the consequences to the unseen deep-sea.

Double Whammy: A Second Source of the 2011 Tohoku Tsunami

A powerful offshore earthquake was quickly identified as the source of the catastrophic 2011 Tohoku tsunami, which devastated portions of coastal Japan. Numerous studies have shown that an earthquake was not the sole contributor to the tsunami and that an unidentified tsunami source remains at large. New research has identified a second suspect.

A volcano, a tropical cyclone, and a computer model walked into a room…

Like with bad jokes, timing is everything. The punch line doesn’t make sense if you don’t know the back story, just like when mixing active volcanoes, tropical cyclones, and new volcanic smog dispersion models.

Are coastal waters receiving drugs? Are the rivers distributing them?

Pollution is not new news. It is common to hear discussion about air pollution and trash pollution, and more recently you may have heard about microbeads from facial cleansers and other products showing up in measurable concentrations in the ocean. Well to get even more micro, scientists measured the concentrations of drugs in Taiwan’s coastal waters and the findings are disturbing.

Cyclones move poleward as tropics expand

Tropical cyclones are escaping the hot tropics and intensifying closer towards the poles. The apparent expansion of the tropics helps us to understand why.

The Hairy Truth: Using Grizzly Bear hair to study mercury levels

A large portion of the North American Grizzly Bear population call Western Canada home. The diet of these bears ranges from berries to mammals, and every year in the fall, coastal bears consume copious amount of Pacific salmon. This study investigates hair samples from Grizzly Bears and how they can be used to reflect dietary changes in mercury consumption.

MAYDAY! MAYDAY! We’ve Run Aground!!…Assessing the early impacts of the Costa Concordia wreck

A week ago, on July 23, 2014, the Costa Concordia was finally towed away from its wreck site near Giglio Island, Tuscany, Italy where it ran aground on a submerged rock over two and a half years ago on January 13, 2012. Disasters like this one have the potential to royally screw up the environment. Immediate response and careful investigations are important for assessing what environmental impacts are attributed to chemicals and toxins released from the wreckage and salvage operations.

Time for an oil change: How filter feeders avoid feeding on oil

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Here, a pair of researchers investigates the incorporation of oil into mussels and barnacles in Louisiana estuaries, finding minimal amounts of oil signals detected in the species in the months following the spill.

Juvenile Pacific albacore party where the activity is hot: Studying the links between Fukushima-derived radionuclide distribution and fish migration

Radioactive particles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor entered the Pacific food chain in less than a month after the March 2011 tsunami. Trans-Pacific migrating fish are transporting these radionuclides across the ocean faster than surface currents. Could these radionuclide tracers help researchers determine the migration patterns of certain fish?

Talk about hay fever: toxic algal blooms may cause one doozy of an allergic reaction

Since the late 1990s, human respiratory symptoms have been associated with seasonal blooms of the dinoflagellate Ostropsis cf. ovata along the Tuscan coastline. While inhalation is the suspected pathway of human exposure, it is unclear whether human illness is an allergic response to breathing in cells of the algae themselves, or if beach goers are being affected by toxins produced by O. cf. ovata. Marine aerosols could hold the key.

Increasing fiber in your diet… microplastic fibers, that is

Microplastics constitute the large majority of plastic pollution in our global oceans. Microplastic fibers are small fibers that might not be visible to the naked eye, but can be found on virtually every coastline. Researchers in Halifax, Nova Scotia looked for these fibers in beach sediments, worm fecal casts, and both natural and farmed mussels – see what they found here!

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