Posted on January 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New study projects staggering coral losses as oceans warm
A school of surgeonfish cruise coral reefs in the Pacific. Photo courtesy NOAA.
*More Summit Voice reporting on coral reefs
FRISCO —Even under a moderate climate change scenario, with just 1 to 2 degrees Celsius warming, the Great Barrier Reef may be doomed to become just a shadow of itself within a few decades, researcher said this week, warning of the cumulative impacts of warmer water, acidification, pollution and over-fishing.
In the short term, the combined effects of those impacts enable seaweed to over-run corals, in effect suffocating them. In the longer term, interactions among reef organisms would lead to dominance by other groups, including sponges and soft corals known as gorgonians. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: climate change, global warming, Great Barrier Reef, ocean acidification | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Public comment sought on proposed standards
Dispersant being applied to the Gulf of Mexico.
FRISCO — When BP’s failed Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spewed millions of gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico nearly five years ago, the emergency response included the massive use of oil dispersants, chemicals meant to break up potential oil slicks before they reached the shoreline. Continue reading
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, coral reefs, energy, Environment | Tagged: Deepwater Horizon, dispersants, Environment, EPA, Gulf of Mexico, oil spills | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 4, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Hawaii bleaching the worst on record
Coral reefs experienced major heat stress in 2014. Map courtesy NOAA Climate.gov – Dan Pisut.
FRISCO — Even without a surge of El Niño ocean heat, there was widespread coral bleaching across parts of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean this past summer.
Reefs in the Florida Keys saw their worst bleaching episode since 1997-1999, when a major El Niño was followed by strong La Niña conditions, NOAA scientists reported recently. The surprising intensity of bleaching across multiple ocean basins in 2014 has scientists wondering what to expect in 2015, when El Niño is forecasted to finally develop. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Coral bleaching, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 12, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Some corals are less sensitive to ocean acidification than others, according to a new study. Photo via NOAA.
Study say soft Gorgonian coral species can still calcify under elevated CO2 levels
FRISCO — Not all corals are equal when it comes to withstanding the ravages of global warming.
Some Caribbean soft corals, known as gorgonians, may be able to calcify and grow under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations. Those corals may be more resilient to the ocean acidification levels projected by the end of the 21st century than previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Coral Reef. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: climate change, coral reefs, global warming, ocean acidification, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Pacific Ocean is cooking, even without El Niño
NOAA Sea Surface Temperature anomaly (with respect to period 1854-2013) averaged over global oceans (red) and over North Pacific (0-60oN, 110oE-100oW) (cyan). September 2014 temperatures broke the record for both global and North Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures. b) Sea Surface Temperature anomaly of September 2014 from NOAA’s ERSST dataset.
Credit: Axel Timmermann.
FRISCO — Global ocean temperatures have soared to the highest level in recorded history this year, and the rate of warming has accelerated since April, according to scientists with the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded since their systematic measuring started,” said Axel Timmermann, a climate scientist at the university’s International Pacific Research Center. “Temperatures even exceed those of the record-breaking 1998 El Niño year,” Timmermann said, adding that the new data analysis shows that the global warming pause, if there was one, is over.
“The 2014 global ocean warming is mostly due to the North Pacific, which has warmed far beyond any recorded value,” he said, adding that the temperature trend in the Pacific has shifted hurricane tracks, weakened trade winds, and bleached corals around the Hawaiian Islands. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, global warming, climate and weather, coral reefs | Tagged: global warming, El Nino, climate change, record ocean temperatures | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
During the northern hemisphere winter, the Bering Sea, dividing Alaska and Siberia, becomes the most acidic region on earth (in purple) as shown in this February 2005 acidity map in pH scale. Temperate oceans are less acidic. The equatorial Pacific is left blank due to its high variability around El Niño and La Niña events. Map courtesy Taro Takahashi.
New benchmark data will help track future changes
FRISCO — The world’s oceans are acidifying at a rate of about 5 percent each decade, a trend that could cost the global economy $3 trillion a year in lost revenue from fishing, tourism and other intangible lost ecosystem services.
At that pace, warm-water corals by the end of the century could be living in waters 25 percent more acidic than they are today, raising questions about the long-term survival of coral reef ecosystems.
To paint a more detailed picture of potential impacts, scientists have created an ocean acidification map, showing how how acidity levels vary across the world’s oceans. The data should help provide a benchmark for the future, as enormous amounts CO2 from fossil fuels ends up in the sea. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: climate change, CO2, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Well-protected elk browse in Rocky Mountain National Park.
New paper outlines need for renewed conservation emphasis
FRISCO — Shifting just a small fraction of the world’s military spending to conservation could help ensure protection and sustainable management for important wildlife habitat, experts say in a new report released ahead of the upcoming IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney.
The paper, published in Nature, was compiled by experts with Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Queensland, and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. The authors concluded that allocating US $45 – $76 billion — just 2.5 percent of global annual military spending — would go a long way toward meeting the need for better management of protected areas. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, biodiversity, endangered species, coral reefs, wildlife | Tagged: Environment, wildlife, IUCN, Protected Areas, conservation spending, global military spending | 2 Comments »