News

Global Insurance Industry Steps Up to Turn Ocean Risk Into Resilience

At the Ocean Risk Summit in Bermuda, experts gathered to advance a new model for how insurance and reinsurance companies can leverage their products and balance sheets to restore marine ecosystems and slow climate change impacts.

"When Hurricane Irma smashed into the British Virgin Islands last September at speeds faster than a jumbo jet at takeoff, the devastation was total. The storm caused damage valued at three times more than the Caribbean islands’ entire gross domestic product, while the territory’s economy – including its biggest industry, tourism – shut down for months. [...]"

Source: Oceans Deeply

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Will ocean zones with low oxygen levels expand or shrink?

"Computer simulations show that areas of the ocean that have low levels of dissolved oxygen will expand, but then shrink, in response to global warming — adding to an emerging picture of the finely balanced processes involved.

Global warming has reduced the amount of dissolved oxygen in the ocean by 2% since 1960. A major concern is that the rate of loss of dissolved oxygen has already increased by up to 20% in tropical waters, expanding the volume of regions called oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), where levels of dissolved oxygen are already very low. [...]"

Source: nature.com

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Growing 'dead zone' confirmed by underwater robots in the Gulf of Oman

"New research reveals a growing 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Oman. Little data has been collected in the area for almost 50 years because of piracy and geopolitical tensions. The area devoid of oxygen was confirmed by underwater robots. Reasearchers found an area larger than Scotland with almost no oxygen left. The environmental disaster is worse than expected with dire consequences for fish and marine plants, plus humans who rely on the oceans for food and employment. "

Source: Science Daily

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Nancy Rabalais - The "dead zone" of the Gulf of Mexico

"Ocean expert Nancy Rabalais tracks the ominously named "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico -- where there isn't enough oxygen in the water to support life. The Gulf has the second largest dead zone in the world; on top of killing fish and crustaceans, it's also killing fisheries in these waters. Rabalais tells us about what's causing it -- and how we can reverse its harmful effects and restore one of America's natural treasures."

Watch the full TED Talk here.


Tiny microenvironments in the ocean hold clues to global nitrogen cycle

"Nitrogen is essential to marine life and cycles throughout the ocean in a delicately balanced system. Living organisms--especially marine plants called phytoplankton--require nitrogen in processes such as photosynthesis. In turn, phytoplankton growth takes up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helps regulate global climate. [...]"

Source: EruekAlert

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New Study in Oxygen-Deprived Black Sea Provides Insights on Future Carbon Budget

"Scientists are studying the oxygen-deprived waters of the Black Sea to help answer questions about the deepest parts of the ocean and Earth’s climate.

 

A new study led by researchers at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science found that even in the absence of oxygen, the chemical and biological processes occurring in the Black Sea resemble those in the oxygenated deep ocean. [...]"

Source: University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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NCCOS and NGI Lead Seventh Annual Hypoxia Research Coordination Workshop

"NCCOS is working with the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) and Gulf of Mexico State partners to develop a robust and sustainable Gulf of Mexico-wide monitoring program for hypoxia. At the 7th Annual Hypoxia Research Coordination Workshop, planning continued for a Cooperative Hypoxia Assessment and Monitoring Program.

The Cooperative Hypoxia Assessment and Monitoring Program (CHAMP) is a bottom-up effort comprised of State (LA, AL/MS, TX) and issue-based workgroups. Eight workgroups (Fisheries, Louisiana-Mississippi/Alabama-Texas state monitoring, autonomous vehicles, Hypoxia Task Force, Oil/Gas and Ocean Acidification, and Gulf Restoration) identify and pursue leveraging and support opportunities within their local focus areas, benefiting the entire Gulf region. [...]"

Source: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)
Author: Alan Lewitus

Read the full article here.


Gulf of Mexico dead zone not expected to shrink anytime soon

"Achieving water quality goals for the Gulf of Mexico may take decades, according to findings by researchers at the University of Waterloo.

The results, which appear in Science, suggest that policy goals for reducing the size of the northern Gulf of Mexico's dead zone may be unrealistic, and that major changes in agricultural and river management practices may be necessary to achieve the desired improvements in water quality.

The transport of large quantities of nitrogen from rivers and streams across the North American corn belt has been linked to the development of a large dead zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where massive algal blooms lead to oxygen depletion, making it difficult for marine life to survive.

"Despite the investment of large amounts of money in recent years to improve water quality, the area of last year's dead zone was more than 22,000 km2—about the size of the state of New Jersey," said Kimberly Van Meter, lead author of the paper and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Waterloo. [...]"

Read the full article here.


Decreased oxygen levels could present hidden threat to marine species

"Scientists have shown that creatures which develop in hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions in the marine environment could experience previously unseen hindered development, and become compromised as adults. [...]

The prevalence of hypoxic (low oxygen) areas in coastal waters is predicted to increase in the future, both in terms of their scale and duration. And while the adults of many estuarine invertebrates can cope with short periods of hypoxia, it has previously been unclear whether that ability is present if animals are bred and reared under chronic hypoxia.[...]"

Source: Sciencedaily.com (University of Plymouth)

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Oxygen loss could be a huge issue for oceans

"A major study into an ancient climate change event that affected a significant percentage of Earth’s oceans has brought into sharp focus a lesser-known villain in global warming: oxygen depletion. 

The study, just published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), examined a past period of global warming around 94 million years ago, when oceans became de-oxygenated.

This famous period in Earth’s geological history, known as an Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE), was more severe and on much longer timescales than the current changes. But it has given the scientists studying this period an extreme case-study to help understand how the oceans are effected by high atmospheric CO2 emissions. [...]"

Source: University of Exeter News

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