News

‘Stop treating seas as a sewer,’ MPs urge in bid for protection treaty

"A new global agreement to protect the seas should be a priority for the government to stop our seas becoming a “sewer”, according to a cross-party group of MPs.

Plastic pollution is set to treble in the next decade, the environmental audit committee warned, while overfishing is denuding vital marine habitats of fish, and climate change is causing harmful warming of the oceans as well as deoxygenation and acidification. [...]"

Source: The Guardian

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UK must support ‘Paris agreement for the sea’ to protect global oceans, say MPs

"British seas are being treated “like a sewer”, polluted by an endless stream of plastics, untreated waste and farming effluent, MPs have warned. In a damning new report, the Environmental Audit Committee has laid out the dangers facing the nation’s oceans and what needs to be done to address them.

Besides pollution, climate change, overfishing and deep sea mining are all threatening marine ecosystems and the trillions of pounds they deliver to the economy, the report states. [...]"

Source: Independent

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How fast are the oceans warming?

Abstract.

"Climate change from human activities mainly results from the energy imbalance in Earth's climate system caused by rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases. About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content (OHC). The ocean record of this imbalance is much less affected by internal variability and is thus better suited for detecting and attributing human influences than more commonly used surface temperature records. Recent observation-based estimates show rapid warming of Earth's oceans over the past few decades (see the figure). [...]"

Source: Science
Authors: Lijing Cheng et al
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav7619

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Deglacial to Holocene Ocean Temperatures in the Humboldt Current System as Indicated by Alkenone Paleothermometry

Abstract.

"The response of the Humboldt Current System to future global warming is uncertain. Here we reconstruct alkenone‐derived near‐surface temperatures from multiple cores along the Peruvian coast to infer the driving mechanisms of upwelling changes for the last 20 kyr. Our records show a deglacial warming consistent with Antarctic ice‐core temperatures and a Mid‐Holocene cooling, which, in combination with other paleoceanographic records, suggest a strengthening of upwelling conditions. [...]"

Source: Geophysical Research Letters
Authors: Renato Salvatteci et al.
DOI: 10.1029/2018GL080634

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Oxygen variability controls denitrification in the Bay of Bengal oxygen minimum zone

Abstract.

"Nitrate limits productivity in much of the ocean. Nitrate residence time is a few thousand years and changes in nitrate loss could influence ocean productivity. A major sinks for nitrate is denitrification and anaerobic ammonia oxidation in the oxygen minimum zones (OMZs). The Bay of Bengal OMZ is anomalous because large amounts of nitrate loss do not occur there, while nitrate is removed in the nearby OMZ of the Arabian Sea. Observations of nitrate and oxygen made over 5 years by 20 profiling floats equipped with chemical sensors in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are used to understand why nitrate is removed rapidly in the Arabian Sea, but not in the Bay of Bengal. [...]"

Source: Geophysical Research Letters
Authors: Kenneth S. Johnson, Stephen C. Riser and M. Ravichandran
DOI: 10.1029/2018GL079881

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Effects of Coastal Upwelling and Downwelling on Hydrographic Variability and Dissolved Oxygen in Mobile Bay

Abstract.

"Upwellling and downwelling events are important coastal processes that strongly influence shelf ecosystem dynamics. Though changes on the shelf have been well studied, the impact of these events on estuarine systems has received less focus. In summer 2016 a downwelling and upwelling event were observed near the mouth of Mobile Bay. The impact of these events were examined throughout the bay with high spatial resolution observations. Five boat surveys were conducted to capture the spatial response of offshore forcing and its changes in the estuary. In addition to the surveys, 16 CTDs were deployed and measured temporal changes. [...]"

Source: JGR Oceans
Authors: Jeffrey Coogan, Brian Dzwonkowski and John Lehrter
DOI: 10.1029/2018JC014592

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Southern Hemisphere sea-surface temperatures during the Cenomanian–Turonian: Implications for the termination of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2

Abstract.

"Mesozoic oceanic anoxic events (OAEs) were major perturbations of the Earth system, associated with high CO2 concentrations in the oceans and atmosphere, high temperatures, and widespread organic-carbon burial. Models for explaining OAEs and other similar phenomena in Earth history make specific predictions about the role and pattern of temperature change, which can be tested through comparison with the geological record. Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE 2) occurred ~94 m.y. ago and is commonly considered as the type example of an OAE. [...]"

Source: Geology 
Authors: Stuart A. Robinson et al.
DOI: 10.1130/G45842.1

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Evolving paradigms in biological carbon cycling in the ocean

Abstract.

"Carbon is a keystone element in global biogeochemical cycles. It plays a fundamental role in biotic and abiotic processes in the ocean, which intertwine to mediate the chemistry and redox status of carbon in the ocean and the atmosphere. The interactions between abiotic and biogenic carbon (e.g. CO2, CaCO3, organic matter) in the ocean are complex, and there is a half-century-old enigma about the existence of a huge reservoir of recalcitrant dissolved organic carbon (RDOC) that equates to the magnitude of the pool of atmospheric CO2. The concepts of the biological carbon pump (BCP) and the microbial loop (ML) shaped our understanding of the marine carbon cycle.  [...]"

Source: National Science Review
Authors: Chuanlun Zhang et al.
DOI: 10.1093/nsr/nwy074

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Hypoxic volume is more responsive than hypoxic area to nutrient load reductions in the northern Gulf of Mexico – and it matters to fish and fisheries

Abstract.

"While impacts of low oxygen on marine organisms have been reviewed from physiological and ecological perspectives, relating broad population- and ecosystem-level effects to the areal extent of hypoxia (dissolved oxygen concentration below 64 µM, or 2 mg/l) has proven difficult. We suggest that hypoxic volume is a more appropriate metric compared to hypoxic area because volume better integrates the effects of hypoxia on ecological processes relevant to many marine taxa. [...]"

Source: IOP Science
Authors: Donald Scavia et al.
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aaf938

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Short exposure to oxygen and sulfide alter nitrification, denitrification, and DNRA activity in seasonally hypoxic estuarine sediments

Abstract.

"Increased organic loading to sediments from eutrophication often results in hypoxia, reduced nitrification and increased production of hydrogen sulfide, altering the balance between nitrogen removal and retention. We examined the effect of short-term exposure to various oxygen and sulfide concentrations on sediment nitrification, denitrification and DNRA from a chronically hypoxic basin in Roskilde Fjord, Denmark. Surprisingly, nitrification rates were highest in the hypoxic and anoxic treatments (about 5 μmol cm−3 d−1) and the high sulfide treatment was not significantly different than the oxic treatment.  [...]"

Source: FEMS Microbiology Letters
Authors: Jane M. Caffrey, Stefano Bonaglia, Daniel J. Conley
DOI: 10.1093/femsle/fny288

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