Antarctic offshore polynyas linked to Southern Hemisphere climate anomalies


"Offshore Antarctic polynyas—large openings in the winter sea ice cover—are thought to be maintained by a rapid ventilation of deep-ocean heat through convective mixing. These rare phenomena may alter abyssal properties and circulation, yet their formation mechanisms are not well understood. Here we demonstrate that concurrent upper-ocean preconditioning and meteorological perturbations are responsible for the appearance of polynyas in the Weddell Sea region of the Southern Ocean. [...]"

Source: Nature
Authors: Ethan C. Campbell et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1294-0

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World Oceans Day: Scientists ‘taken aback by scale and speed of ocean changes’

"Armed with better data than ever before, scientists have in recent months sounded the alarm over the rising pace of global warming and the parlous state of Nature. But there is another area of concern, one that covers two thirds of the planet and plays a crucial role in absorbing dangerous greenhouse gases and regulating everything from food chains to weather patterns. Oceans are crucial to life on Earth, yet they frequently only feature in the environment debate when plastic pollution or fish-stock declines are discussed. But experts believe that might be changing. “We have an important opportunity over the next 18 months to do something for oceans,” said Dan Laffoley, from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. [...]"

Source: France24

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Effects of ocean acidification on the respiration and feeding of juvenile red and blue king crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus and P. platypus)


"Ocean acidification is a decrease in pH resulting from dissolution of anthropogenic CO2 in the oceans that has physiological effects on many marine organisms. Juvenile red and blue king crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus and P. platypus) exhibit both increased mortality and decreased growth in acidified waters. In this study, we determined how ocean acidification affects oxygen consumption, feeding rates, and growth in both species. [...]"

Source: ICES Journal of Marine Science
Authors: William Christopher Long et al.
DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsz090

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Variations in ocean deoxygenation across Earth System Models: Isolating the role of parametrized lateral mixing


"Modern Earth System Models (ESMs) disagree on the impacts of anthropogenic global warming on the distribution of oxygen and associated low‐oxygen waters. A sensitivity study using the GFDL CM2Mc model points to the representation of lateral mesoscale eddy transport as a potentially important factor in such disagreement. Because mesoscale eddies are smaller than the spatial scale of ESM ocean grids, their impact must be parameterized using a lateral mixing coefficient AREDI. [...]"

Source: Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Authors: A. Bahl, A. Gnanadesikan and M.‐A. Pradal
DOI: 10.1029/2018GB006121

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Slaking the world’s thirst with seawater dumps toxic brine in oceans

"Growing populations and tightening water supplies have spurred people in many places—including the Middle East, Australia, California and China—to look to the oceans and other salty waters as a source of new drinking water. But desalination plants are energy intensive and create a potentially environment-harming waste called brine (made up of concentrated salt and chemical residues), which is dumped into the ocean, injected underground or spread on land.

Despite the ecological threats, “there was no comprehensive assessment about brine—how much we produce,” says Manzoor Qadir, assistant director of the United Nations University Institute on Water, Environment and Health. So he and his colleagues calculated that figure and found it is 50 percent greater than the desalination industry’s previous rough estimate. In fact, it is enough to cover Florida with 30 centimeters of brine every year. [...]"

Source: Scientific American

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‘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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Spatial congruence between multiple stressors in the Mediterranean Sea may reduce its resilience to climate impacts


"Climate impacts on marine ecosystems may be exacerbated by other, more local stressors interacting synergistically, such as pollution and overexploitation of marine resources. The reduction of these human stressors has been proposed as an achievable way of retaining ecosystems within a “safe operating space” (SOS), where they remain resilient to ongoing climate change. However, the operability of an SOS requires a thorough understanding of the spatial distribution of these climate and human impacts. [...]"

Source: Scientific Reports
Authors: Francisco Ramírez et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-33237-w

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Generality in multispecies responses to ocean acidification revealed through multiple hypothesis testing


"Decades of research have demonstrated that many calcifying species are negatively affected by ocean acidification, a major anthropogenic threat in marine ecosystems. However, even closely related species may exhibit different responses to ocean acidification and less is known about the drivers that shape such variation in different species. Here, we examine the drivers of physiological performance under ocean acidification in a group of five species of turf‐forming coralline algae. [...]"

Source: Global Change Biology
Authors: Allison K. Barner et al.
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14372

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The Ocean is losing its breath: declining oxygen in the world's ocean and coastal waters; summary for policy makers

"Oxygen is critical to the health of the ocean. It structures aquatic ecosystems, impacts the biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nitrogen and other key elements, and is a fundamental requirement for marine life from the intertidal zone to the greatest depths of the ocean." [...]

Authors: Denise Breitburg et al.

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