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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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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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Nitrogen – ocean plastics pollution’s forgotten neighbour

"Tremendous – and deserved - attention has been paid for the last few years to the scourge of ocean plastics pollution, which we now know reaches the farthest depths of the ocean and can have impacts on ocean life from the smallest plankton to the largest whales.  We know (Jambeck et al., 2015) that some 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year. UN Environment has estimated the socio-economic costs of ocean plastics pollution at about US$13 billion per year.  We are only beginning to explore and understand the potential human health impacts of plastics in the oceanic food chain. [...]"

Source: United Nations Development Programme
Author: Andrew Hudson

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Upper ocean hydrology of the Northern Humboldt Current System at seasonal, interannual and interdecadal scales

Abstract.

"Since the 1960’s, the Instituto del Mar del Perú (IMARPE) collected tens of thousands of in-situ temperature and salinity profiles in the Northern Humboldt Current System (NHCS). In this study, we blend this unique database with the historical in-situ profiles available from the World Ocean Database for the period 1960-2014 and apply a four-dimensional interpolation scheme to construct a seasonal climatology of temperature and salinity of the NHCS [...]"

Source: Progress in Oceanography
Authors: Carmen Grados et al.
DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2018.05.005

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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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Ocean science research is key for a sustainable future

"Human activity has already affected all parts of the ocean, with pollution increasing and fish-stocks plummeting. The UN’s recent announcement of a Decade of Ocean Science provides a glimmer of hope, but scientists will need to work closely with decision-makers and society at large to get the ocean back on track. [...]"

Source: Martin Visbeck
Author: Nature Communications
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03158-3

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As CO2 Goes Up, Ocean Health Goes Down

"June 8th is World Oceans Day, a day to raise awareness of the ocean’s importance to the planet. 93 percent of the excess heat absorbed by the climate system goes into our oceans, creating major consequences. While more extreme storms and rising sea levels are some of the impacts of warmer oceans, rising CO2 levels and the resulting warmer oceans are impacting ocean health itself. The most well­known effects are coral bleaching and ocean acidification, but an emerging issue is the decreasing oxygen levels in the warming waters. [...]"

Source: Climate Central

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