Tag Archives: scripps institution of oceanography

Hot Meets Cold at New Deep-Sea Ecosystem: “Hydrothermal Seep”

*Habitats overlap at Jaco Scar in depths off Costa Rica*

Decades ago, marine scientists made a startling discovery in the deep sea. They found environments known as hydrothermal vents, where hot water surges from the seafloor and life thrives without sunlight.

Then they found equally unique, sunless habitats in cold areas where methane rises from seeps on the ocean bottom.

Could vents and seeps co-exist in the deep, happily living side-by-side? (more…)

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Link Between Air Pollution and Cyclone Intensity in Arabian Sea

*Disruption of wind shear enables stronger storms*

Pollution is making Arabian Sea cyclones more intense, according to a study in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.

Traditionally, prevailing wind shear patterns prohibit cyclones in the Arabian Sea from becoming major storms.

The Nature paper suggests that weakening winds have enabled the formation of stronger cyclones in recent years–including storms in 2007 and 2010 that were the first recorded storms to enter the Gulf of Oman. (more…)

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US West Coast Erosion Spiked In Winter 2009-10, Previewing Likely Future As Climate Changes

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Knowing that the U.S. west coast was battered during the winter before last by a climatic pattern expected more often in the future, scientists have now pieced together a San Diego-to-Seattle assessment of the damage wrought by that winter’s extreme waves and higher-than-usual water levels. Getting a better understanding of how the 2009-10 conditions tore away and reshaped shorelines will help coastal experts better predict future changes that may be in store for the Pacific coast, the researchers say.

“The stormy conditions of the 2009-10 El Niño winter eroded the beaches to often unprecedented levels at sites throughout California and vulnerable sites in the Pacific Northwest,” said Patrick Barnard, USGS coastal geologist. In California, for example, winter wave energy was 20 percent above average for the years dating back to 1997, resulting in shoreline erosion that exceeded the average by 36 percent, he and his colleagues found. (more…)

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‘Library of Fishes’ to Feature Thousands of Specimens from Remote Locations

*Fish treasure trove opened with funding from the National Science Foundation*

The stories they could tell, these fishes that once swam the ocean deep and are now in jars and bottles.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Richard Rosenblatt, a marine biologist at California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), set out on field expeditions to remote places to study the fishes of the Pacific Ocean. (more…)

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After a Three-Decade Hiatus, Sea-Level Rise May Return to the West Coast

WASHINGTON — The West Coast of North America has caught a break that has left sea level in the eastern North Pacific Ocean steady during the last few decades, but there is evidence that a change in wind patterns may be occurring that could cause coastal sea-level rise to accelerate beginning this decade.

That is the conclusion of a new study that says that conditions dominated by cold surface waters along the West Coast could soon flip to an opposite state.

“There are indications that this is what might be happening right now,” says Peter Bromirski, a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and lead author of a study now in press in the Journal of Geophysical Research–Oceans, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. (more…)

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Whether Glaciers Float May Affect Sea-Level Rise

WASHINGTON — Glaciers that detach from the seafloor and begin floating create larger icebergs than glaciers that stay on the sea floor, researchers have found. Floating glaciers also produce icebergs more erratically.  

These new observations may help researchers better understand and predict iceberg production from glaciers and ice sheets, improving estimates of sea-level rise due to climate change.

(more…)

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