Catastrophic failure of South American Ice Age dam changed Pacific Ocean circulation and climate

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The catastrophic release of fresh water from a vast south American lake at the end of the last Ice Age was significant enough to change circulation in the Pacific Ocean according to new research. The study reveals that the lake, which was about one third the size of Wales, drained several times between 13,000 and 8,000 years ago, with devastating consequences....

Decade of rising seas slowed by land soaking up extra water

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New measurements from a NASA satellite have allowed researchers to identify and quantify, for the first time, how climate-driven increases of liquid water storage on land have affected the rate of sea level rise. A new study shows that while ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt, changes in weather and climate over the past decade have caused Earth's continents to soak up and store an extra 3.2 trillion tons of water in soils, lakes and underground aquifers, temporarily slowing the rate of sea level rise by about 20 percent....

Testing detects algal toxins in Alaska marine mammals

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Toxins from harmful algae are present in Alaskan marine food webs in high enough concentrations to be detected in marine mammals such as whales, walruses, sea lions, seals, porpoises and sea otters, according to new research....

Satellites and Tide Stations, Working Together

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See how real-time tide station readings validate sea surface height measurements made from space.

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Plankton carries carbon to safe resting spot, ocean study reveals

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The ocean's power to rein in carbon and protect the environment is vast but not well-understood. But now, an international team of scientists has begun to illuminate how the ocean plucks carbon from the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming, and shuttles it to the bottom of the sea....

Clams help date duration of ancient methane seeps in the Arctic

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A bed of fossilized, methane dependent clams has for the first time been observed in the high Arctic. It tells the story of a thousand year long methane release event....

What is the Forchhammer’s Principle?

This item was filled under Basics, Facts, Ocean Observations, Ocean Science, Technology

In 1865, the Danish geologist and mineralogist Johan Georg Forchhammer, with the help of naval and civilian collaborators, collected numerous samples of seawater from the Northern Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. He wanted to determine why the salinity (or "saltiness") of seawater varies in different areas of the ocean.

Forchhammer put the samples through a detailed series of chemical analyses and found that the proportions of the major salts in seawater stay about the same everywhere. This constant ratio is known as Forchhammer's Principle, or the Principle of Constant Proportions. In addition to this principal, Forchhammer is credited with defining the term salinity to mean the concentration of major salts in seawater.

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How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

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A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The result would be a rise in the global sea level by several meters....

How ice-shelf loss leads to faster sea-level rise: The shield is crumbling

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Over the past 20 years, many ice shelves in Antarctica have shrunk and some have disappeared entirely. This has resulted in a significant acceleration of many Antarctic glaciers, contributing to rising sea levels. Researchers have used a complex model to show for the first time at what point the 'buttressing' role of ice shelves is impaired due to their decline....

Sanctuary Ocean Count

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Every year in January, February, and March, volunteers count whales from the shores of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, and the Big Island for the annual Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count. The Sanctuary Ocean Count, launched in 1996 when 150 volunteers took to the shorelines of Oahu to count Hawaii’s endangered whale population and document the animals’ surface behavior, now draws more than 2,000 volunteers across Oahu, Kauai, and Hawaii.

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