Archive for August, 2012

‘Weird chemistry’ by microbe is prime source of ocean methane

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Up to four percent of the methane on Earth comes from the ocean's oxygen-rich waters, but scientists have been unable to identify the source of this potent greenhouse gas. Now researchers report that they have found the culprit: A bit of "weird chemistry" practiced by the most abundant microbes on the planet....

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New DNA method tracks fish and whales in seawater

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Future monitoring of marine biodiversity and resources may use DNA traces in seawater samples to keep track of fish and whales in the oceans. A half liter of seawater can contain evidence of local fish and whale faunas and combat traditional fishing methods....

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Carbon release from collapsing coastal permafrost in Arctic Siberia

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A new study shows that an ancient and large carbon pool held in a less-studied form of permafrost ("Yedoma") is thaw-released along the approximately 7000-kilometer desolate coast of northernmost Siberian Arctic. ...

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California heatwaves to move toward coastal areas: Researchers reassess heatwaves against the backdrop of rising temperatures

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A new study suggests that the nature of California heatwaves is changing due to global warming. Climate researchers have detected a trend toward more humid heatwaves that are expressed very strongly in elevated nighttime temperatures, a trend consistent with climate change projections. Moreover, relative to local warming, the mid-summer heatwaves are getting stronger in generally cooler coastal areas....

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Hot spots pinpointed as earthquake trigger points: Small droplets of friction-generated melts can lead to ‘megaquakes’

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Scientists have come a step closer to deciphering some of the basic mysteries and mechanisms behind earthquakes and how average-sized earthquakes may evolve into massive earthquakes. Scientists describe new information gleaned from laboratory experiments mimicking earthquake processes. The researchers discovered how fault zones weaken in select locations shortly after a fault reaches an earthquake tipping point....

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Climate change stories from the abyss: Ancient climate mirrored and influenced by geochemical processes deep within ocean

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Scientists have shed new light on the world's history of climate change. The Pacific Ocean has remained the largest of all oceans on the planet for many million years. Scientists have now recovered 6.3 kilometers of sediment cores from water depths between 4.3 and 5.1 km and drilled 6.3 km of sediment cores at eight locations. The cores offered an excellent archive of Earth's history and showed how global climate development during the past 55 million years is mirrored and influenced by geochemical processes deep within the ocean....

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Cooler waters help diminish Isaac’s punch

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Seven years after the powerful Category 3 Hurricane Katrina caused widespread devastation along the Gulf Coast, a Category 1 Hurricane Isaac, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (70 knots), made landfall Aug. 28 in southeast Louisiana. And one of the reasons why Isaac is not Katrina is the path it took across the Gulf of Mexico and the temperature of the ocean below, which helps to fuel hurricanes....

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Underwater Noise Decreases Whale Communications in Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary [What's New]

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According to a NOAA-led paper published in the journal Conservation Biology, high levels of background noise, mainly due to ships, have reduced the ability of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales to communicate with each other by about two-thirds.

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NOAA Provides Weekly Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasts for Lake Erie [Feature]

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The western shores of Lake Erie have long been a longed-for destination of Ohio residents and others from nearby states. For many, summer would not be complete without time spent fishing, boating, or kayaking at Huntington Beach, Headlands State Park, or the ever popular Put-in-Bay. The annual economic value of Lake Erie tourism is estimated at $10 billion, and that’s before considering the large commercial fishery that thrives there, too.

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NASA’s IceBridge seeking new view of changing sea ice

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This year scientists working on NASA's Operation IceBridge, a multi-year airborne science mission to study changing ice conditions at both poles, debuted a new data product with the potential to improve Arctic sea ice forecasts....

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