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Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Ocean’

Clues Sought for Sea Star Die-Off

December 18, 2013 Comments off

scientificamerican.com

Dermasterias imbricata: Biologists are searching for the cause of a mysterious and unprecedented die-off of sea stars along the Pacific coast of North America. Image: Ed Bierman/Flickr

 

In their waterproof orange overalls, Hannah Perlkin and Emily Tucker look like commercial fishermen or storm-ready sailors. But they are biologists on their way to tide pools along a remote stretch of northern California coast. There they are searching for the cause of a mysterious and unprecedented die-off of sea stars along North America’s Pacific shores.

The syndrome took marine scientists by surprise this summer, when sick and dying sea stars — also known as starfish — appeared in a host of locations between Alaska and southern California. Predatory species were the first to succumb, but now the mysterious ailment is appearing in species once thought to be resistant to its effects.

The progression is predictable: white lesions appear on an animal and become infected. Within hours or days the sea star becomes limp, and its arms may fall off. Necrosis Read more…

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Super typhoon Haiyan just broke all scientific intensity scales

November 8, 2013 Comments off

gizmodo.com

Writing for Quartz, meteorologist Eric Holthaus says that the super typhoon Haiyan about to hit the Philippines is the worst storm he has ever seen. With sustained winds of 190mph (305km/h) and staggering gusts of 230mph (370km/h), its “intensity has actually ticked slightly above the maximum to 8.1 on an 8.0 scale.” Updated: It broke 235mph. Videos of the impact added.

Holthaus says that Yolanda—its Filipino name—beats “Wilma (2005) in intensity by 5mph—that was the strongest storm ever in the Atlantic,” which makes it a member of the select club of Worst Storms Ever in the Planet. Only three other storms since 1969 have reached this intensity.

That’s certainly foreboding enough, but the humanitarian disaster that may Read more…

Water leaks at Fukushima could contaminate entire Pacific Ocean

August 12, 2013 Comments off
This photo taken on August 6, 2013 shows local government officials and nuclear experts inspecting a construction site to prevent the seepage of contamination water into the sea, at Tokyo Electric Power’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture. (AFP Photo / Jiji Press)

Two and a half years after the Fukashima tragedy Japan does not want to admit how serious it is, but it is obvious the drastic environmental implications are to follow, Harvey Wasserman, journalist and advocate for renewable energy, told RT.

RT: Japanese officials have admitted a leak at Fukushima has been happening for two years and is worse than earlier thought. Why did it take so long to evaluate the actual repercussions of the tragedy and take decisive measures to tackle them?

HW: The Japanese authorities have been covering up the true depth of the disaster because they don’t want to embarrass themselves and the global nuclear industry and they are trying Read more…

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Giant Blob At Earth’s Core Will Cause Most Cataclysmic Kind Of Volcanic Eruption Says Utah Seismologist

February 10, 2013 Comments off

nanopatentsandinnovations.blogspot.com

A University of Utah seismologist analyzed seismic waves that bombarded Earth’s core, and believes he got a look at the earliest roots of Earth’s most cataclysmic kind of volcanic eruption. But don’t worry. He says it won’t happen for perhaps 200 million years.

“What we may be detecting is the start of one of these large eruptive events that – if it ever happens – could cause very massive destruction on Earth,” says seismologist Michael Thorne, the study’s principal author and an assistant professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah.

But disaster is “not imminent,” he adds, “This is the type of mechanism that may generate massive plume eruptions, but on the timescale of 100 million to 200 million years from now. So don’t cancel your cruises.” This map shows Earth’s surface superimposed on a depiction of what a new University of Utah study indicates is happening 1,800 miles deep at the boundary between Earth’s warm, rocky mantle and its liquid outer core. Using seismic waves the probe Earth’s deep interior, seismologist Michael Thorne found evidence that two continent-sized piles of rock are colliding as they move atop the core. The merger process isn’t yet complete, so there is a depression or hole between the merging piles. But in that hole, a Florida-sized blob of partly molten rock – called a “mega ultra low velocity zone” – is forming from the collision of smaller blobs on the edges of the continent-sized piles. Thorne believe this process is the beginning stage of massive volcanic eruptions that won’t occur for another 100 million to 2100 million years.

Photo Credit: Michael S. Thorne, University of Utah

The new study, set for Read more…

Top Japan General Calls for Beefed-Up Defenses

January 12, 2013 Comments off

wsj.com

China Japan IslandsTOKYO—When a Japanese coast guard cutter spotted a small Chinese aircraft flying above disputed East China Sea islands in December, Japan’s air force scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets, but they reached the scene only after the intruder had left. Japan’s radar or surveillance planes had missed the low-flying aircraft entering what the nation considers its airspace, causing a delay in scrambling.

The embarrassing incident underscores the need for Japan to beef up the defense of air, sea and land in its southwest, said Gen. Shigeru Iwasaki, the top uniformed official of Japan’s military, known as the Self-Defense Forces. He said China’s navy and air force have been gradually shifting activities closer to the waters and skies near Japan’s southwestern islands and “establishing a tenacious presence” in what’s becoming an Read more…

Climate change causing increase in extreme weather in South Pacific

September 5, 2012 1 comment

indybay.org

An international study led by CSIRO oceanographer Dr Wenju Cai has identified that global warming is causing shifts in the rain band of the South Pacific Convergence Zone causing an increase in extreme weather across the island nation states of the South Pacific. The result of the movement causes drought and higher prevalence of forest fire in some areas while other islands experience extreme floods and increased frequency of tropical cyclones.

“Due to its strong rainfall gradient, a small displacement in the [South Pacific Convergence Zone] SPCZ’s position causes drastic changes to hydroclimatic conditions and the frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and tropical cyclones experienced by vulnerable island countries in the region.” says the paper.

The South Pacific Convergence Zone is the important rainband that stretches from the equatorial western Pacific southeastward toward French Polynesia.  When the rainband moves northward, extreme climate events are induced. “Here we show that greenhouse warming Read more…

China Lashes Talk of Asian Missile Shield

April 12, 2012 Comments off

gsn

A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official on Wednesday lashed potential U.S. plans to collaborate with partner nations in developing a ballistic missile shield covering Asia, China Daily reported (see GSN, March 27).

U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Madelyn Creedon in March said the Obama administration was discussing cooperative missile defense with Australia, Japan and South Korea, according to earlier reporting. Any antimissile system for the region would be based on the developing U.S. “phased adaptive approach” program to deploy land- and sea-based missile interceptors around Europe, Creedon told lawmakers.

“The Chinese government always insists that (countries) should start by maintaining global strategic stability and promoting strategic mutual trust between major powers to handle the issue of missile defense prudently,” according to Luo Zhaohui, Asian affairs chief for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“Building a missile defense system in the Asia-Pacific region will have negative effects on global and regional strategic stability, and go against the Read more…