Following the greatest environmental catastrophe in recent history, the lowest life forms among us have been the biggest heroes. Once again, scientists have found that bacteria ate up the remnants of the the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Within four months of the oil spill, bacterial blooms had removed more than 200,000 metric tons of dissolved methane, returning concentrations to normal background levels.
It’s easy to think of tsunamis as phenomenon that mimic the behavior of ripples on the surface of water; you toss a stone into a pond and the resulting energy from the splash moves out away from the epicenter in a series of even, concentric circles. But this NOAA energy distribution map from the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile over the weekend tells a different story.
Monstrous tsunami waves, like the one that killed over 200,000 people in the Indian Ocean in 2004, create an electric field as they form. This field could possibly be sensed by a network of underwater sensors. Such a network would be extremely valuable but also prohibitively expensive to build. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) propose, however, that the existing large network of undersea communication cables could be used instead. That finding could lead to early warnings that may complement existing tsunami warning systems.
By Christopher MimsPosted 01.19.2010 at 10:43 am 6 Comments
The International Maritime Organization, which oversees the shipping industry, will begin enforcing rules this July that mandate cleaner fuel to cut air pollution and acid rain. Ironically, this eco-motivated change will undo one of our strongest, if accidental, defenses against climate change.
AirDat's sensors, currently installed on the nosecones of 160 commercial airplanes, beam real-time atmospheric data to forecasters
By Devon O'NeilPosted 08.17.2009 at 10:40 am 0 Comments
AirDat's Tamdar sensors, currently installed on the nosecones of 160 commercial airplanes, beam real-time atmospheric data to forecasters.
Courtesy AirDat; Courtesy EMBRAER
Last September, five days before Hurricane Ike pulverized the Texas coast, the National Hurricane Center pegged a point near Corpus Christi as the storm’s most likely landfall. Residents of the low-lying region around Galveston, some 250 miles north, breathed a sigh of relief.
The first vessel devoted to oceanic exploration could uncover hidden resources
By Mark SchropePosted 03.13.2009 at 12:12 pm 4 Comments
Boldly going where no man has gone before doesn’t take a spaceship—just a big boat and powerful sonar equipment. We know the altitude of every mountain and canyon on Mars, but 95 percent of the world’s oceans—including huge swaths of submerged land that the U.S. claims as sovereign territory—remain totally unexplored.
Federal forecasters issue a prediction for the upcoming storm season, but caution that they could be wrong
By Gregory MonePosted 05.23.2008 at 9:41 am 4 Comments
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced yesterday that 2008 could be a busy hurricane season. Between twelve and 16 storms may be big enough to earn names, and six to nine should be intense enough to be qualified as hurricanes. And of those, two to five could be major.
The good news is that the ozone hole over Antarctica is slowly healing, thanks to controls on ozone-depleting substances that were once widely used in products such as refrigerators and aerosol cans. Stratospheric ozone protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause problems such as skin cancer and crop damage.
Materials that repel sharks could save lives . . . of sharks
By Dawn StoverPosted 04.22.2008 at 11:09 pm 2 Comments
A metal that reacts with seawater to produce an electric field may help keep sharks at bay. But the idea isn't to protect humans from shark attacks. Just the opposite: scientists hope the metal will save sharks from senseless deaths in fishing nets.
An estimated 11 million to 13 million sharks die each year as "bycatch," collateral damage in the hunt for other fish. Sharks grow slowly and can take many years to reach reproductive age, so their populations are being severely impacted by fishing.
Lack of international coordination threatens high-tech early-warning systems for tsunamis
By Gregory MonePosted 04.10.2008 at 4:43 pm 0 Comments
While attending a conference in Phuket, Thailand, earlier this year, Eddie Bernard, the developer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)s tsunami-monitoring network, was surprised to find that most residents had returned to the coastal city after the devastating tsunami of 2004, which killed 8,000 people in Thailand. Not only that, but they seemed prepared for the next one. Speaker towers loomed over the beach, ready to blast a warning in case a wave approached. Signs everywhere told people which way to flee.