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Coral Reef Bleaching Event Forecast to Worsen; NASA Studies Cause in Pacific

Coral in every major reef region across the world has already experienced bleaching, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts that temperatures in much of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans could reach a point at which significant bleaching of corals is present this summer. NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch suggests that the greatest…

From Miami to Australia—Dredging and industrial activities killing coral reefs

Co-authored by Erica Cirino In the Port of Miami, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recent dredging project has buried as much as 81 percent of the area’s reef in silty sediment with up to 95 percent of the reef area surveyed no longer suitable habitat for corals, leaving its corals vulnerable to death, according…

On World Oceans Day, A View from the Top

A conversation with Bertrand Piccard, the scientist-adventurer currently on the American leg of his global solar flight on the Solar Impulse 2, on the view from 28,000 feet, how we nearly turned our ocean into a dump for nuclear waste and win-win solutions for a healthy planet. We spoke on the eve of World Oceans Day.…

Even in fish science, payers may sway players

Co-authored by John Hocevar Please see also the follow-up to this post, responding to some of the criticism and further explaining Carl’s perspective. The people of Seattle enjoy a closer-than-average relationship with the sea, fishing, and ocean science. Of course Seattle is home to a world famous fish market; after all, seafood, fish, and fishing are part of…

Climate Change Poses Threat to World Heritage Sites

Yellowstone National Park, Venice, Jordan’s Wadi Rum, and Easter Island’s Rapa Nui National Park are some of the 31 natural and cultural World Heritage sites in 29 countries that are threatened by climate change according to a new report released by UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Program and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Melting glaciers,…

Industrialization of the oceans: Is it time to dive into the “blue economy”?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino When I was a kid, I spent most of my summer days exploring my local Long Island beach. I’d watch birds, build sand castles and—ever the entrepreneur—would dig up quahog clams to sell, for a quarter each, to my neighbors who lay sunbathing on their beach blankets on the shore. Little…

Clean Power Plan Court Hearing Delayed to September

Just weeks before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was scheduled to hear challenges to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, a rule intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants, the court announced it will push the hearing back four monthsand…

Study Links Vanishing of Solomon Islands to Anthropogenic Climate Change

A study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters finds that five of the uninhabitated Solomon Islands have submerged underwater and six more have experienced dramatic shoreline reductions due to man-made climate change. The study by a team of Australian researchers offers scientific evidence confirming anecdotal accounts of climate change impacts on Pacific islands. That evidence…

Studies Make Predictions about Climate Change Impacts

Limiting global average temperature increase to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit that increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius—as agreed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris last year—will do little to stop portions of the world from becoming uninhabitable. That’s according to a new study…

Study: Half a Degree Matters

Last week more than 150 nations signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Now, the first comprehensive analysis of the impacts of that half centigrade difference…

A Pacific salmon hub is under threat

The Skeena River snakes out of fir-lined fjords on the misty northern coast of British Columbia, and washes over a thousand-acre sandbar. Flora Bank is a biological bottleneck over which millions of finger-length young salmon enter the sea each spring. Scientist Allen Gottesfeld calls Flora Bank the “Grand Central Station” for the watershed. All streams…

Nations to Sign Paris Climate Agreement Friday

Four months after it was finalized by delegates to the Paris Climate Change Conference, the Paris Agreement will be signed by more than 100 nations on Friday. While the agreement is facially insufficient to meet its overall emissions objectives, the signing of the Paris agreement nevertheless is significant. It brings into effect the approach and…

Climate-Change-Related Precipitation Extremes Hard to Predict

Scientists have warned that severe drought and precipitation are among the risks of greenhouse-gas-induced climate change, but a study published in the journal Nature finds that extremely warm temperatures do not always translate into record wet and dry extremes. Highlighting the complexities in predicting the effects of planetary warming on precipitation, lead author Fredrik Ljungqvist…

Record Low Arctic Sea Ice Extent Points to Irreversible Changes

Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said on Monday that Arctic sea ice cover of 5.607 million square miles on March 24 represented the lowest winter maximum since records began in 1979. That’s 5,000 square miles less than last year’s record low. Contributing to the ice extent loss were record high…

February’s Record Heat Astounds Scientists

Data released last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the string of monthly global heat records extended through February, when the average worldwide temperature was 2.18 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. The tenth straight record breaking month, February was the most above-normal month since meteorologists began tracking temperatures in…