Tag Archives: oceans

Asian rivers produce almost all the world’s ocean pollution

A new study has found that 95% of all ocean pollution comes from only 10 rivers worldwide, and of those 8 are in Asia.

Dr Schmidt pooled data from dozens of research articles and calculated the amount in rivers was linked to the ‘mismanagement of plastic waste in their watersheds.’ He said: ‘The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88-95 per cent of the global load into the sea.’

The study follows a recent report that pointed the finger at China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam for spewing out most of the plastic waste that enters the seas. The Yangtze has been estimated in previous research to dump some 727 million pounds of plastic into the sea each year. The Ganges River in India is responsible for even more – about 1.2 billion pounds. A combination of the Xi, Dong and Zhujiang Rivers (233 million lbs per year) in China as well as four Indonesian rivers: the Brantas (85 million lbs annually), Solo (71 million pounds per year), Serayu (37 million lbs per year) and Progo (28 million lbs per year), are all large contributors.

The article also notes this:

More than half of the plastic waste that flows into the oceans comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The only industrialized western country on the list of top 20 plastic polluters is the United States at No. 20.

The U.S. and Europe are not mismanaging their collected waste, so the plastic trash coming from those countries is due to litter, researchers said.

While China is responsible for 2.4 million tons of plastic that makes its way into the ocean, nearly 28 percent of the world total, the United States contributes just 77,000 tons, which is less than one percent, according to the study published in the journal Science.

So, the next time you see a wild-eyed leftwing environmentalist trying to blame western civilization, capitalism, and the U.S. for the world’s pollution, please remember this study. It is the free nations of the world that have nimbly reacted well to the problems of pollution, not communist dictatorships like China or Vietnam.

I should add that the record of democracies here is not perfect by far. The rivers of India are a big contributor to this pollution. That country needs to deal with this problem also.

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New theory suggests Mars’ oceans formed earlier and intermittently

Scientists have proposed a new model for the existence of oceans on Mars’ northern plains that proposes they formed earlier, were shallower, were variable in size, and formed in conjunction with the eruptions that formed the planet’s giant volcanoes.

The proposal by UC Berkeley geophysicists links the existence of oceans early in Mars history to the rise of the solar system’s largest volcanic system, Tharsis, and highlights the key role played by global warming in allowing liquid water to exist on Mars. “Volcanoes may be important in creating the conditions for Mars to be wet,” said Michael Manga, a UC Berkeley professor of earth and planetary science and senior author of a paper appearing in Nature this week and posted online March 19.

…The new model proposes that the oceans formed before or at the same time as Mars’ largest volcanic feature, Tharsis, instead of after Tharsis formed 3.7 billion years ago. Because Tharsis was smaller at that time, it did not distort the planet as much as it did later, in particular the plains that cover most of the northern hemisphere and are the presumed ancient seabed. The absence of crustal deformation from Tharsis means the seas would have been shallower, holding about half the water of earlier estimates. “The assumption was that Tharsis formed quickly and early, rather than gradually, and that the oceans came later,” Manga said. “We’re saying that the oceans predate and accompany the lava outpourings that made Tharsis.”

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Southern ocean absorbs more CO2 than expected

The uncertainty of science: Scientists have found that the ability of the southern ocean surrounding Antarctica to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide varies much more drastically than they had predicted.

In 2011, the ocean took in 4.4 gigatonnes of CO2, according to the study — more than 10% of the CO2 emitted by human activity at the time. That was roughly double what it absorbed a decade earlier. The increase marks a sharp turnaround from simulations published a few years ago, which suggested that the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2 had dropped in the 1980s and 1990s, and predicted that this trend would continue.

“It doesn’t mean that our [climate-change] projections for the future are going to change dramatically,” says Nicolas Gruber, an environmental physicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who co-authored the latest paper. Rather, he says, the study shows that the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon changes more drastically than researchers had anticipated. [emphasis mine]

Typical of much of the climate research community, the scientist above insists that just because their models were wrong is no reason to change them, or the reasoning behind them. We are going to charge ahead, regardless of the facts!

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Oldest message-in-a-bottle found after 108 years

A bottle launched to sea as part of a scientific experiment in the early 20th century has been found by a couple in Germany, 108 years after it was deployed.

When the couple unfurled the note inside, they found a message in English, German and Dutch. It asked the finder to fill in some information on where and when they had found the bottle, before returning it to the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth. It said whoever did so would be rewarded with one shilling.

Communications director of the Marine Biological Association, Guy Baker, told The Daily Telegraph: “It was quite a stir when we opened that envelope, as you can imagine.” Once at the association, staff recognised the bottle was one of 1,020 released into the North Sea between 1904 and 1906 as part of a project to test the strength of currents. Mr Baker told the paper: “It was a time when they were inventing ways to investigate what currents and fish did. Many of the bottles were found by fishermen trawling with deep sea nets. Others washed up on the shore, and some were never recovered. Most of the bottles were found within a relatively short time. We’re talking months rather than decades.”

True to their word, the association sent a shilling to the couple as the promised payment.

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The oceans that Mars lost

The lost oceans of Mars

New data from a six year study of the water in the modern Martian atmosphere have allowed scientists to estimate the amount of water Mars once had.

About four billion years ago, the young planet would have had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 140 metres deep, but it is more likely that the liquid would have pooled to form an ocean occupying almost half of Mars’s northern hemisphere, and in some regions reaching depths greater than 1.6 kilometres. “Our study provides a solid estimate of how much water Mars once had, by determining how much water was lost to space,” said Geronimo Villanueva, a scientist working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, USA, and lead author of the new paper.

The image on the right is an artist’s conception of the oceans that would have existed on Mars, based on modern elevation data.

I must note that this conclusion, the size of the lost Martian ocean, is based on the assumption that the isotope ratios of Martian water started out the same as the Earth’s. While this is a reasonable assumption, it does not have to be true. Nonetheless, these conclusions, using ground-based telescopes, do match up with similar data obtained by Curiosity.

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Plastic bags do not kill birds and fill the oceans

Another environmental claim turns out to be vastly exaggerated: The scientist who claimed that islands of plastic bags were filling the oceans has found that his claim was bogus.

The scientist whose findings environmentalists used to shame us into bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery store now says that his estimate of one million tons of plastic floating in the ocean may have been off by a factor of perhaps 143. His latest estimate ranges from 7,000 to 35,000 tons, and even most of that has biodegraded into granules. …

Also doubtful: The environmentalist claim that 1.5 million marine animals choke to death each year on plastic bags that ran away from home for a life at sea. They’ve revised their estimates downward to 6.6 percent of that, but even the new figure has no empirical support.

But remember, Barack Obama says the science is settled, and that anyone who questions him or expresses any doubt is the equivalent of a Holocaust denier.

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Mars Express has found more evidence that Mars once had oceans.

Mars Express has found more evidence that Mars once had oceans.

Two oceans have been proposed: 4 billion years ago, when warmer conditions prevailed, and also 3 billion years ago when subsurface ice melted following a large impact, creating outflow channels that drained the water into areas of low elevation.

“MARSIS penetrates deep into the ground, revealing the first 60–80 metres of the planet’s subsurface,” says Wlodek Kofman, leader of the radar team at IPAG. “Throughout all of this depth, we see the evidence for sedimentary material and ice.” The sediments revealed by MARSIS are areas of low radar reflectivity. Such sediments are typically low-density granular materials that have been eroded away by water and carried to their final destination.

This later ocean would however have been temporary. Within a million years or less, Dr Mouginot estimates, the water would have either frozen back in place and been preserved underground again, or turned into vapour and lifted gradually into the atmosphere. “I don’t think it could have stayed as an ocean long enough for life to form.”

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Researchers discover a new set of deep-sea volcanic vents in the south Pacific

Researchers have discovered a new set of deep-sea volcanic vents in the south Pacific, suggesting these vents are more common than previously believed. Key quote:

Using an underwater camera system, the researchers saw slender mineral spires about 10 feet tall, with hot water gushing from their peaks, and white mats of bacteria coating their sides. The vents are at a depth of 1,706 feet in a newly discovered seafloor crater close to the South Sandwich Islands, a remote group of islands about 310 miles southeast of South Georgia.

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