Tag Archives: oceans

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.