Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Call me crazy


The waves brewing in the "Graveyard of the Pacific," the stretch of coastal region that spans from Oregon to Washington state, are getting larger and more powerful according to scientists.

The culprit behind the relentless waves is thought to be climate change. Scientists are using buoy data and models based on wind patterns to determine whether their predictions are correct. They are reporting that the waves off the coast of the Pacific Northwest as well as the Atlantic seaboard are steadily increasing in size. Similar increases have been documented in the North Atlantic off the coast of England.

This is just another fingerprint that climate change has put on Earth. Kind of scary.

Apparently this has been studied since the mid 1970s, with data showing increases of four inches per year, which would now add up to be 10 feet total. However, some scientists are skeptical about whether there's a link to climate change, citing the fact we don't know enough information about the ocean to make that judgement. One of my personal favorite quotes regarding this is from Richard Seymour, head of the Ocean Engineering and Research Group at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California:

"It has always surprised me that we know more about the surface of Mars than the floor of the Pacific Ocean."

That makes two of us.

I just hope we don't one day have to deal with this:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Underwater forests

Simply beautiful.

Out of tissues

Over the past few months scientists have been studying what they call "slime-snot" (ew) on the seafloor, which they believe to be is where a lot of the oil went following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Vernon Asper, a professor of marine sciences at University of Southern Mississippi, and his colleagues wanted to figure out what this slime-like substance was on the seafloor. So, in turn, they used BP's funds to buy a multicorer, which obtains underwater oil samples.

One of the cylinders. It's probably in your best
interest to never Google Image "slime snot"

In the first cylinder, the scientists found just mud. However, in the second, they found a thin dark layer that tested positive for oil; in between, a substance that is presumably oil, and lastly a two-inch thick layer of this "slime snot," which they believe is basically a mixture of oil and the bacteria feeding on it.

Although they said this will take time to find out exactly how much damage is being done, they presume a fair amount of the ecosystem has been affected by this thick sludge atop the seafloor.

$uck it, BP.

Ulterior motives

One of the cables released a few weeks ago by the wonderful Wikileaks stated that the record breaking marine reserve built by the U.K. in the Indian Ocean was built more or less to prevent former islanders to return to their homeland.

The reason? In the 1960s and 70s the United States displaced around 2,000 inhabitants of Chagos Archipelego to build a military base on an island called Diego Garcia. Since their displacement, the islanders have wanted to come back to fight for their rights in European Court of Human Rights.

The cables ensured the building of the island would guarantee security for both British and Americans.

"We do not regret the removal of the population, since removal was necessary for the BIOT to fulfill its strategic purpose," Official with the British Foreign Office, Colin Roberts said. "Removal of thepopulation is the reason that the BIOT's uninhabited islands and the surrounding waters are in "pristine" condition."

Roberts added that Diego Garcia's excellent condition reflects the responsible stewardship of the U.S. and UK forces using it.

Uh, since when did our country care about pristine waters?


When I was 14 I was not doing anything brave such as this. White water rafting was probably the most extreme thing I ever did at that age. To go sailing solo around the world would have never crossed my mind. This Dutch chick has been lost and found a few times according to Google searches, however I haven't really been able to find any exact information. She arrived in St. Maartin just earlier this week and said that has always been her dream to sail there alone. 

Apparently she was born on a sailing trip her parents were having, and has been quoted as saying she feels as though she's in prison when she's in a house and prefers the sea because it makes her feel free in this article. Pretty cool girl! Dangerous, but cool.

Ancient Balloon-Headed Dolphin discovered

The remains of a 2.5 million year-old dolphin with a spoon-shaped snout and large head was pulled up by a Dutch fisherman in the North Sea in 2008, and scientists now think it is a distant relative of the pilot whale. They believe its large head may be used for echolocation, which is a biological form of sonar that allows dolphins and certain whales to navigate murky waters.

Photo via National Geographic

For more information on the newly discovered mammal, click here for the article in Dutch journal Deinsea.

About Me

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I am a senior at Columbia College as well as an ocean fanatic. Whether it is environmental issues, discoveries of new species or just general news, I have a deep compassion for the sea.