Breaking Waves: Ocean News

11/12/2019 - 16:29
Ocean Leadership ~ Veterans Day Meanders Imagine yourself in 40oF seawater in the North Sea, wearing a hard-hat dive suit. With near-zero visibility, you feel around a live sea mine to carefully locate the fuse mechanism that must be delicately removed to deactivate the mine and prevent catastrophic damage to ships and death and injury to passengers transiting the area during World War II. This was the work of Eugene Haderlie (biography), who, after his heroic experiences as a U.S. naval officer in the war, went on to become a renowned professor at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University in Monterey, CA. During the decades of his academic career, Dr. Haderlie conducted groundbreaking research in the Monterey Bay and along the California coast and was a brilliant instructor to hundreds of students. This included several naval officers like myself, who had the opportunity to take his class on biogeochemical oceanography while at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. I spent several surreal Friday mornings in waist-deep tidal pools identifying and examining various species of plants and animals, including brilliantly colored crustaceans, nudibranchs, and cephalopods that inspire wonder with their beauty and distinctiveness. These classes were a far cry and a long way from Dr. Haderlie’s work along the beaches of Normandy neutralizing explosive devices while under enemy fire just before the D-Day invasion, but to students who knew just a smattering of the wartime experiences that led to his love for the ocean and his lifelong pursuits to better understand it, they were made all the more inspirational. On Veterans Day, I reflected a bit on Dr. Haderlie, as well as the many men and women who have been part of the U.S. military’s effort to better understand the ocean for national security reasons but who have also done so with the full knowledge that this increased understanding would benefit our ocean and our planet in untold ways. Whether in uniform, as a civil servant or contractor, or as a research scientist or technologist at an institution supported by military research grants, thousands of individuals have made profound contributions to our ocean knowledge and the future health, sustainability, and prosperity that it will hopefully enable. So from the late Dr. Haderlie to today’s young Sailors who are learning to operate an autonomous vehicle that can explore the bottom of the ocean and find mines (originally designed at a COL member institution supported by a grant from the Office of Naval Research), I say thank you! Thank you for your service to our nation and to our ocean. Bravo Zulu! Member Highlight Ancient Molecules from the Sea Burst Into the Air From Ocean Waves When waves crash in the ocean, they inject tiny particles into the air (called aerosols) that carry organic molecules more than 5,000 years old. This discovery, published in Science Advances by Steven Beaupré of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) and a national team of scientists, helps to solve a long-standing mystery as to what finally happens to these ancient marine molecules. Read our most recent and past newsletters here: The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: 11-11-2019 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
11/12/2019 - 13:25
The industry’s carbon footprint is under increasing scrutiny, but critics argue that offsetting lessens guilt rather than reducing harm Tiny clutch bags, conceptual knitwear and carbon neutrality – the ideas that fashion chooses to embrace each season aren’t always those you might expect. But thanks to a recent shift, no doubt spurred on by the “Greta Thunberg effect”, carbon – as well as the practice of offsetting it – has become a hot topic for many of the biggest names in the fashion industry. At New York fashion week in September, luxury fashion designer Gabriela Hearst staged fashion’s first carbon-neutral catwalk show. Hot on its heels, Gucci announced it would go carbon neutral with chief executive, Marco Bizzarri, stating that “the planet has gone too far”. Next up, luxury fashion conglomerate Kering, owner of big-name brands such as Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta, announced that its entire group would offset 2.4m tonnes of carbon dioxide in a bid to “become carbon-neutral within its own operations and across the entire supply chain.” Continue reading...
11/12/2019 - 12:15
Big floods likely to become more frequent because of climate breakdown Poor management of the rural landscape along with global heating and building on floodplains are the main factors that led to the floods that have engulfed towns in northern England, according to experts. Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster are among the places flooded, 12 years after they were badly hit when the River Don burst its banks in 2007. Many affected areas, including Meadowhall shopping centre, where customers were stranded overnight, lie within the river’s floodplain – low-lying land next to the river that naturally floods during high flow. Continue reading...
11/12/2019 - 11:40
The oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing twice as fast as ice in the rest of the Arctic Ocean, according to new research.
11/12/2019 - 11:12
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Architect of the Capitol) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What Passed With an approaching deadline to finish appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2020, the Senate passed an appropriations package (H.R. 3055) containing their Commerce-Justice-Science (S. 2584); Agriculture (S. 2522); Interior-Environment (S. 2580); and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (S. 2520) bills for FY 2020. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology favorably reported legislation to protect scientific integrity in U.S. federal agencies, which now awaits a floor vote. If enacted, the Scientific Integrity Act (H.R. 1709) would require federal science agencies to adopt and enforce a scientific integrity policy or to formalize and strengthen their existing policies. The bill also includes requirements prohibiting scientific misconduct and barring agencies from impeding the release and communication of scientific or technical findings. What’s New The Ocean, Coastal, and Estuarine Acidification Necessitates (OCEAN) Research Act (S. 2699), which would reauthorize the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FORAM) Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-11), was introduced in the Senate. The bill aims to strengthen research and monitoring of acidification processes in ocean and coastal areas and engages coastal communities and the seafood industry in this effort. Several bills addressing resiliency strategies in the face of climate change were introduced in the House, including measures directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to integrate climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience-building into policy and preparedness plans (H.R. 4823); instructing the Department of Homeland Security to conduct research and address the effects of climate change on national security (H.R. 4737); and calling for establishment of a Global Climate Change Resilience Strategy (H.R. 4732). Additionally, the Climate-Ready Fisheries Act of 2019 (H.R. 4679) would help prepare fishing communities and industry for current and anticipated impacts of climate change by examining current policy, identifying knowledge gaps, and providing recommendations for fisheries management. In introducing legislation, some representatives turned their attention to issues regarding pollution and marine debris. The Partnering and Leveraging Assistance to Stop Trash for International Cleaner Seas (PLASTICS) Act (H.R. 4636) would advance efforts to improve waste management systems and reduce plastic waste by encouraging domestic and international cooperation between federal government and the private sector. The Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II (H.R. 4611) would simplify regulations for discharge of pollutants in San Diego, California, wastewater treatment plants to balance environmental protections with securing the city’s water supply. Also introduced in the House, the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act (H.R. 4887) aims to support the emerging offshore wind industry by extending tax credits for offshore wind facilities. COL also considered the topic of offshore wind last month at our 2019 Industry Forum, “Navigating Development of U.S. Offshore Wind: Sustainability and Co-Existence Through Science,” which examined the importance of collaboration, innovation, and localization, underpinned by science, for a substantial U.S. offshore wind industry. What’s Next Both chambers continue pushing to avoid a government shutdown by November 21, either by passing another long- or short-term continuing resolution to continue FY 2019 funding levels even further into FY 2020 or by passing the full set of spending bills, which will then need to be signed into law by the president. To do this, the House and Senate will need to conference on the four bills passed by both chambers, Commerce-Justice-Science (S.2584, H.R. 3055), Agriculture (S. 2522, H.R. 3164); Interior-Environment (S. 2580, H.R. 3052); and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (S. 2520, H.R. 3163), as well as pass their remaining bills — two for the House and eight for the Senate — so they also can be then be reconciled in conference and sent to the president. House and Senate conferees have not yet agreed on a final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) measure for FY 2020 and will seek to resolve key differences in weeks to come. If this does not happen, the Senate introduced a “stripped-down” NDAA (S. 2731) containing the U.S. military’s must-pass provisions as a back-up plan. Related Coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership As New Fiscal Year Begins, Congress Keeps Moving On Appropriations CJS Appropriations Bill Supports Broad Increases to Science Funding Ocean Acidification Bills Coast To Committee August and September’s Congressional Wrap Up July’s Congressional Wrap Up May And June’s Congressional Wrap Up March and April’s Congressional Wrap Up Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post October’s Congressional Wrap Up appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
11/12/2019 - 11:09
Ocean Leadership ~ (Click to enlarge) The U.S. Coast Guard Healy Class Icebreaker HEALY sits in the ice, about 100 miles north of Barrow, Alaska, in order to allow scientists onboard to take core samples from the floor of the Arctic Ocean on June 18, 2005. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard/DoD) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was The United States Committee on the Maritime Transport System (CMTS) and the Congressional Arctic Caucus held a briefing titled “A Ten-Year Projection of Maritime Activity in the U.S Arctic Region, 2020-2030,” to present their new report of the same name. Why It Matters The Arctic region presents environmental, economic, and national security opportunities as well as challenges for the United States and other polar countries. As the area experiences temperature increases at more than twice the rate of the global average and uses of the region are changing, the CMTS updated their 2015 report on Arctic maritime operations to reexamine vessel activity. The report is key because predicting vessel traffic is integral to waterway safety. Key Points To inform federal partners for civilian operations and get a better sense of this maritime domain, the report sought to accomplish three objectives: determine drivers of activity, summarize past and present vessel activity, and make traffic projections for the coming decade. Research focused on characterizing maritime transportation in the region north of the Bering Strait around the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, but did not seek to make budget or policy recommendations. CMTS identified four main drivers of activity: natural resources, planned infrastructure development, additions to the global Arctic fleet, and seasonal rerouting of vessel traffic. CMTS staff explained that, as demand grows and access to natural resources in the Arctic gets easier, vessels transporting or supporting operations such as oil and gas extraction, mining, and liquefied natural gas extraction will increase in volume. Likewise, infrastructure projects, including community relocation, port development, offshore wind construction, and reconstruction of roads and airports could increase demand for construction materials that must be shipped in. Also, the addition of vessels to the existing Arctic fleet, including Polar Security Cutters and recreational cruise ships, and greater use of the Bering Strait’s Northern Sea Route or Northwest Passage to reroute vessels for decreased transit time would increase traffic. Using automatic identification system (AIS) data and other historical data sets, researchers sought to characterize vessel activity by who, where, and when operations and navigation were occurring. They determined that vessel composition was becoming less regionally focused and more indicative of global maritime transporting systems, with an increased number of international users and a mixture of vessel types, from cargo and tugs to research, tourism, and tankers. The number one country of registration for vessels in the study area was the United States, followed by Russia. Additionally, the navigation season is getting increasingly longer, increasing by 10 days each year between 2016 and 2018. The report also projected what traffic may look like in the region until 2030. All the tested scenarios combining potential sources of growth predicted increased and sustained growth in vessel traffic, largely due to natural resource activities and seasonally rerouted vessels from other transoceanic routes. Despite these findings, the report also suggested the Arctic may experience a period of slower growth of vessel activity in the coming decade. They identified several factors as potentially limiting to growth: lack of infrastructure and investment as well as regulatory and operational uncertainty. CMTS staff explained they found spikes in growth when there was investment in infrastructure and noted that even with current traffic levels, ports are already limiting entrance due to lack of space. Additional analysis is needed based on reliance on AIS data, which do not include small subsistence hunting and other vessels or distinguish clearly between all types of activity. Related Coverage from Consortium for Ocean Leadership Setting Sail on Maritime Security Arctic Discussion Circle The Arctic: A New Maritime Frontier How Ordinary Ship Traffic Could Help Map The Uncharted Arctic Ocean Seafloor Member Highlight: Alien Waters: Neighboring Seas Are Flowing into a Warming Arctic Ocean Unusual Weather Accelerates Arctic Sea Ice Loss Erosion May Transform The Arctic Food Chain Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post Future Gridlock in Arctic Waters? appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
11/12/2019 - 11:02
The acidification of the Pacific Ocean in northern Japan is increasing the natural production rate of N2O, an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas.
11/12/2019 - 09:42
PM chairs Cobra meeting after being criticised for not declaring national emergency Boris Johnson has been accused of displaying an “utterly outrageous” lack of concern about the severe floods that have devastated hundreds of homes and caused more than 1,200 properties to be evacuated in northern England. Under increasing pressure over the issue, the prime minister chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra on Tuesday after he was criticised by Jeremy Corbyn for not declaring a national emergency. Continue reading...
11/12/2019 - 08:12
Pentagon officials view climate breakdown as an existential threat to human society – and are already taking action We have heard from the scientists on climate change, with their meticulous data on ecosystem degradation and species loss. We have heard from the climate deniers, with their desperate attempts to deploy countervailing arguments. Both groups have mobilized substantial blocs of voters in pivotal countries, producing gridlock in global efforts to slow the pace of global warming. It is time, then, to hear from another group of informed and influential professionals: senior military officers. Military leaders have not said much in public about global warming, in part because they’re reluctant to become involved in partisan political issues (as climate has become) and partly because top government officials—in the United States, at least—have actively discouraged such involvement. Nevertheless, senior officers are fully aware of warming’s deleterious effects and have devised a thorough analysis of its strategic implications. As I demonstrate in my new book, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, senior American officers believe that global warming is already threatening the survival of many poor, resource-deprived countries and poses a significant risk to even the wealthiest of nations. Continue reading...
11/12/2019 - 07:13
Thousands of visitors who flock to La Pelosa in Sardinia pose threat to its ecosystem Visitors will soon have to pay to enjoy one of Sardinia’s most beautiful beaches as local authorities try to mitigate the damage done by overcrowding. La Pelosa, a white sandy beach in Stintino, north-west Sardinia, has been described as a slice of heaven, attracting thousands of visitors each summer. However, environmental studies show that excessive numbers of beachgoers threaten the beach’s ecosystem, prompting Antonio Diana, the mayor of Stintino, to introduce entry tickets and set a cap on visitor numbers to 1,500 a day from next summer. Continue reading...