Midnight In The Desert — oceans

Trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Has More Than Quadrupled

Posted by K R on

Trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Has More Than Quadrupled

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is getting denser. The enormous plastic soup floating in the vast North Pacific spans more than 617,000 square miles (1.6 million square kilometers), and its density is now between four and 16 times greater than previous estimates, scientists have found. Researchers made the discovery by looking at the accumulation of plastic trash in the Pacific between California and Hawaii. They found that the patch has more than 87,000 tons (79,000 metric tons) of plastic in it. That equates to 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, or roughly 250 pieces for every person on the planet, the...

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Parts of San Francisco are sinking faster than the sea is rising

Posted by K R on

Parts of San Francisco are sinking faster than the sea is rising

Rising seas aren’t the only problem facing low-lying coastal areas. Many of these areas are also sinking, vastly increasing the risk of flooding. In the San Francisco Bay area, sea level rise alone could inundate an area of between 50 and 410 square kilometres by 2100, depending both on how much action is taken to limit further global warming and how fast the polar ice sheets melt. But when land subsidence is also taken into account, the area vulnerable to flooding during high tides and storm surges rises to between 130 and 430 square kilometres. That’s the conclusion of Manoochehr...

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We've Finally Recorded the Hum at the Bottom of the Sea

Posted by K R on

We've Finally Recorded the Hum at the Bottom of the Sea

A parked truck with the engine running. That's the sound some people have compared to the mysterious, non-stop noise which is emanating from our home planet. We've been aware of this phenomenon for decades now, and while the source of the commotion remains unknown, the scientists who study it have just made an important breakthrough. Here's a quick history lesson. In the 19th century, geologists began to suspect that the earth might be producing a constant hum, one which rings out even in the absence of earthquakes and seismic events. They also reasoned that the noise must be too quiet...

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Scientists observe bizarre 'double whirlpools' in the ocean for the first time

Posted by K R on

Scientists observe bizarre 'double whirlpools' in the ocean for the first time

Nobody has ever seen this before. For the first time, scientists have recorded a bizarre phenomenon in fluid dynamics, which up until now had only ever been theoretically predicted, but never observed in the wild. In the ocean, vast whirlpools called eddies span up to hundreds of kilometres across and are a relatively common event. But now researchers have observed these giant vortices swirling in tandem: two connected whirlpools spiralling in opposite directions. "Ocean eddies almost always head to the west, but by pairing up they can move to the east and travel ten times as fast as a normal...

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Ocean plastic a 'planetary crisis'

Posted by K R on

Ocean plastic a 'planetary crisis'

Life in the seas risks irreparable damage from a rising tide of plastic waste, the UN oceans chief has warned. Lisa Svensson said governments, firms and individual people must act far more quickly to halt plastic pollution. "This is a planetary crisis," she said. "In a few short decades since we discovered the convenience of plastics, we are ruining the ecosystem of the ocean." She was speaking to BBC News ahead of a UN environment summit in Nairobi. Delegates at the meeting want tougher action against plastic litter. Ms Svensson had just been saddened by a Kenyan turtle hospital which...

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