Ocean
Seabed 2030: An Ambitious Project To Map the 80% of the Ocean That Is Unexplored

Seabed 2030: An Ambitious Project To Map the 80% of the Ocean That Is Unexplored

With so much focus on space exploration, it is easy to forget that the ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth and 80 percent of that is unknown and uncharted — has not been mapped.  But a project called “Seabed 2030” launched three years ago, is aiming to change all that.

Why This Matters:  It is hard to believe how much we don’t know about our home — it’s as if we live in a house but have never explored the basement.

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Deep Ocean Impact From Climate Change 7x Greater by 2050 Than Today

Deep Ocean Impact From Climate Change 7x Greater by 2050 Than Today

A new study warns that climate change “velocity” in the deep ocean — the rate at which species’ range shifts in order to remain at their preferred temperature — is greater than at the surface even if we mitigate climate change, and particularly at depths below 600  and 3000 feet.

Why This Matters:  The differences in water temperature increases at different depths in the water column could cause major disruptions in food webs as species that rely on each other for survival will have to adapt at different velocities, thus having major impacts on the distribution and abundance of ocean wildlife.

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Microplastic Pollution in the Ocean Is More Prevalent Than Previously Believed

Microplastic Pollution in the Ocean Is More Prevalent Than Previously Believed

We already know that microplastics (bits that are less than 5 mm) are omnipresent in the ocean, but now scientists believe that previous estimates about how much plastic is in the ocean are actually way too low. 

Why This Matters:  Microplastic is more abundant than the tiniest and one of the most abundant life forms in the ocean — zooplankton — if these estimates are correct.

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An Ocean Climate Action Plan For A New Blue Economy

An Ocean Climate Action Plan For A New Blue Economy

By David Helvarg and Jason Scorse As we enter another hurricane season in the midst of a global pandemic, there are growing calls to respond to the climate emergency at the scale we’ve responded to COVID-19. Yet many climate solutions being proposed fail to address the 71 percent of the planet that’s blue. In early […]

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One Found Thing: The Wreck of the USS Nevada

One Found Thing: The Wreck of the USS Nevada

At the height of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, one Navy ship, the USS Nevada, tried to escape but did not make it out.  However, the ship was salvaged, repaired, and returned to service in World War II. It saw action on D-Day in 1944 off Normandy and the ship fought at the battles of Iwo […]

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Louisiana Marshes May Be A Goner Due To Expected Sea Level Rise

Louisiana Marshes May Be A Goner Due To Expected Sea Level Rise

A new study in the Journal of Science Advances concludes that the “drowning” of the roughly 15,000 square kilometers of remaining marshland in the Mississippi River Delta of Louisiana is “past the tipping point” and now “probably inevitable,” according to The Washington Post

Why This Matters:  Louisiana has already lost one-fourth of the land in the Delta at the beginning of the last century.

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A Florida Beach Reopened – People Left It Trashed

A Florida Beach Reopened – People Left It Trashed

The people who flocked to Cocoa Beach in Florida last weekend left behind 13,000 pounds of litter, prompting the police to threaten a crackdown.  Local officials believe that as social distancing and stay in place orders are loosened in parts of the state, there has been an influx of day-trippers who show up and leave […]

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Ocean Conservation Heroes: The Community of Niue

Ocean Conservation Heroes: The Community of Niue

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, big conservation wins are possible. Niue is a small island nation in the Pacific but it just made a huge contribution to global ocean health by finalizing this week the creation of an enormous marine protected area comprising 40% of the country’s vast ocean territory.  The new protected […]

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Alaska Confronts COVID: State May Close Salmon Season Just as Energy Projects Lose Funding

Alaska Confronts COVID: State May Close Salmon Season Just as Energy Projects Lose Funding

Alaska’s Bristol Bay is home to the world’s most valuable wild salmon fisheries (and also an infamous mining project – the Pebble Mine) but salmon towns in the region lost 30% of their population to the 1918 Spanish Flu and locals fear it will happen again due to lack of medical capacity to handle the virus, unless the Governor, Republican Mike Dunleavy, shuts down fishing for this summer.

Why This Matters:  Alaska could be hit hard by a double whammy of no fishing this year and the loss of new oil and gas jobs in the future.

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One Cool Thing: SoCal’s Waves Glow 

The coastal waters of Southern California are being lit up by a stunning display of bioluminescence due to an increase of tiny microorganisms known as dinoflagellates. The dinoflagellates are actually producing a red tide that glows at night. Red tides are unpredictable and not all of them produce bioluminescence but this current display has mesmerized the city […]

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Ten Years Ago, An Explosion and the Worst Environmental Disaster In History Ensued

Late on April 20, 2010, the deepest oil well in history at that time (operating at a vertical depth of 35,050 feet) exploded killing 11 people and it began spewing oil.  An estimated 210 million gallons flowed into the ocean over the course of 87 days.

Why This Matters:  It is a faded memory, but for those who lost everything in the spill, it is hauntingly familiar to the current COVID crisis.

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Ten Years Later, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Still A Threat To Gulf Natural Resources

Ten Years Later, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Still A Threat To Gulf Natural Resources

Numerous organizations (Oceana, National Wildlife Federation, and Skytruth among others) have looked back at the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on the Gulf of Mexico in the ten years since — and sadly, the impacts of the worst oil spill in history are still being felt on Gulf resources — dolphins, turtles, whales, birds among others — and the risks of another catastrophic spill are still high.

Why This Matters:  I (Monica) was involved from day one of the response to the spill and through the early restoration work for two years after it ended, and we tried mightily to minimize the damage and begin restoration immediately

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