What a Little Ooze on the Ocean Floor Tells Us About the Big Climate Change Picture.While governments scramble to provide the laziest climate-change commitments ahead of the UN conference in Paris later this year, the world is beginning to confront how life on land will change as the atmosphere and surface and heat up. But for the oceanic world—one that has often shown up its terrestrial counterpart in sheer complexity—scientists are far from understanding how things will change over the next 85 years.
2°C of Global Warming Highly Dangerous – Boomer Warrior.If the ocean continues to accumulate heat and increase melting of marine-terminating ice shelves of Antarctica and Greenland, a point will be reached at which it is impossible to avoid large scale ice sheet disintegration with sea level rise of at least several meters.
Abruptly Warming Climate Triggered Megabeast Revolutions.Around 34,000 years ago, woolly mammoths went extinct from parts of Europe, only to be replaced by… woolly mammoths. The two groups—the disappearing individuals and their substitutes—belonged to the same species. If you looked at their fossils, you probably couldn’t tell them apart. Their genes, however, reveal them to be part of two genetically distinct lineages, one of which suddenly displaced the other.
Lightning Still Largely a Mystery.Some 44,000 thunderstorms rage worldwide each day, delivering as many as 100 lightning bolts to the ground every second. These dramatic, deafening flashes of electricity recharge the global battery by keeping the ground flush with negative electric charge and maintaining the ionosphere’s positive charge. Lightning turns the Earth into an electric circuit, and it may have even delivered the spark that got life started in the primordial soup
Mystery of Deadly 1946 Tsunami Deepens.On April Fools Day in 1946 an earthquake off the coast of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska spawned a series of waves known as a tsunami. One wave as high as a 13-story building hit locally. Others raced across the Pacific, killing dozens and leaving a trail of destruction that stretched to California and even South America
Isabela the whale sets migration record.Can you tell a pygmy blue whale from an Antarctic blue whale? If not, you aren’t alone. Marine biologists have had trouble distinguishing these enormous mammals with mottled skin patterns ever since they began studying them—and that has complicated efforts to figure out where they breed and how to best protect them. Now, researchers have caught a break thanks to a pygmy whale named Isabela. Researchers first photographed the whale and collected her DNA in 1998 in the waters off the Galapagos Islands. Then, in 2006, another team photographed and collected samples from a similar looking whale off Chile (both photos above). Now, in a study published online before print in Marine Mammal Science, scientists compared those samples and photographs, and discovered that they both belonged to the same whale. That means Isabela (named after the lead author’s daughter to represent hope for future preservation efforts) migrated a minimum of 5200 km, the longest recorded latitudinal migration made by any Southern Hemisphere blue whale on record. The findings suggest Chile’s and the Galapagos’ blue whale aggregations are connected, meaning those feeding in the Gulf of Corcovado off Chile may be breeding in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. Knowing where this species migrates—including its feeding and breeding grounds—can help conservationists and governments better establish marine protected areas, the team says