The carbon dioxide we pump into the air is seeping into the oceans and slowly acidifying them. One hundred years from now, will oysters, mussels, and coral reefs survive?
National Geographic Magazine April 2011 By Elizabeth Kolbert
Castello Aragonese is a tiny island that rises straight out of the Tyrrhenian Sea like a tower. Seventeen miles west of Naples, it can be reached from the somewhat larger island of Ischia via a long, narrow stone bridge. The tourists who visit Castello Aragonese come to see what life was like in the past. They climb—or better yet, take the elevator—up to a massive castle, which houses a display of medieval torture instruments. The scientists who visit the island, by contrast, come to see what life will be like in the future. Read the full article
By Marilyn Heiman, Special to CNN
(CNN) — The Exxon Valdez catastrophe on March 24, 1989, no longer holds the distinction of being the largest oil spill ever in U.S. waters. In sheer size, it was eclipsed last April by the disastrous well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. But as the Pew Environment Group’s video, “Lingering Oil,” shows, the lessons of the Exxon Valdez spill are more vital than ever as we approach the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and contemplate drilling in the even more challenging Arctic Ocean. Read the full article
The Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 men and sent approximately 170 million gallons of oil into one of America’s most productive fishing grounds, was a national tragedy. To determine what went so terribly wrong, and to find out how to make sure such a disaster never happens again, President Obama appointed a bipartisan commission to investigate the root causes of the explosion and to make recommendations to correct them.
The commission’s recently released report is clear: the disaster was not a one-time fluke, but rather the result of systematic failures in government oversight and industry management. The commission concluded that another disaster will likely happen again unless Congress, the Obama administration and the oil industry undertake fundamental reforms that hold the industry to higher safety standards and strengthen the government’s authority to enforce more rigorous protections.
If we are serious about preventing the next disaster, Congress has to act.
What to do:
Send a message urging your senators and representatives to support and implement the recommendations made by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling to reform offshore oil and gas drilling, and to protect and restore our nation’s oceans.
During the disaster, the US government compiled figures of injured and dead wildlife based on reports from US Fish and Wildlife Service and other authorized sources. Those numbers include approximately 115 whale and dolphin carcasses.
But after analysing data on abundance, mortality rates and strandings for whale and dolphin species in the Gulf, Rob WIlliams and his colleagues have concluded that that only two percent of the whales and dolphins that die in these waters are ever recovered. Read the full article
Source nature.com Blog
Scientists describe two distinct plumes of oily aerosols that traveled from sea surface to atmosphere
MIAMI — March 10, 2011 — Scientists from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science were part of a national research team to find two plumes of oil-based pollutants downwind of the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill. In a study published in this week’s issue of the journal Science, the research team offers new insight into the mechanism by which the crude oil traveled from the sea surface to the atmosphere.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-led research team collected data of atmosphere gas and aerosol concentrations during two flights, on June 8 and June 10, aboard a specially equipped NOAA WP-3 Orion aircraft. Read the full story from www.rsmas.miami.edu.
Southern California researchers say about 35% of fish they collected in the northern Pacific Ocean in 2008 had plastic in their stomachs. The study shows the troubling effect floating litter is having on marine life, the researchers say. Read the article
March 11, 2011|By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
March 6, 2011: Detroit Free Press
Baby dolphins, some barely 3 feet in length, are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines at 10 times the normal rate of stillborn and infant deaths, researchers say.
Seventeen young dolphins, either aborted or dead soon after birth, have been collected along the shorelines in recent weeks, the Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., reports. Typically, one or two are found during breeding months of January and February.
Feb. 20, 2011 By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News, Washington DC
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill “devastated” life on and near the seafloor, a marine scientist has said.
Studies using a submersible found a layer, as much as 10cm thick in places, of dead animals and oil, said Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia.
Knocking these animals out of the food chain will, in time, affect species relevant to fisheries.
She disputed an assessment by BP’s compensation fund that the Gulf of Mexico will recover by the end of 2012.
WASHINGTON – Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist’s video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn’t degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.
That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012.