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Oceans & water

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Second lowest minimum for Arctic ice. Image copyright PETER J.

Second lowest minimum for Arctic ice

RAYMOND/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Arctic ice cover in 2016 reached the second lowest minimum on record, tied with 2007. The sea-ice extent on 10 September stood at 4.14 million sq km, some way short of the 3.39 million sq km record low in 2012. MPs call for ban on plastic microbeads. Image copyright SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY A worldwide ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics should be imposed as soon as possible, MPs have demanded.

MPs call for ban on plastic microbeads

The Environmental Audit Committee says the tiny balls of plastic used in shower gels and facial scrubs can even be found in Arctic sea-ice and on the ocean floor. The MPs say synthetic fibres from worn car tyres and fleece jackets may also be harming wildlife. The Dutch boy mopping up a sea of plastic. 'Widespread methane leakage' from ocean floor off US coast. Global warming slowdown 'could last another decade' 21 August 2014Last updated at 14:45 ET By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News Currents in the Atlantic could be responsible for a slowdown in temperature rises The hiatus in the rise in global temperatures could last for another 10 years, according to new research.

Global warming slowdown 'could last another decade'

Scientists have struggled to explain the so-called pause that began in 1999, despite ever increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Expansion of US marine protected zone could double world reserves. 17 June 2014Last updated at 18:08 ET By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News.

Expansion of US marine protected zone could double world reserves

Can The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Clean Itself? Boat's voyage a shining example of solar potential. 5 September 2013Last updated at 19:07 ET By Richard Anderson Business reporter, BBC News The captain of the world's biggest solar-powered boat explains the challenges of navigating to catch the sun How do you propel 100 tonnes of metal around the world's oceans without fuel or even a sail?

Boat's voyage a shining example of solar potential

For a pioneering group of Swiss investors and German engineers, the answer is simple - the sun. Add some design expertise from New Zealand and you have the MS Turanor PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar-powered boat and a striking glimpse into the future of marine travel. "The idea was to demonstrate the enormous potential of solar power by circumnavigating the globe," says Rachel Bros de Puechredon from PlanetSolar. And with 60,000km (37,000 miles) successfully navigated, the team have achieved precisely that. Maximum exposure The Turanor uses energy harnessed from more than 500 sq m of solar panels to drive two, 60kW electric engines, each in turn driving a standard propeller.

Unique opportunity. Aral Sea Moynaq Uzbekistan - Environmental Disaster. When it comes to man-made disasters it’s still hard to top the Aral Sea disaster (for now).

Aral Sea Moynaq Uzbekistan - Environmental Disaster

Created by the Soviets to turn their annexed territories (the Stans of Central Asia) into productive cotton growing regions. And it worked. Ships stranded on sand at Aral Sea, Moynaq, Uzbekistan They diverted rivers from the Tajik Pamirs to feed the thirsty crops and soak the arid lands of Uzbekistan & northern Turkmenistan. Europe fish stocks 'heading for recovery', study claims. 18 July 2013Last updated at 14:29 ET By Paul Rincon Science editor, BBC News website Cod remains vulnerable, but the authors say other stocks show signs of bouncing back Many European fish stocks are on the road to recovery from overfishing, according to a major new study.

Europe fish stocks 'heading for recovery', study claims

Study finds shipwrecks threaten precious seas. 7 June 2013Last updated at 09:39 ET By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News.

Study finds shipwrecks threaten precious seas

GM salmon can breed with wild fish and pass on genes. The potential risks of genetically modified fish escaping into the wild have been highlighted in a new study.

GM salmon can breed with wild fish and pass on genes

Scientists from Canada have found that transgenic Atlantic salmon can cross-breed with a closely related species - the brown trout. The fish, which have been engineered with extra genes to make them grow more quickly, pass on this trait to the hybrid offspring. UK claims breakthrough in fish dumping talks. The UK says it has agreed new laws with the European Union over the controversial dumping of unwanted fish.

UK claims breakthrough in fish dumping talks

Fisheries minister Richard Benyon said the "reforms" would make discards "a thing of the past". But green groups were less upbeat, saying the European Parliament's plans on fishing reform were more ambitious. After marathon talks, EU fisheries ministers agreed on a reform package including a ban on dumping pelagic fish, such as mackerel and herring. Sea urchin nickel 'trick' could be key to capturing carbon. 4 February 2013Last updated at 21:57 ET By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News A close up of the skeleton of a sea urchin which could help capture and store carbon Researchers say that the natural ability of sea urchins to absorb CO2 could be a model for an effective carbon capture and storage system.

Newcastle University scientists discovered by chance that urchins use the metal nickel to turn carbon dioxide into shell. Plastic-Eating Drone Could Swallow Pacific Garbage. Plastic-Eating Underwater Drone Could Swallow the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Underwater Plastic Capture The Marine Drone can autonomously swallow plastic garbage floating in the ocean, containing it in nets suspended between unbreakable buoys. IMAGE BY Elie Ahovi and Adrien Lefebvre A new underwater drone concept could seek and destroy one of the ocean's most insidious enemies, while earning a profit for plastics recyclers.

Melt may explain Antarctica's sea ice expansion. 1 April 2013Last updated at 06:12 ET Antarctic sea ice shows a small but significant expansion, in contrast to the trend seen in the Arctic Climate change is expanding Antarctica's sea ice, according to a scientific study in the journal Nature Geoscience. The paradoxical phenomenon is thought to be caused by relatively cold plumes of fresh water derived from melting beneath the Antarctic ice shelves. Arctic Ocean 'acidifying rapidly' The Arctic seas are being made rapidly more acidic by carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new report.

Scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) monitored widespread changes in ocean chemistry in the region. They say even if CO2 emissions stopped now, it would take tens of thousands of years for Arctic Ocean chemistry to revert to pre-industrial levels. Many creatures, including commercially valuable fish, could be affected. They forecast major changes in the marine ecosystem, but say there is huge uncertainty over what those changes will be.