Emissions in NYC, plastic-eating bacteria, more accurate forecasts: 3 big stories you might have missed

Human Nature shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.

Protecting Africa’s oceans to secure our futures

Jessica Donovan-Allen, senior director of Conservation International Liberia, discusses why ocean conservation is vital in western Africa.

New Ocean Heat Content Histories

Guest commentary from Laure Zanna (U. Oxford) and G. Jake Gebbie (WHOI) Two recent papers, Zanna et al. (2019) (hereafter ZKGIH19) and Gebbie & Huybers (2019) (hereafter GH19), independently reconstructed ocean heat content (OHC) changes prior to the instrumentally-based records (which start ~1950). The goals (and methodologies) of the two papers were quite different – ZKGIH19 investigated regional patterns of ocean warming and thermal sea level rise, while GH19 analyzed the long-term memory of

Best of 2018: Satellite tags shed light on sea turtle treks

Knowing where the turtles go is the first step to protecting them.

Best of 2018: To save marine habitats, conservationists find natural ally: surfers

Hundreds of areas with world-class waves also contain a variety of diverse marine species.

Bending low with Bated breath

“Shall I bend low and in a bondman’s key, With bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness…?”Shylock (Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene 3) As dark nights draw in, the venerable contrarians at the GWPF are still up late commissioning silly pseudo-rebuttals to mainstream science. The latest, which no-one was awaiting with any kind of breath, is by Dr. Ray Bates (rtd.) which purports to be a take-down of the recent #SR15 report. As Peter Thorne (an IPCC author) correctly noted, this report is a “cut-and-paste of long-debunked arguments”. I’ve grown a little weary of

The long story of constraining ocean heat content

Scientists predicted in the 1980s that a key fingerprint of anthropogenic climate change would be found in the ocean. If they were correct that increases in greenhouse gases were changing how much heat was coming into the system, then the component with the biggest heat capacity, the oceans, is where most of that heat would end up. We have now had almost two decades of attempts to characterize this change, but the path to confirming those predictions has been anything but smooth… Predictions At least as far back as Hansen et

In case you missed it: 4 big stories from our world

Human Nature shares four stories from the past week that you should know about.

Does a slow AMOC increase the rate of global warming?

Established understanding of the AMOC (sometimes popularly called Gulf Stream System) says that a weaker AMOC leads to a slightly cooler global mean surface temperature due to changes in ocean heat storage. But now, a new paper in Nature claims the opposite and even predicts a phase of rapid global warming. What’s the story? By Stefan Rahmstorf and Michael Mann In 1751, the captain of an English slave-trading

Hawaiʻi votes to protect coral reefs — from our sunscreen

Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige will sign a bill to prohibit the sale of sunscreens containing chemicals that contribute to the destruction of coral reefs.

To feed itself, Hawai‘i must make sea change, study finds

To feed its growing population, Hawai‘i is looking to produce more locally sourced seafood, which has a smaller environmental footprint.

If you doubt that the AMOC has weakened, read this

A few weeks ago, we’ve argued in a paper in Nature that the Atlantic overturning circulation (sometimes popularly dubbed the Gulf Stream System) has weakened significantly since the late 19th Century, with most of the decline happening since the mid-20th Century. We have since received much praise for our study from colleagues around the world (thanks for

Does global warming make tropical cyclones stronger?

By Stefan Rahmstorf, Kerry Emanuel, Mike Mann and Jim Kossin Friday marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which will be watched with interest after last year’s season broke a number of records and e.g. devastated Puerto Rico’s power grid, causing serious problems that persist today. One of us (Mike) is part of a team that has issued a seasonal forecast (see Kozar et al 2012) calling for a roughly average season

Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning circulation

Through two new studies in Nature, the weakening of the Gulf Stream System is back in the scientific headlines. But even before that, interesting new papers have been published – high time for an update on this topic. Let’s start with tomorrow’s issue of Nature, which besides the two new studies (one of which I was involved in) also includes a News&Views commentary. Everything revolves around the question of whether the Gulf Stream System has already weakened. Climate models predict this will be one consequence of global warming – alongside

What on Earth is the ‘blue economy’?

On the first day of the Economist World Ocean Summit, we break down the “blue economy.”

The shipping industry has quietly gone without a climate plan — until now

The target: Slash emissions in half by 2050.

Big data helps scientists watch ocean plastic gyres form

Researchers tracked hundreds of buoys deployed in the Gulf of Mexico. The findings may help scientists pinpoint areas for plastic or oil-spill cleanup.

Will corporate action on ocean plastic make an impact? 6 ways to tell

The supersize problem requires the biggest businesses to take action.

Nature’s year ahead: 3 must-read environmental books for 2018

Here are three books about the environment that you should add to your reading list.

Can Road Salt and Other Pollutants Disrupt Our Circadian Rhythms?

By Jennifer Marie Hurley Every winter, local governments across the U.S. apply millions of tons of road salt to keep streets navigable during snow and ice storms. Runoff from melting snow carries road salt into streams and lakes, and causes many bodies of water to have extraordinarily high salinity . At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, my colleague Rick Relyea and his lab are working to quantify how increases in salinity affect ecosystems. Not surprisingly, they have found that high salinity has negative impacts on many species . They have also discovered that some species have the ability to cope with these increases in

Oil Giants Invest $180B in Plastics, Propelling Oceans Toward ‘Near-Permanent’ Pollution

By Julia Conley Scientists and environmental protection advocates are warning that a coming plastics boom could lead to a permanent state of pollution on the planet—and denouncing the fossil fuel industry for driving an increase in plastics production amid all that’s known about the material polluting the world’s oceans . “We could be locking in decades of expanded plastics production at precisely the time the world is realizing we should use far less of it,” Carroll Muffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law

How a Girl Scout inspired a health care giant to ditch plastic straws

It started with a single email to Dignity Health.

Preserving this national marine sanctuary guards natural resources

Why protect 600,000 square miles that most people will never see?