The Common Oceanographer: Crowdsourcing the Collection of Oceanographic Data

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The Common Oceanographer: Crowdsourcing the Collection of Oceanographic Data


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Gazans dig deep after ceasefire as water shortage bites


Gazans dig deep after ceasefire as water shortage bites
by Staff Writers
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories (AFP) Sept 05, 2014

After two weeks with no water following Israel’s 50-day offensive, Abu Osama took matters into his own hands, and like hundreds of others, sank a well beside his Gaza home.

After nearly two months of Israeli bombardment, power cuts and water shortages, he seized upon the ceasefire to get down to work.

“Water supplied by the municipality had not been arriving for more than two weeks and there were 50 of us in the house, including many children, so I decided to sink a well” to draw water directly, the 45-year-old said.

Water shortages are nothing new for Palestinians in the densely populated Gaza Strip enclave, and more and more people have been digging their own wells since 2006.

Israel imposed a blockade on the territory that year after Gaza militants snatched one of its soldiers.

Since then “more than 10,000 wells have been dug”, said Monzer Shoblak, an official in Gaza’s water authority.

“All these wells were dug without legal authorisation, but without them may people would not have water throughout the day,” he said.

But this direct access to water comes at a cost, and Abu Osama, who did not give his full name, had to shell out 2,000 Jordanian Dinars ($2,820 or 2,180 euros) to dig and maintain his well.

It is a price that many residents of Gaza, where unemployment is running at around 40 percent, are unable to afford.

Abu Mohammed, who also refused to give his last name, decided to dig a well on his land to ensure that his family had enough water to drink and for washing.

“The water was totally cut and the war complicated our situation further,” he said.

Umm Mohammed, his wife, said it was “no longer like living in the 21st century”.

“We get our water from the well, and we bake bread on an open fire,” she said.

- Water pipes hit -

“I used to have flowers and a beautiful garden, but everything has been scorched by the sun,” she said wistfully, gesturing at two parched palm trees withering in dry soil.

During the devastating Israeli bombardment, water pipes were also hit in the only power station serving the Gaza Strip, a sliver of land squeezed between Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean where 1.8 million people live.

The fighting aggravated already chronic water shortages in the enclave, said Rebhi al-Sheikh, deputy head of the body in charge of the precious resource in Gaza.

“The only reserve available to us is the coastal aquifer we share with Egypt and Israel made up of 55 million cubic metres,” he said.

But this is far from sufficient, because for “Gaza alone you need 190 million cubic metres every year”.

And the United Nations has warned that Gaza’s already short water supplies could be running out.

The aquifer could be unusable by 2016 and the damage it has suffered may be irreversible by 2020, experts believe.

Shoblak said that some 95 percent of Gaza’s water is already contaminated.

“The volume of nitrate in the water should not go above 50 milligrams per litre. In Gaza the levels are about 200-250 milligrams,” he said.

Chloride, which should be kept to 250 mg per litre, in some areas of Gaza reaches 2,000 mg, Shoblak said.

The authorities in Gaza have already launched several new projects aimed at providing water to those most in need, but these have been suspended at inception because of the blockade that prevents certain construction materials from entering the Strip.

During the ceasefire negotiations, Israel said it would allow the entry of some materials for reconstruction, without specifying what it would permit or when it would cross into Gaza.

But for the moment, no cement, gravel or steel has passed through the border crossings linking Gaza to Israel.

The Jewish state says such materials could be used by Palestinian militants in the territory to make weapons.

David Attenborough returns to the Great Barrier Reef for a new BBC series

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David Attenborough returns to the Great Barrier Reef for a new BBC series

Veteran wildlife presenter to film three hour-long nature documentaries for BBC1 to be broadcast next year

Sir David Attenborough
David Attenborough first filmed on the reef in 1957. Photograph: Martin Godwin for The Guardian

Sir David Attenborough is returning to the Great Barrier Reef for a new BBC series, almost six decades after he first filmed there.

The veteran wildlife presenter will front three hour-long films from the natural wonder off the coast of Australia, using sophisticated techniques to examine the array of creatures in new ways.

The landmark BBC1 series, to be called David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef, is being made by the team behind the award-winning First Life and is expected to be screened late next year. …

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The Gulf Is Still So Far From Recovering. Just Ask This Oyster Farmer.

Mother Jones

The Gulf Is Still So Far From Recovering. Just Ask This Oyster Farmer.

Gulf coast ecosystems were supposed to rebound after the BP oil spill. They haven’t.

Marine mutants wash up on shore: two-headed dolphin a sign of chemical poisoning tipping point

Marine mutants wash up on shore: two-headed dolphin a sign of chemical poisoning tipping point

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) In August 2014, a conjoined dolphin pup slightly over a yard long floated onto the shore of a beach in Turkey. An onlooker was horrified to witness what had appeared to be a two-headed dolphin. But technically, the two-headed monster was a conjoined set of twins, what we commonly call Siamese twins. [1]

In April of 2011, around a year after the BP/Gulf disaster, an actual two-headed bull shark was found in the uterus of a shark caught by fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. It took until 2013 for scientists to confirm that it was actually a two-headed bull shark and not conjoined twins. [2]

The current politically correct conjecture for animal kingdom omens and signs that nature is turning against itself is global warming. But that conjecture doesn’t cover the usual suspects of corporate/government actions of exploiting resources and polluting the earth, water and air.

Pollution reality check

Over the past few years, several events have added up to a warning of extinction for all life that may come due to nuclear radiation, chemical pollution and Big Ag’s agrochemical runoff from fields into streams, waterways and seas. Creatures of the sea and air, and especially amphibious creatures, have shown the most signs of distress.

Lately, there has been increasing conjecture of global warming as the primary cause for upsetting the lowest levels of support for aquatic life in the oceans or inland waterways, such as plankton or algae, which begin the feeding order for the more mobile forms of aquatic life.

Even if true, global warming can’t be the only factor that’s distressing ecological systems. There are several usual suspects, and they’re all man-made and used to extreme excesses. Sometimes, a whole flock of birds will fall from the sky dead. Air pollution or microwave tower transmissions? And nearby, a thousand fish wash ashore dead. What, everything’s connected? [3]

Starfish are disappearing rapidly along the US and Canadian Pacific coastline, as hundreds of sea lions and sea lion pups languish, sick, starving and dying on those same beaches. Meanwhile, Fukushima’s nuclear plant continues spewing radioactive material into the sea and air while officials say not to worry. [4]

More and more fish and frogs are discovered in and along our inland waterways with gender-confused physiological manifestations. The BP oil disaster and Corexit solution fiasco of 2010 has left the Gulf of Mexico and coastal marsh life in shambles. The toxicity from their solution has persisted into 2014. [5]

A biologist and artist displayed several images of frogs with multiple or deformed legs at a London art show. He and most other biologists consider amphibians, which are sensitive to sudden environmental changes, similar to mining cave canaries whose deaths signal toxic gas buildups. Amphibian anomalies and die-offs warn biologists about ecological disruptions that are invisible but getting out of hand. [6]

Some environmental changes are obvious, yet many die-offs and gender or physiological anomalies are occurring within areas that seem ecologically intact or undisturbed.

It’s amazing how many gender-bending, hormone-mimicking chemicals find their way into streams, rivers and oceans from factories and heavily populated urban areas to create toxic environments for wildlife and humans.

Waterways carry chemical wastes from far-off manufacturing locations and crowded cities, while farm fields and agrochemical industries contribute synthetic fertilizer runoffs into streams that merge with rivers and oceans to create life-choking algae.

Coal-burning power plants spew mercury gases and particles that can drift into the immediate area or be brought down by rain away from the plants’ locations.

Compromised government agencies and vested corporate interests, including the media, aren’t interested in getting to the heart of these matters, because they’re all swimming in the same polluted water, focusing on their codependent career-driven motives and immediate financial gain.

Sources for this article include:









International | Animal Liberation

Smack down !!! Japanese fake dolphin industry and tradition.
by toshio yashiro / time , Non Profit Individual
Sunday Aug 31st, 2014 4:55 PM

Again, the slaughter season just started now.

“Yashiro claims that the hunt is not concerned with Japanese food culture or tradition, but rather with the live dolphin trade, which is fuelled by demand in countries all over the world. “” Dolphin slaughter for food, according to Yashiro, is a skilful deception. “(more)
By Graham LandPlease support.;To stop dolphins and whales captivity in japan. no more captives. Set the captives free
;The Petitions of Boycott ” World Heritage in japan ” for saving whale and dolphin.;Taiji deceives skillfully as tradition for eating , and shifts to dolphin-trade business.;”The Huffington Post Japan ” should publish this report of Taiji to the Japanese readers. am thankful to all people opposed to Japanese dolphin slaughter.
love you.Thank you, Mr. Land.thank you for your time.
Sincerely,toshio yashiro / time , Non Profit Individual
Tokyo japan

Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in the Atlantic Ocean


Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in the Atlantic Ocean
by Staff Writers
Seattle WA (SPX) Aug 25, 2014

Contact: Hannah Hickey
University of Washington

Atlantic Ocean and Global Average Temperatures

Caption: (Top) Global average surface temperatures, where black dots are yearly averages. Two flat periods (hiatus) are separated by rapid warming from 1976-1999. (Middle) Observations of heat content, compared to the average, in the north Atlantic Ocean. (Bottom) Salinity of the seawater in the same part of the Atlantic. Higher salinity is seen to coincide with more ocean heat storage.

Credit: K. Tung / Univ. of Washington










(Top) Global average surface temperatures, where black dots are yearly averages. Two flat periods (hiatus) are separated by rapid warming from 1976-1999. (Middle) Observations of heat content, compared to the average, in the north Atlantic Ocean. (Bottom) Salinity of the seawater in the same part of the Atlantic. Higher salinity is seen to coincide with more ocean heat storage. Image courtesy K. Tung and Univ. of Washington. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Following rapid warming in the late 20th century, this century has so far seen surprisingly little increase in the average temperature at the Earth’s surface. At first this was a blip, then a trend, then a puzzle for the climate science community.

More than a dozen theories have now been proposed for the so-called global warming hiatus, ranging from air pollution to volcanoes to sunspots. New research from the University of Washington shows that the heat absent from the surface is plunging deep in the north and south Atlantic Ocean, and is part of a naturally occurring cycle. The study is published in Science.

Subsurface warming in the ocean explains why global average air temperatures have flatlined since 1999, despite greenhouse gases trapping more solar heat at the Earth’s surface.

“Every week there’s a new explanation of the hiatus,” said corresponding author Ka-Kit Tung, a UW professor of applied mathematics and adjunct faculty member in atmospheric sciences.

“Many of the earlier papers had necessarily focused on symptoms at the surface of the Earth, where we see many different and related phenomena. We looked at observations in the ocean to try to find the underlying cause.”

The results show that a slow-moving current in the Atlantic, which carries heat between the two poles, sped up earlier this century to draw heat down almost a mile (1,500 meters). Most of the previous studies focused on shorter-term variability or particles that could block incoming sunlight, but they could not explain the massive amount of heat missing for more than a decade.

“The finding is a surprise, since the current theories had pointed to the Pacific Ocean as the culprit for hiding heat,” Tung said. “But the data are quite convincing and they show otherwise.”

Tung and co-author Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China, who was a UW visiting professor last year, used recent observations of deep-sea temperatures from Argo floats that sample the water down to 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) depth. The data show an increase in heat sinking around 1999, when the rapid warming of the 20th century stopped.

“There are recurrent cycles that are salinity-driven that can store heat deep in the Atlantic and Southern oceans,” Tung said. “After 30 years of rapid warming in the warm phase, now it’s time for the cool phase.”

Rapid warming in the last three decades of the 20th century, they found, was roughly half due to global warming and half to the natural Atlantic Ocean cycle that kept more heat near the surface. When observations show the ocean cycle flipped, around the year 2000, the current began to draw heat deeper into the ocean, working to counteract human-driven warming.

The cycle starts when saltier, denser water at the surface northern part of the Atlantic, near Iceland, causes the water to sink. This changes the speed of the huge current in the Atlantic Ocean that circulates heat throughout the planet.

“When it’s heavy water on top of light water, it just plunges very fast and takes heat with it,” Tung said. Recent observations at the surface in the North Atlantic show record-high saltiness, Tung said, while at the same time, deeper water in the North Atlantic shows increasing amounts of heat.

The authors dug up historical data to show that the cooling in the three decades between 1945 to 1975 – which caused people to worry about the start of an Ice Age – was during a cooling phase. (It was thought to be caused by air pollution.) Earlier records in Central England show the 40- to 70-year cycle goes back centuries, and other records show it has existed for millennia.

Changes in Atlantic Ocean circulation historically meant roughly 30 warmer years followed by 30 cooler years. Now that it is happening on top of global warming, however, the trend looks more like a staircase.

The temperature oscillations have a natural switch. During the warm period, faster currents cause more tropical water to travel to the North Atlantic, warming both the surface and the deep water. At the surface this warming melts ice. This eventually makes the surface water there less dense and after a few decades puts the brakes on the circulation, setting off a 30-year cooling phase.

This explanation implies that the current slowdown in global warming could last for another decade, or longer, and then rapid warming will return. But Tung emphasizes it’s hard to predict what will happen next.

A pool of freshwater from melting ice, now sitting in the Arctic Ocean, could overflow into the North Atlantic to upset the cycle.

“We are not talking about a normal situation because there are so many other things happening due to climate change,” Tung said.

“International Ocean film festival comes to Britain” TheGuardian

International Ocean film festival comes to Britain

From the uplifting story of a paralysed surfer to terrifying tales of adventure gone wrong, we take a look at the sea-themed short films that will be touring UK venues from Cornwall to Inverness

swimming dolphins.jpg

The wonders of the world’s oceans will be on show in venues all over Britain in September and October at the International Ocean film festival. Originally from Australia, the festival features a selection of 11 of the world’s most captivating ocean-themed short films, put together into a two-hour evening of divers, surfers, swimmers and sea creatures. To whet your appetite, check out stills from a selection of the films. The festival starts on 4 September in Truro, Cornwall, and will tour 17 towns and cities until 30 October. For tickets, times and venues see

Duct Tape Surfing

Duct tape surfing

Eighteen years ago, a car accident left Pascale Honore paralysed from the waist down. Fascinated by the ocean, Pascale dreamed of being able to surf. With the help of a roll of duct tape and Tyron Swan, a friend of her son who is a big wave surfer and professional diver, her dream eventually became a reality. …