Have you ever wondered why the Celtic Sea, located off the south coast of Ireland, is home to so many marine predators? No? Well, scientists at Britain’s National Oceanography Centre have. This month they set about finding out, using a long-endurance autonomous surface vehicle known as the C-Enduro.
If you should encounter a crewless ship out on the Atlantic Ocean in a few years, don’t worry about it being the ghostly Flying Dutchman … it may be the Mayflower, however. No, not the square-rigger that brought Pilgrims to America, but the Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship (MARS). Plans call for the wind- and solar-powered trimaran to sail itself from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2020 – the 400th anniversary of the original ship’s journey – carrying out a variety of research projects along the way.
When you think of ocean
waves, most people will imagine sitting on a beach watching breakers
roll in from the horizon. However a group of scientists from the
University of Miami have been tracking waves of a different breed –
unseen colossal, skyscraper-tall underwater waves that are present
in every one of our oceans.
Humanity's industrial processes have a huge impact on the and, releasing harmful substances such as mercury, arsenic and lead into the water. Chinese researchers are hoping that synthetic coral that mimics the ability of the real thing to collect harmful heavy metals from water could help in the clean up effort, with tests on the effectiveness of the aluminum oxide structure so far showing promising results.
Although wave energy-harvesting systems are often just presented as
concepts that may someday see actual use, one was recently deployed in
Hawaii to provide power to the municipal grid. Built by Northwest Energy
Innovations, the Azura device will remain in operation for a 12-month
assessment period, with an eye toward eventual commercialization.
The world’s oceans are in peril due to a combination of pollution, overfishing and climate change. Recently, the Alfred-Wegener-Institut, a German center for polar and marine research, sent out a strong warning about fundamental changes that are occurring in those ecosystems. But awareness is growing and the fight to preserve the oceans has found an ally in Adidas, which has teamed with conservation group Parley for the Oceans to create footwear made with trash harvested from the ocean.
An international team of scientists has found that retreating sea ice between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans is linked to weakened air-sea heat exchange in the region. This, it warns, could result in a cooler climate in western Europe and an altered or slower Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which would have knock-on effects for the Gulf Stream and consequently for the atmosphere.
A new study by MIT has revealed that the quantities of nitrous oxide (N2O), otherwise known as laughing gas, being released by the world's oceans has been dramatically underestimated. Heightened levels of N2O have the potential to seriously influence the health of our planet's ozone layer, as the gas is around 300 times more potent than the more prevalent menace of carbon dioxide emissions.
A concept designed to rid the oceans of plastic waste is to become a reality next year. Boyan's Slat's Ocean Cleanup system is expected to be deployed in the second quarter of 2016 in the waters between Japan and South Korea. It will be the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean.