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2019 Dead Zones at Record Size & Expanding



Dead Zones at Record Size & Expanding

1>Gulf Mexico --&-- 2>Chesapeake Bay


1>Gulf Mexico

2019 'Dead Zone' may be the Second Largest on Record,
Louisiana State University, June 10, 2019.

Main Points

Second Biggest on Record
"A recent forecast of the size of the "Dead Zone" in the northern Gulf of Mexico for late July 2019 is that it will cover 8,717-square-miles of the bottom of the continental shelf off Louisiana and Texas. The unusually high Mississippi River discharge in May controls the size of this zone, which will likely be the second largest zone since systematic measurements began in 1985."

"The water mass with oxygen concentrations less than 2 parts per million forms in bottom waters each year primarily as a result of nitrogen and phosphorus loading from the Mississippi River watershed, which fertilizes the Gulf of Mexico's surface waters to create excessive amounts of algal biomass."

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Fishing Fleets Grown and Growing far Beyond Fish Stocks & Fish Fertility



Fleets Grown and Growing far Beyond Fish Stocks & Fish Fertility

More fishing vessels chasing fewer fish, new study finds,
University of Tasmania, May 27, 2019.


Global Fishing Fleet Doubled, Catch Fell 80%
"...the world's fishing fleet doubled in size over the 65-years to 2015 but for the amount of effort expended the catch fell more than 80 per cent."

Mighty Fleet
"...the global fishing fleet grew from 1.7 million vessels in 1950 to 3.7 million in 2015."

Fish & Fertility Decline
"...the findings reflect growing pressure on marine resources and a fall in the abundance of fish."

As the Fleet Grows
"What we have seen over the last 65 years is more and more fishing vessels chasing fewer fish."

Fish vs Fleet
"...this measure paints a dark picture of the state of the ocean's resources."

Demand Growing as Resources Shrink
"...Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Southern Mediterranean indicates their fisheries expanded at a much faster rate than fish stocks could support."

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Speed of Ocean Circulation Crucial to Climate



The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, Earth Institute at Columbia University.
"The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, seen here in simplified form, brings warm water northward (red arrows) until it reaches the region around Greenland and northern Europe. Here, it sinks and travels southward (yellow arrows). Much of the water re-emerges in the Southern Ocean." Courtesy Francesco Muschitiello/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.


Speed of Ocean Circulation Crucial to Climate

Carbon lurking in deep ocean threw ancient climate switch, say researchers,
Earth Institute at Columbia University, April 8, 2019.

Main Points

Mid-Pleistocene Transition
Slowing ancient Ocean Circulation absorbing massive CO2 triggered Severe Cold

Big CO2 Effects
"...the study clearly demonstrates that the carbon missing from the air ended up in the ocean, and had a powerful effect on climate."

"..there's an intimate relationship between the amount of carbon stored in the ocean, and what the climate is doing."

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Inevitable Southern Ocean Acidification Tipping Point Approaches



Inevitable Tipping Point Approaches

Ocean Acidification since 1700
Ocean Acidification since 1700, Global Ocean Data Analysis Project, by Plumbago.
Estimated Change in Seawater pH caused by human CO2 from 1700 to 1990s from Global Ocean Data Analysis Project, from Wiki by Plumbago


A Fatal Horizon, Driven by Acidification, Closes in on Marine Organisms in Southern Ocean,
University of Colorado at Boulder, March 11, 2019.


Mechanism of Destruction
"Acidification occurs when oceans absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) created by burning fossil fuels. The absorption alters the water's chemistry, lowering its pH and reducing the amount of available carbonate, which microorganisms like corals and pteropods use to construct their calcium carbonate shells."

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More Antarctic Lakes, Increasing Ice Shelf Instability


Ice Shelf Meltwater Rock & Roll


Meltwater Lake Ice Rebound Mechanism
Diagram showing how a floating ice shelf bends (and may also fracture) in response to the filling and draining of a meltwater lake. Adapted from Fig 1. Banwell et al 2013. GRL.
Diagram showing how a floating ice shelf bends (and may also fracture) in response to the filling and draining of a meltwater lake. Adapted from Fig 1. Banwell et al 2013. GRL


More Lakes, Increasing Instability

Ice shelves buckle under weight of meltwater lakes,
University of Colorado at Boulder, February 13, 2019.


 “...observed an Antarctic ice shelf bending under the weight of ponding meltwater on top, a phenomenon that may have triggered the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf.”

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Undersea Gases Could Superheat the Planet


Hydrate-Capped Undersea Carbon Reservoirs


CO2 Bubbles from Sea floor Hydrothermal Vent
CO2 Bubbles from Sea floor Hydrothermal Vent, Photo/Bob Embley, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration.
Bubbles of liquid carbon dioxide float out of the seafloor at a vent on Northwest Eifuku volcano off the coast of Japan. (Photo/Bob Embley, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration)


Undersea gases could superheat the planet,
University of Southern California, February 13, 2019.


"We know there are vast reservoirs of carbon gas at the bottom of the oceans. We know when they were disrupted during the Pleistocene it warmed the planet.“

Nasty, Icy Slurries
“...expanses of carbon dioxide and methane accumulating underwater and scattered across the seafloor. They form as volcanic activity releases heat and gases that can congeal into liquid and solid hydrates, which are compounds stuck together in an icy slurry that encapsulates the reservoirs.”

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Ars Technica Reviews Recent Sea Ice, Sea Level Research

Refining the Ice-Melt and Sea-Level Rise Models

Looks Like at Least 24 inches by 2100

Two sea level studies have some good news, bad news,
ArsTechnica, February 11, 2019.


Testing the basis of a new ice analysis that called for 3 foot sea rise due to Antarctic melting alone.

Refining its, “...estimate of sea level rise from Antarctic ice in the mid-Pliocene 3 million years ago...”


New Study’s Antarctic-Driven Sea Level Rise
Best 2100 Sea Level Analysis:

One Meter at Fringe,
15 to 45 cm Range
15 cm most likely

“...the new study shows that the most common result is lower than the average result shown in the original study...a few model versions get up to that full meter of sea level rise from Antarctic ice loss by 2100.
The most common result with the ice cliff process is about 45 centimeters (assuming no greenhouse gas emissions reductions). Without the new ice cliff physics, the most common result is about 15 centimeters—which is still higher than the estimated range given in the last IPCC report.”


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Big Changes Coming to Planetary Phytoplankton Distribution, & Colors of Oceans


Big Phytoplankton Bloom, South Africa, Nov 2018
Bloom of phytoplankton off the south coast of South Africa. NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview.
Get Ready for Superblooms. NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview.


Big Changes Coming to Planetary Phytoplankton Distribution

Study: Much of the surface ocean will shift in color by end of 21st century,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, February 4, 2019.


Significant Phytoplankton Changes
“Climate change is causing significant changes to phytoplankton in the world’s oceans...”

“...over the coming decades these changes will affect the ocean’s color, intensifying its blue regions and its green ones.”

The Basic Pattern

Blue Water
“Water molecules alone absorb almost all sunlight except for the blue part of the spectrum, which is reflected back out.”

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Oceans Warming Even Faster than Previously Thought


Reconciling Complex Data from a Very Complex System

A New Tools in the Scientifc Arsenal
The Argo Sensor Array
UC Berkeley Scientists deploy an Argo float searching for the truth about rising ocean temperatures.
UC Berkeley Scientists deploy an Argo float searching for the truth about rising ocean temperatures.

Oceans are warming even faster than previously thought,
University of California - Berkeley, January 10, 2018.


More Ocean Heating than Thought
”Heat trapped by greenhouse gases is raising ocean temperatures faster than previously thought, concludes an analysis of four recent ocean heating observations.”

Not Less
“...provide further evidence that earlier claims of a slowdown or "hiatus" in global warming over the past 15 years were unfounded. ”

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Where Has All the Heat Gone? Into Changing the Circulation of the Deep Blue Sea...


Where Has All the Heat Gone? Into Changing the Circulation of the Deep Blue Sea...

A century and half of reconstructed ocean warming offers clues for the future,
University of Oxford, January 7, 2019.


Global Warming
“Over the past century, increased greenhouse gas emissions have given rise to an excess of energy in the Earth system.”

More than 90% of Heating into Oceans
“...More than 90% of this excess energy has been absorbed by the ocean...”

“...the oceans are absorbing most of the excess energy in the climate system arising from greenhouse gases emitted by human activities.”

How Much Warming
“ warming of the oceans of 436 x 1021 Joules has occurred from 1871 to present (roughly 1000 times annual worldwide human primary energy consumption) and that comparable warming happened over the periods 1920-1945 and 1990-2015.”

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Deep Ocean Currents Are Liquid Time Capsules


Old Research Proves Valuable

Painting of the HMS Data collected by HMS Challenger, by William Frederick Mitchell, originally published for the Royal Navy, supports Woods Hole & Harvard Ocean Research today..
Painting of the HMS Challenger, possible collecting Artctic Ocean-bottom temps, by William Frederick Mitchell originally published for the Royal Navy.


Deep Ocean Currents Are Liquid Time Capsules

The long memory of the Pacific Ocean,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, January 4, 2019.


“Cold waters that sank in polar regions hundreds of years ago during the Little Ice Age are still impacting deep Pacific Ocean temperature trends.”

“...the deep Pacific Ocean lags a few centuries behind in terms of temperature and is still adjusting to the entry into the Little Ice Age. Whereas most of the ocean is responding to modern warming, the deep Pacific may be cooling.”

"Climate varies across all timescales.”
(and physical spaces, such as ocean bottoms...)

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2018 Ocean Research: O2 Distribution Changing in World’s Oceans


O2 Distribution Changing in World’s Oceans
Critters to Suffer, Krill, first victim of depleated Ocean Oxygen
Krill, first victim of depleated Ocean Oxygen credit to Stephani Gordon, Open Boat Films
Credit to Stephani Gordon, Open Boat Films

Lower oxygen levels to impact the oceanic food chain,
University of South Florida (USF Innovation), December 19, 2018.


Expanding Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs)
“...looked at many different types of marine zooplankton, which includes fishes and crustaceans that are essential to the marine food chain.”

“...just the slightest change in oxygen level could have tremendous ramifications on the food chain. Rising temperatures are causing mid-water regions with very low oxygen, known as Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs), to expand in the eastern tropical North Pacific Ocean. While some organisms in certain regions may be able to adapt, researchers found those living in OMZs likely cannot as they're already pushed to their physiological limits.”

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Oceans, 2018: Microplastics Everywhere, Even Falklands, Ascension Is, & Southern Ocean


Microplastics Everywhere

Microplastics pollution in Falklands as high as UK,
Anglia Ruskin University, November 27, 2018.


“The first study to investigate microplastics around Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands - two of the most remote locations in the South Atlantic Ocean - has found levels of contamination comparable with the waters around the UK.”

"Identifying the source of microplastics is difficult, but some of the fibres found in this study had the appearance of weathered fragments of ropes or fishing nets. The Falklands have a relatively sizeable fishing industry, with an annual catch of around 270,000 tonnes per year, but the same cannot be said of Ascension.“

Microplastics Everywhere
"Ascension Island has a population of less than 1,000 people and is incredibly remote, located 1,000 miles off the coast of Africa and 1,400 miles from South America. However, we found levels of microplastics comparable, and in some cases greater, than levels found in the waters around mainland UK.“

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Eighteen Years to the End of the Line for the Massive B-15 Iceberg



UPDATE on the B15 Series of Mega-Bergs
Just Look at that old Mega-berg...
Space Station view of B15T on September 23, 2018, with South Georgia Island to its NW, thanks to NASA!
NASA Space Station view of B15T on September 23, 2018, with South Georgia Island to its NW

It's still almost as large as South Georgia Island, well, at least it's still on the same scale as South Georgia, and dwarfing the South Sandwich Islands to its East & Southeast, even after floating around for 18 years...

B15T Nearing the End of the Line

A Place Where Icebergs Go to Die,
NASA Earth Obsevatory, October 31, 2018.



Antarctic Map
Canada/British Antarctic Survey detailed map of Antarctica
Canada's BAS PDF Antarctic Map



Earlier Report


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Ocean Acidification Melting the Damn Floor of the Sea!


Ocean Acidification Melting the Damn Seafloor

Alterations to seabed raise fears for future,
McGill University, October 29, 2018.


Ocean Acidification
“The ocean floor as we know it is dissolving rapidly as a result of human activity.”

“Normally the deep sea bottom is a chalky white. It's composed, to a large extent, of the mineral calcite (CaCO3) formed from the skeletons and shells of many planktonic organisms and corals.”

“The dissolution of calcite neutralizes the acidity of the CO2, and in the process prevents seawater from becoming too acidic.”

“As a result of human activities the level of CO2 in the water is so high, and the water is so acidic, that the calcite is simply being dissolved.”

“ certain hotspots such as the Northern Atlantic and the southern Oceans, the ocean's chalky bed is becoming more of a murky brown.”

“ only a foretaste of the way that the ocean floor will most likely be affected in future.”

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October 2018: The Blob is Back?


Feeling Blobbish?

The Massive Anomaly 'Blob' in The Pacific Is Back And Might Bring Even More Strange Weather,
Science Alert, October 18, 2018.


“...unsure whether the blob will remain a fixture or fade away. If it manages to linger into the winter, the consequences for the Lower 48 could be profound.”


The Bottom Line

During the height of the Blob in ‘15 we had the most profound drought in recorded history in California, while at the same time the most powerful El Nino in recorded history was bubbling along in the East-Central Pacific… which was supposed to bring tropical deluge...

This driest year in California of 2015 was rapidly followed by the wettest year of 2017.

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ARCTIC ICE, 2018: Beauford Sea Instability Points to Arctic Ocean Transformation


Beauford Sea Instability

Arctic ice sets speed limit for major ocean current,
MIT, October 17, 2018.


"The Beaufort Gyre is an enormous, 600-mile-wide pool of swirling cold, fresh water in the Arctic Ocean, just north of Alaska and Canada. In the winter, this current is covered by a thick cap of ice. Each summer, as the ice melts away, the exposed gyre gathers up sea ice and river runoff, and draws it down to create a huge reservoir of frigid fresh water, equal to the volume of all the Great Lakes combined."

"...the Arctic’s ice cover essentially sets a speed limit on the gyre’s spin."

Warming Effect
"...with less ice available to control the Beaufort Gyre’s spin, the current has sped up in recent years, gathering up more sea ice and expanding in both volume and depth."

"With no governor to limit its speed, the researchers say the gyre will likely transition into “a new regime” and eventually spill over, like an overflowing bathtub, releasing huge volumes of cold, fresh water into the North Atlantic, which could affect the global climate and ocean circulation."

Atlantic Consequences
“If all this fresh water is released, it will affect the circulation of the Atlantic.”

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Brown signs bills blocking Trump Offshore Drilling Plan


California Blocks Federal Offshore Drilling

Gov. Brown signs bills to block Trump's offshore oil drilling plan,
LA-LA Land Times, September 8, 2018.

This article shows Jerry Brown pointing out his own hypocrisy, how his fundamental programs of endless growth into California, and endless offshoring of our manufacturing to China, both demand more and more oil for more and more, “consumers,” here in California, while his offshoring all our manufacturing to China has not only broken our environment, but gutting California’s manufacturing broke our middle class, too.


“Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed two bills that would block new offshore oil drilling in California by barring the construction of pipelines, piers, wharves or other infrastructure necessary to transport the oil and gas from federal waters to state land.”

“Today, California’s message to the Trump administration is simple: Not here, not now,” Brown said in a statement. “We will not let the federal government pillage public lands and destroy our treasured coast.”

(Jerry & the Dims do that in California...)

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2018, Hot Times in SoCal: Record Warm Waters off Southern California


Hot Times in SoCal

Record Warm Waters off Southern California,
NASA Earth Observatory, August 8, 2018.

New Records in Water and Sky
"California has seen a range of natural extremes this summer, from heat waves to wildfires. The state can now add to the list record-warm ocean temperatures. On August 1, 2018, researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography observed water temperatures of 25.9 degrees Celsius (78.6 degrees Fahrenheit) along the coast at La Jolla, exceeding the previous record of 25.8°C (78.4°F) set in 1931."

Scripps Pier Records Highest Ocean Temperature in its 102-year History

Record Setting Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) August 2, 2018
"The map above shows sea surface temperature anomalies on August 2, 2018..."
Chart Credit: NOAA Coral Reef Watch

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Scripps Pier Records Highest Ocean Temperature in its 102-year History


Hot Times in SoCal

San Diego's Scripps Pier records highest ocean temperature in its 102-year history,
San Diego Union Tribune, August 2, 2018.

"...sea surface temperature at the Scripps Pier in La Jolla hit 78.6 degrees on Wednesday, the highest reading in the pier’s 102-year history, according to UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography."

"...broke the previous record of 78.4 degrees, which was set in 1931."

"The institute has been taking sea surface temperatures there since August 1916 as part of its scientific research."

Weird Times

"Southern California coastal waters have been anomalously warm since the beginning of 2014, when we experienced a marine heatwave."

“This event was popularly known as ‘the blob’. The following year, during 2015-2016, we had one of the strongest El Nino’s of the the last few decades and the local ocean continued warming."

“Since then SoCal waters are still anomalously warm — that is the water has not returned to temperatures that were normal in the previous seven years."

“The warm waters are posing a challenge for lifeguards, who’ve had to watch over enormous crowds.”


The Bottom Line

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