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Ocean Warming & Acidification

OCEAN WARMING & ACIDIFICATION

OCEAN WARMING & ACIDIFICATION

Almost three-quarters of Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, and another 10% is covered by ice sheets and glaciers. Since the 1980s, the ocean has absorbed about 20-30% of humans’ carbon emissions, causing the ocean to become both warmer and more acidic. In addition, the ocean absorbs more than 90% of the heat that greenhouse gases trap in the atmosphere. And as the water warms, it expands: about half of the sea-level rise over the past 25 years is attributable to warmer oceans

The consequences are far reaching, and the 2019 UN IPCC report warns that we will see “unprecedented” changes to the oceans this century. Already since 2016, half of all the coral in the Great Barrier Reef has died due to acidification, and Australia has downgraded its outlook to “very poor.” States are experiencing a host of other issues like  disappearing whales, millions of dying starfish, and threats to fish species and the fishing industry

Although the oceans are warming about 40% faster than the UN had previously predicted, another report imagines the ocean as a powerful source of solutions, including off-shore wind, if action is taken now. Another solution, championed by Bren Smith, co-founder of GreenWave, sees kelp farming as a way to both restore our oceans and feed the planet. He points out that Seaweed harvesting once was a major industry in the United States. In the early 1900s, 1,500 workers produced 52 different products from kelp on the docks of San Diego. The industry died after WWII (due to over harvesting), one recent study estimates the industry will grow to 85Bn by 2026 across a diverse range of markets.

CURRENT NEWS

How does the ocean affect climate and weather on land?

07/12/24
One way that the world’s ocean affects weather and climate is by playing an important role in keeping our planet warm. The majority of radiation from the Sun is absorbed by the ocean, particularly in…
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What to Know as High Bacteria Levels Cause Beach Closures Across the United States

By Chad De Guzman 07/02/24
The Fourth of July holiday can often be a great opportunity to visit the seaside for a sandy getaway. But local governments across the U.S. have issued warnings and closures to stay away from certain…
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The vast, invisible effects of ocean warming

By David Wallace-Wells 06/26/24
The world’s longest-living vertebrate is not the friendly giant tortoise, the breathtaking blue whale or the saltwater crocodile, which can terrorize the imagination of toddlers and centenarians alike. It’s the shuddersome, floppy Greenland shark, which…
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Unlikely Wild Animals Are Being Smuggled Into U.S. Ports: Corals

By Jason Bittel 06/24/24
You might imagine that when federal wildlife inspectors search for illegally trafficked animal goods, they’d be on the lookout for elephant ivory or tiger skins. But other creatures are frequently being seized at American ports…
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NOAA 2024 Hurricane Forecast Is for More Storms Than Ever Before

By Amy Green 05/24/24
Get ready for an active hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting the greatest number of named storms this hurricane season since the forecasts began in 1998.
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This hurricane season could be among the worst in decades, NOAA warns

By Scott Dance 05/23/24
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned Thursday that the United States could face one of its worst hurricane seasons in two decades as the agency issued its most aggressive outlook ever.
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What you need to know about record-breaking heat in the Atlantic

My Michael Lowry 05/22/24
Waters across the Atlantic’s tropical belt — extending from the coast of Africa through the Caribbean — are hotter now than in any other late May on record, with over 90% of the area’s sea…
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BBC

Climate change: World’s oceans suffer from record-breaking year of heat

By Matt McGrath, Mark Poynting and Justin Rowlatt 05/08/24
Fuelled by climate change, the world's oceans have broken temperature records every single day over the past year, a BBC analysis finds. Nearly 50 days have smashed existing highs for the time of year by…
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Warming Ocean Could Harm Octopus Vision

By Andy Fell 04/16/24
Afew degrees of ocean warming could leave octopuses unable to see, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Adelaide, Australia and UC Davis. Embryo octopus raised in warmer waters lacked proteins…
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NOAA Declares a Global Coral Bleaching Event in 2023

By Bob Berwyn 04/15/24
From shallow-water reefs in the Red Sea to graceful gorgonian species in the Caribbean and the rugged branching corals that form the structure of the Great Barrier Reef, the past year brought bleaching, decline and…
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Water pollution is fueling ocean acidification. Environmentalists urge California to act

By Ian James 04/11/24
As the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities continue to increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the ocean is absorbing a large portion of the CO2, which is making seawater…
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KEY RESOURCES

Daily Sea Surface Temperature

03/10/24
This page provides time series and map visualizations of daily mean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) from NOAA Optimum Interpolation SST (OISST) version 2.1. OISST is a 0.25°x0.25° gridded dataset that provides estimates of temperature based…
WWF

Everything You Need to Know about Coral Bleaching—And How We Can Stop It

09/20/23
Coral bleaching happens when corals lose their vibrant colors and turn white. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Coral are bright and colorful because of microscopic algae called zooxanthellae. The zooxanthellae live…

Roadmap to Resources

08/15/23
These online resources are meant to guide students and educators to topics presented in the online coral tutorial. Many of the Web pages listed reside within larger Websites. You may wish to browse each Website…

What is Argo?

10/07/22
Argo is an international program that collects information from inside the ocean using a fleet of robotic instruments that drift with the ocean currents and move up and down between the surface and a mid-water…

OceanSITES 2022 meeting

10/04/22
The mission of OceanSITES is to collect, deliver and promote the use of high-quality data from long-term, high-frequency observations at fixed locations in the open ocean. OceanSITES typically aim to collect multidisciplinary data worldwide from…

Ocean Heat Content

07/12/22
Ninety percent of global warming is occurring in the ocean, causing the water’s internal heat to increase since modern record-keeping began in 1955, as shown in the upper chart. (The shaded blue region indicates the…

Marine Conservation Institute

06/20/22
Marine Conservation Institute is dedicated to securing permanent, strong protection for the oceans’ most important places – for us and future generations.

State Of The Beach Report

10/31/21
Greta is known for her famous speeches before world leaders. She recently spoke at COP 26 where delegates from around the world are charged with fulfilling goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework…

Igniting public support For a global network of Marine protected areas

07/05/21
“Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean.”
epa

Climate Change Indicators: Ocean Heat

05/18/21
In four different data analyses, the long-term trend shows that the top 700 meters of the oceans have become warmer since 1955 (see Figure 1). All three analyses in Figure 2 show additional warming when…

Oceans | The Pew Charitable Trusts

05/04/21
Pew’s ocean work includes efforts to create large marine reserves; end illegal fishing; protect key species such as penguins, sharks, tuna and forage fish; and establish policies that protect, maintain, and restore the health of…

Global warming impairs stock–recruitment dynamics of corals

10/06/20
Changes in disturbance regimes due to climate change are increasingly challenging the capacity of ecosystems to absorb recurrent shocks and reassemble afterwards, escalating the risk of widespread ecological collapse of current ecosystems and the emergence…

Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017

10/01/20
The Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. Here we combine satellite observations of its changing volume, flow and gravitational attraction with modelling of its surface mass…

A Decision Framework for Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

10/01/20
Coral reefs are critical to ocean and human life because they provide food, living area, storm protection, tourism income, and more. However, human-induced stressors, such as overfishing, sediment, pollution, and habitat destruction have threatened ocean…

Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records

10/01/20
Accurate sea surface temperature (SST) data are necessary for a wide range of applications, from providing boundary conditions for numerical weather prediction, to assessing the performance of climate modeling, to understanding drivers of marine ecosystem…

Ocean Facts

02/06/20
Get the facts about our ocean and coasts.

IPCC report: The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

09/24/19
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report highlights the urgency of prioritizing timely, ambitious and coordinated action to address unprecedented and enduring changes in the ocean and cryosphere.

Ocean Media Institute

12/16/18
The Ocean Media Institute is a global media collective that serves to create, educate, and advocate for the protection of the ocean. As a creative hub for individuals and organizations worldwide, our goal is to…

Ocean acidification education

09/10/19
The ocean absorbs about 30% of the CO2 that is released in the atmosphere, and as levels of atmospheric CO2 increase, so do the levels in the ocean. When CO2 is absorbed by seawater, a…

MORE NEWS

Ocean Heat Has Shattered Records for More Than a Year. What’s Happening?

By Delger Erdenesanaa   04/10/24  
The ocean has now broken temperature records every day for more than a year. And so far, 2024 has continued 2023’s trend of beating previous records by wide margins. In fact, the whole planet has…
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‘Alarming’ Ocean Temperatures Suggest This Hurricane Season Will Be a Daunting One

By Judson Jones   04/09/24  
A key area of the Atlantic Ocean where hurricanes form is already abnormally warm, much warmer than an ideal swimming pool temperature of about 80 degrees and on the cusp of feeling more like warm…
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The Oceans We Knew Are Already Gone

By Marina Koren   03/07/24  
ven after nearly three months of winter, the oceans of the Northern Hemisphere are disturbingly warm. Last summer’s unprecedented temperatures—remember the “hot tub” waters off the coast of Florida?—have simmered down to a sea-surface average…
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In Hawaii, coral is the foundation of life. What happened to it after the Lahaina wildfire?

By Audrey McAvoy   03/03/24  
Abraham “Snake” Ah Hee rides waves when the surf’s up and dives for octopus and shells when the water is calm. The lifelong Lahaina, Hawaii, resident spends so much time in the ocean that his…
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Florida Keys coral reefs devastated by 2023 heat wave

By Andrew Freedman   02/16/24  
A new survey of five Florida Keys' coral reefs shows extensive damage from a long-lasting and severe marine heat wave last year. Why it matters: Corals are havens for biodiversity, providing shelter for over 25%…
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Coral bleaching is now so extreme, scientists had to expand their scale for it

By Amudalat Ajasa   02/14/24  
For more than a decade, marine experts have relied on an alert scale from the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration to signal how much stress ocean heat is putting on corals and what risk there is…
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It’s Confirmed. A Major Atlantic Ocean Current Is Verging on Collapse.

By Tessa Koumoundouros   02/13/24  
Last year a concerning study suggested one of Earth's major ocean currents is racing towards collapse. Unfortunately, new data now backs that up. "The temperature, sea level and precipitation changes will severely affect society, and…
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Extreme Climate Impacts From Collapse of a Key Atlantic Ocean Current Could be Worse Than Expected, a New Study Warns

By Bob Berwyn   02/09/24  
A new study affirms that a critical system of Atlantic Ocean currents that shunt warm and cold water between the poles is “on course” to a tipping point. If the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation fails…
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Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course

By René M. van and ohers   02/09/24  
One of the most prominent climate tipping elements is the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), which can potentially collapse because of the input of fresh water in the North Atlantic. Although AMOC collapses have been…
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Atlantic Ocean circulation nearing ‘devastating’ tipping point, study finds

By Jonathan Watts   02/09/24  
The circulation of the Atlantic Ocean is heading towards a tipping point that is “bad news for the climate system and humanity”, a study has found. The scientists behind the research said they were shocked…
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Watch Spawning Corals Synchronize With the Night Sky

By Rosa Tuiran   02/06/24  
Once a year, something astounding happens at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It lasts barely half an hour.
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‘Astounding’ ocean temperatures in 2023 intensified extreme weather, data shows

By Damian Carrington   01/11/24  
“Astounding” ocean temperatures in 2023 supercharged “freak” weather around the world as the climate crisis continued to intensify, new data has revealed. The oceans absorb 90% of the heat trapped by the carbon emissions from…
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Climate change is hurting coral worldwide. But these reefs off the Texas coast are thriving

By Jamie Stengle and Others   11/18/23  
Divers descending into azure waters far off the Texas coast dip below a horizon dotted with oil and gas platforms into an otherworldly landscape of undersea mountains crusted with yellow, orange and pink coral as…
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Scientists start returning rescued corals after deadly Florida heat wave

By Andrew Freedman   10/31/23  
Marine scientists are beginning to return rescued corals back to the sea, following record high ocean temperatures off the coast of Florida in recent months.
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A ‘whole way of life’ at risk as warming waters change Maine’s lobster fishing

By Trevor Hughes   10/30/23  
ABOARD THE FISHING VESSEL SHEARWATER ‒ Lobsterwoman Krista Tripp doesn't need a scientist to tell her the normally cold waters off the coast of Maine are warming. The submersible thermometer she takes on every fishing…
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Busted boats, stronger storms: Florida fishers face warming waters

By Trevor Hughes   10/30/23  
ABOARD THE FISHING VESSEL MALOLO ‒ Icy vapor rises from the cargo hold of Capt. Logan Lyons' battered trawler as his crew hoists frozen shrimp onto the deck.
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Climb aboard four fishing boats with us to see how America’s warming waters are changing

By Trevor Hughes   10/30/23  
Alaskan fisherman Garrett Kavanaugh anxiously awaits the first catch of the season, hoping the Dungeness crabs he's chasing haven't suffered the same fate as the vanished snow crabs.
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How hot seas may have fueled Hurricane Otis’s sudden intensification

By Scott Dance   10/26/23  
Off-the-charts warmth in the world’s oceans, so widespread and so far beyond anything ever observed, has stunned climate scientists and meteorologists for months. It set the stage for deadly floods and put Earth on track…
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Ocean acidification set to triple by 2100—what this means for the US coast

By Jess Thomson   09/27/23  
The acidification of the Earth's oceans is expected to triple by 2100, and could lead to major impacts on biodiversity across U.S. coastlines.
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The Beach Is Lovely. The Water, Maybe Not So Much.

By Roni Caryn Rabin   09/20/23  
On a warm day in early July, Ed Houlihan guided kayakers on a four-mile trip on Cape Cod from Popponesset Bay up the Mashpee River to a freshwater pond. It was three hours of paddling…
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AP

Climate change takes habitat from big fish, the ocean’s key predators

By Patrick Whittle   09/14/23  
This year’s marine heat waves and spiking ocean temperatures foretell big changes in the future for some of the largest fish in the sea, such as sharks, tunas and swordfish.
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The Air Was Hot This Year, But It’s Nothing Compared to the Ocean

By Stephen Porder and Baylor Fox-Kemper   09/14/23  
The news is full of record high temperatures. Phoenix broke 110 degrees for 31 straight days. July 3 was the hottest day on Earth since record keeping began, until July 4, then July 6, and…
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WMO

Earth had hottest three-month period on record, with unprecedented sea surface temperatures and much extreme weather

09/06/23  
Earth just had its hottest three months on record, according to the European Union-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) implemented by ECMWF. Global sea surface temperatures are at unprecedented highs for the third consecutive month…
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Lobstermen Face Hypoxia in Outer Cape Waters

By Georgia Hall   09/04/23  
Alex Iacono, a lobsterman who says he favors lobsters and ocean solitude over people, is worried about the future of his business. Iacono, who lives in Truro and fishes out of Provincetown on the F/V…
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Warmer Waters Put Sea Turtles on a Collision Course With Humans

By Georgia Hall   08/31/23  
Rising North Atlantic Ocean temperatures are causing increased numbers of threatened and endangered sea turtles to migrate through Massachusetts waters — heading north in search of food, then back south to their breeding grounds.
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Flesh-Eating Bacteria a Threat in Warm Water

By Christopher Walsh   08/24/23  
As if the extreme heat, exceptionally heavy rainfall events, and out-of-control wildfires that characterize the summer of 2023 were not adequate signals that the climate is changing, in recent weeks a deadly bacterium found in…
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As the Gulf of Maine warms, where are the mussels?

By Sabrina Shankman   08/19/23  
A 2017 study found that as the gulf's waters have drastically warmed in the past 40 years, the population of wild blue mussels has dropped 60 percent along the coast. Since then, those who live…
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Oceans absorb 90% of the heat from climate change — here’s why record ocean temps are so harmful

By Catherine Clifford   08/16/23  
The oceans of the world absorb the overwhelming majority of the heat caused by global warming, creating serious consequences for life in and around them, including humans.
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What’s killing Florida’s coral reefs — and why you should care

By Dino Grandoni and Allyson Chiu   08/09/23  
“Off the charts.” “Disastrous.” “The worst bleaching event that Florida has ever seen.”
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High ocean temperatures are harming the Florida coral reef. Rescue crews are racing to help

By Daniel Kozin and Others   08/09/23  
Steps away from the warming waters of Florida Bay, marine biologist Emily Becker removed covers from the dozens of water-filled tanks under her watchful eye. Nestled in seawater carefully maintained at about 85 degrees Fahrenheit…
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Blazing Ocean Temperatures Threaten Critical Coral Reefs in the Florida Keys

By Angely Mercado   08/04/23  
Scientists and conservationists are working to observe and save coral reefs off the coast of Florida after a year of heat waves and alarming ocean temperatures.
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What This Year’s ‘Astonishing’ Ocean Heat Means for the Planet

By Elena Shao   08/03/23  
Brutal heat waves have baked the world this summer and they haven’t been contained to land. Earth’s oceans are the hottest they have been in modern history, by an unusually wide margin. The planet’s average…
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We’re Gambling With the Only Good Oceans in the Universe

By Marina Koren   08/02/23  
The ocean off the coast of southern Florida is having a long, hot summer. For weeks, surface temperatures hovered around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, before dropping to the 80s last week. The world’s third-largest barrier reef…
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Ocean temperatures are off the charts. Here’s where they’re highest.

By Tim Meko and Dan Stillman   07/28/23  
The Earth’s oceans have never been warmer. Every day since late March, the world’s average sea surface temperature has been well above the previous highest mark for that day. And there will be ripple effects:…
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101°F in the Ocean Off Florida: Was It a World Record?

By Hiroko Tabuchi   07/26/23  
The reading from a buoy off Florida this week was stunning: 101.1 degrees Fahrenheit, or just over 38 Celsius, a possible world record for sea surface temperatures and a stark indication of the brutal marine…
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Scientists detect sign that a crucial ocean current is near collapse

By Sarah Kaplan   07/25/23  
The Atlantic Ocean’s sensitive circulation system has become slower and less resilient, according to a new analysis of 150 years of temperature data — raising the possibility that this crucial element of the climate system…
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Department of Commerce, NOAA launch fund for ocean tech accelerators

By Leah Garden   07/17/23  
Last week, it was announced that the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched the Ocean-Based Climate Resilience Accelerator program with $60 million focused on accelerating the blue economy.
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CNN

Ocean heat around Florida is ‘unprecedented,’ and scientists are warning of major impacts

By Eric Zerkel   07/16/23  
A sudden marine heat wave off the coast of Florida has surprised scientists and sent water temperatures soaring to unprecedented highs, threatening one of the most severe coral bleaching events the state has ever seen.
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Solar Farms Out at Sea Are Clean Energy’s Next Breakthrough

By Bloomberg News   07/14/23  
Buffeted by waves as high as 10 meters (32 feet) in China’s Yellow Sea about 30 kilometers off the coast of Shandong province, two circular rafts carrying neat rows of solar panels began generating electricity…
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Climate Change Is Shifting the Color of Earth’s Oceans

By Margaret Osborne   07/14/23  
More than half of the world’s oceans have changed significantly in color over the past 20 years, with climate change as the likely cause, new research suggests. Oceans around the equator have shifted to a…
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The Real Problem With Deep-Sea Mining Is It Won’t Make Money

By David Fickling   07/13/23  
As if the world wasn’t in enough trouble from the warmest week ever measured and record-low sea ice around Antarctica, big business is already gearing up to ransack yet another unspoiled corner of the globe:…
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Climate Change Is Likely Changing Color Of Oceans, Scientists Say—Here’s Why It Matters

By William Skipworth   07/12/23  
Some 56% of the world’s oceans have become greener over the last two decades, and it's probably because of human-caused climate change, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature that could…
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Climate change to drive increasing overlap between Pacific tuna fisheries and emerging deep-sea mining industry

By Diva J. amon   07/11/23  
In ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction, various legal regimes and governance structures result in diffused responsibility and create challenges for management. Here we show those challenges are set to expand with climate change driving increasing…
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Seafood industry calls for a moratorium on deep-sea mining

By Robin Hicks   07/11/23  
As negotations get underway to establish the rules for mining minerals from the ocean floor, a coalition of seafood industry organisations has called for a moratorium on seabed extraction.
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Seafood industry joins chorus of groups calling for halt to deep-sea mining plans

By Karen McVeigh   07/11/23  
Seafood groups representing a third of the world’s tuna trade as well as major supermarket suppliers are the latest groups to call for a pause on deep-sea mining, after a new study published today showed…
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Florida ocean temperatures at ‘downright shocking’ levels

By Dan Stillman   07/10/23  
Not only is Florida sizzling in record-crushing heat, but the ocean waters that surround it are scorching, as well. The unprecedented ocean warmth around the state — connected to historically warm oceans worldwide — is…
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Sea lions are biting people. They’re sick from toxic algae, officials say.

By Kyle Melnick   07/07/23  
About a month ago, researchers knew there was a problem when hundreds of sea lions began surfacing on Southern California beaches. The charismatic but typically unaggressive sea mammals were biting people who approached them. To…
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Record-breaking North Atlantic Ocean temperatures contribute to extreme marine heatwaves

07/06/23  
Global average sea surface temperatures last month reached unprecedented levels for June. The north Atlantic Ocean recorded exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures, with several extreme marine heatwaves. These were related to short term changes in…
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‘Beyond extreme’ ocean heat wave in North Atlantic is worst in 170 years

By Dan Stillman   06/23/23  
The ocean waters surrounding the United Kingdom and much of Europe are baking in an unprecedented marine heat wave, which scientists say is being intensified by human-caused climate change. Scientists are astounded not only by…
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Sudden Heat Increase in North Atlantic Seas Could Have Devastating Effects

By Cristen Hemingway Jaynes   06/19/23  
Scientists have warned that an extreme marine heat wave off the UK and Ireland coasts is posing a major threat to marine species. According to the official blog of the UK’s Met Office, the global…
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