Data Provide Evidence That Malaysian Plane Crashed Into Indian Ocean
HONG KONG — Raw satellite transmission data from the vanished
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, released Tuesday by the Malaysian
government, provided further evidence that the plane crashed into the
Indian Ocean after flying south and running out of fuel. Read more
Computer Animation Shows Debris From Japan Tsunami Hitting California Coast Late 2013
Good article from Paul Rogers in the Merc today on the debris
from the Japanese tsunami slowly but surely making its way across the
Pacific. The mass of refuse is expected to hit the west coast in late
2013 or early 2014. Read more
Ice sheets melting at poles faster than before
By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer
Fueled by global warming, polar ice sheets in Greenland and
Antarctica are now melting three times faster than they did in the
1990s, a new scientific study says. Read more
Unexploded bombs lurk in U.S. offshore oil patch: experts
By Eileen O'Grady | Reuters
Source: Yahoo News
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Millions of pounds of unexploded bombs dumped in
the Gulf of Mexico by the U.S. government after World War Two pose a
significant risk to offshore drilling, according to Texas
It is no secret that the United States, along with other governments,
dumped munitions and chemical weapons in oceans from 1946 until the
practice was banned in the 1970s by U.S. law and international treaty,
said William Bryant, a Texas A&M University professor of
As technological advances allow oil companies to push deeper into the
waters of the Gulf of Mexico, these forgotten hazards pose a threat as
the industry picks up the pace of drilling after BP Plc's deadly
Macondo well blowout in 2010 that lead to the largest oil spill in U.S.
Unexploded ordnance has been found in the offshore zone known as
Mississippi Canyon where the Macondo well was drilled.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will auction 38 million
acres of oil and gas leases in the central gulf in March.
The U.S. government designated disposal areas for unexploded ordnance,
known as UXO, off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as in the
Gulf of Mexico. But nearly 70 years after the areas were created, no
one knows exactly how much was dumped, or where the weapons are, or
whether they present a danger to humans or marine life.
"These bombs are a threat today and no one knows how to deal with the
situation," said Bryant. "If chemical agents are leaking from some of
them, that's a real problem. If many of them are still capable of
exploding, that's another big problem."
Disposal zones were designated from Florida to Texas, said Bryant, who
will discuss his research findings at the International Dialogue on
Underwater Munitions conference that begins Monday in San Juan, Puerto
While the practice of dumping bombs and chemical weapons, including
mustard and nerve gas, in the ocean ended 40 years ago some effects are
just beginning to be seen, said Terrance Long, founder of the
underwater munitions conference.
"You can find munitions in basically every ocean around the world,
every major sea, lake and river," Long said. "They are a threat to
human health and the environment."
The oil industry is no stranger to leftovers from the World War Two.
Last year, BP shut its key Forties crude pipeline in the North Sea for
five days while it removed a 13-foot (4-metre) unexploded German mine
found resting cozily next to the pipeline that transports up to 40
percent of the UK's oil production.
BP discovered the mine during a routine pipeline inspection, then spent
several months devising a plan to lift the bomb and move it far enough
from the pipeline to safely detonate it.
In the Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for 23 percent of U.S. oil
production and 7 percent of domestic natural gas output, the hazards
are known, but generally ignored.
In 2001, BP and Shell found the wreckage of the U-166, a German World
War II submarine, 45 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River
during an underwater survey for a pipeline needed to transport natural
gas to shore.
Bryant said he and colleague Neil Slowey have documented discarded
bombs and leaking barrels over the past 20 years while conducting
research for energy companies in the Gulf of Mexico.
Records of where these munitions were dumped are incomplete and experts
believe many dangerous cargoes were "short-dumped," or discarded
outside designated zones.
Bryant said he has come across 500-pound (227-kgs) bombs about 60 miles
off the Texas coast and other ordnance 100 miles offshore, outside
designated zones. At least one Gulf pipeline was laid across a chemical
weapon dump site south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, he said.
While the risk of an underwater bomb exploding may be small,
environmental damage from chemical weapons, such as mustard gas, is
worrisome and needs to be researched, Bryant said.
"We would like to do a survey to be able to say if (this material) is
harmful or not," he said. "The condition of these barrels is
deteriorating, so does it affect anything or not? We ought to know."
Calls and emails to various companies with wells or pipelines in the
gulf seeking comment were not returned. Neither the U.S. Army, nor the
BOEM would comment as well.
Sonar data from a routine seabed survey performed by C&C
Technologies identified munitions in about 3,000 feet of water near a
proposed project, according to a paper presented at the 2007 Offshore
After determining the bombs presented a low-to-moderate risk, the
project continued as planned.
The oil and gas industry needs to do more address the problem, Long
said. "It makes more sense to start dealing with the munitions from a
risk-mitigation standpoint to be able to conduct operations in those
areas rather than trying to avoid that they are there," Long said.
The BOEM, which regulates offshore drilling in federal waters, warns
companies seeking leases to drill or add pipelines about the existence
of unexploded ordnance and requires underwater surveys to assess and
manage the numerous natural and manmade hazards.
(Editing by Chris Baltimore and Leslie Gevirtz)
US to sink ghost ship dislodged by Japan tsunami
The U.S. Coast Guard plans to use explosives to sink a derelict
Japanese ship dislodged by last year's massive tsunami.
Tracking Japan's Tsunami Debris
Japan Tsunami "Ghost Ship" Drifting To Canada
Japan Tsunami Debris May Soon Hit California Coast
this very moment, up to 25 million tons of debris--occupying an area
roughly the size of California--is a on a collision course for the
North American west coast.
The floating wreckage, often called
flotsam, is a result of the massively destructive, 9.0-magnitude
earthquake that struck just off the coast of Japan last March. (read more)
'Pyramids' planted to revive Philippine corals
Thousands of small "pyramids" are being planted off the
Philippines' famous Boracay resort island in an effort to bring its
nearly destroyed coral reefs back to life, an environment group said
Over 300 of the structures were planted this week off
and eventually about 5,000 will be placed in the sea, according to
Sangkalikasan (Nature) which is behind the effort.
Russian scientists reach lake under Antarctica
By Seth Borenstein and Vladimir Isachenkov
Gigantic freshwater reservoir may harbor life from
Earth's distant past
Vostok could hold living organisms that have been locked in icy
darkness for some 20 million years, as well as clues to the search for
life elsewhere in the solar system.
Touching the surface of the
lake, the largest of nearly 400 subglacial lakes in Antarctica, came
after more than two decades of drilling. It was a major achievement
avidly anticipated by scientists around the world.
Bacteria Spreading In Warming Oceans, Scientists Find
In New Report
Sept. 13, 2011
Warning: The warming of the world's oceans can cause
serious illness and may cost millions of euros (dollars) in health care.
That is the alarm sounded in a paper released online Tuesday on the eve
of a two-day conference in Brussels.
657 New Islands Discovered Worldwide
OurAmazingPlanet StaffDate: 19 April 2011
Here's something you don't see every day — hundreds of new islands have
been discovered around the world.
Earth has 657 more barrier islands than previously thought, according
to a new global survey by researchers from Duke University and Meredith
College in Raleigh, N.C.
The researchers identified a total of
2,149 barrier islands worldwide using satellite images, topographical
maps and navigational charts. The new total is significantly higher
than the 1,492 islands identified in a 2001 survey conducted without
the aid of publicly available satellite imagery. (Read more)
Japan Nuke Plant Dumps Millions of Gallons of
Radioactive Water Into Pacific
AOL News, Apr 4, 2011
-- Workers began pumping more than 3 million gallons of contaminated
water from Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean
on Monday, freeing storage space for even more highly radioactive water
that has hampered efforts to stabilize the reactors.
take about two days to pump most of the less-radioactive water out of
the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, whose cooling systems were
knocked out by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
is quickly diluted in the ocean, and government officials said the dump
should not affect the safety of seafood in the area.
Indian Ocean Corals Walloped by Warming
By Julia Whitty, Mon Aug. 16, 2010
dramatic rise in sea surface temperatures off Indonesian has resulted
in a large-scale coral bleaching event and the death of up to
percent of coral cover. Rising water temperatures stress corals. If
stressed enough, they expel their plant symbionts: the zooxanthellae
that give corals color and perform many of their important metabolic
activities. Without their plant partners, corals weaken and will
eventually die. (Read more)
Holder Emphasizes 11 Dead When Discussing DOJ
Investigation of BP Disaster
it is not news that DOJ is conducting an investigation of the Deepwater
Horizon disaster, Eric Holder’s speech in New Orleans about the spill
reiterated that DOJ is doing so. I’m most interested in the particular
emphasis Holder placed on the 11 men who died in the explosion.
Greenpeace activists scale BP's London headquarters in
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 20 May
2010 11.19 BST Article history
Campaigners unfurl flag calling company British
Polluters in protest over Gulf of Mexico disaster
Two activists scaled the BP building in London today in protest at the
Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Greenpeace campaigners hoisted a flag depicting the multinational's
logo smothered in oil and emblazoned with the words "British Polluters"
from a balcony above the entrance of the company's UK headquarters in
St James's Square, near Pall Mall.
Scientists say Florida's Coral Reef has Diminished by
Over 50 Percent
By Zulima Palacio
Key Largo, Florida
27 June 2009
Tourism and sport fishing represent a multimillion
industry for the Florida Keys. But according to experts, the coral reef
there has diminished more than 50 percent, and the fish count within
the reef is now at its lowest level.
The Florida Keys are a favorite tourist destination. It's fishing, warm
weather, beaches and marine life together comprise a multi-million
dollar industry, but the changes taking place beneath the waters
threaten the industry.
Margaret Miller is a coral reef researcher at the National marine
"For the Florida Keys' reefs, overall, the live coral cover has
diminished by 50 to 80 percent in the past 10 years," she said.
Many factors have influenced the decline of the coral reef, including
pollution, climate change, coastal developments like housing and
shopping centers and over-fishing. Miller says all those factors leave
coral reefs weak and unable to recover from illnesses that scientists
do not yet know how to cure. Sadly, she adds, studying coral
populations during the last decade has meant watching them die. Source:
Merchant ships top list of polluters in world
Written by Cosmas Butunyi
May 07, 2009
Merchant ships have been blamed for contributing to
littering of the world’s oceans. According to the report, there are
640,000 tonnes of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear in oceans,
accounting for 10 per cent of all marine litter. Full
story at: Business Daily
For the World's Oceans - A Disturbing Early
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009 11:30 AM by Sam Singal
By Ian Williams, NBC News correspondent
Will Howard used to think the biggest threat to the
oceans came from the things you could see - like the detritus clogging
so many our estuaries and coastal regions. Now he's found new evidence
of how invisible changes in the chemistry of the water pose a
disturbing new threat to life in the oceans. Full story
Bush On Environment
10 January 2009
The United States has recently shown bold environmental
leadership by designating vast tracts of territory in the Pacific Ocean
as protected habitats.
President George Bush set aside 3 huge areas as new marine national
monuments, and in doing so created the world’s largest marine protected
reserve system, conserving reefs, atolls and underwater formations that
are home to a stunningly diverse array of unique species.
The first area is the Marianas Trench Marine National
It encompasses the deepest point on Earth and the surrounding arc of
undersea volcanoes and thermal vents. This unique geological
region supports life in some of the harshest conditions imaginable and
is the only known location of liquid sulfur this side of
Jupiter. By studying these pristine waters, scientists can
our understanding of tropical marine ecosystems.
The second new monument is the Pacific Remote Islands. It
areas to the far south and west of Hawaii. One is Wake Island
the site of a pivotal battle in World War II and a key habitat for
nesting seabirds and migratory shorebirds. The region includes some of
the most pristine and spectacular coral reefs in the world.
The Rose Atoll Marine National Monument is the third area to be set
aside for its scientific significance. Rose is a
island to the east of American Samoa and is home to colonies of rare
Taken together, these 3 new national monuments cover nearly 200,000
square miles of federally protected land and sea. These steps
among others, said President Bush, "are the capstone of an 8-year
commitment to strong environmental protection and conservation."
"With all these steps," said President Bush, "we have charted the way
toward a more promising era in environmental stewardship."
Map shows toll on world's oceans
By Helen Briggs, Science reporter, BBC News, Boston
13 February 2008
Only about 4% of the world's oceans remain undamaged by
activity, according to the first detailed global map of human impacts
on the seas.A study in Science journal says climate change, fishing,
pollution and other human factors have exacted a heavy toll on almost
half of the marine waters. Full story at: BBC