Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Video - Changing Earth: How Dead Zones Form

Video - Changing Earth: How Dead Zones Form



A very useful Video by NASA

Dead Zones Doubling Every Decade


Dead Zones Doubling Every Decade
Submitted by LiveScience Staff
posted: 08 October 2009 03:04 pm ET

Global distribution of the more than 400 marine systems with dead zones caused by increased nutrient runoff. Their distribution matches the current human "footprint" in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, dead zones have only been reported recently.

Earth's oceans currently have more than 400 dead zones, oxygen-starved areas that are hundreds or thousands of square miles and virtually devoid of life during summer months.

The tally is doubling every decade, according to the National Science Foundation.

Most dead zones, including one in the Gulf of Mexico, are caused by pollution that is dumped into oceans by rivers. It works like this:

Each year, spring runoff washes nitrogen-rich fertilizers from farms in the Mississippi River basin and carries them into the river and the streams that feed it. The nitrogen eventually empties out of the mouth of the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico, where tiny phytoplankton feed off of it and spread into an enormous bloom.

When these creatures die, they sink to the ocean floor, and their decomposition strips the water of oxygen. This condition, called hypoxia, prevents animals that depend on oxygen, such as fish or shrimp, from living in those waters. In recent years, this so-called "dead zone" has grown to the size of New Jersey—about 20,000 square kilometers (7,700 square miles)—each summer.

But there's another emerging culprit, the NSF explains in a new special report. Every summer since 2002, the Pacific Northwest's coastal waters -- one of the U.S.'s most important fisheries -- has seen massive dead zones believed to be caused by an entirely different and surprising phenomena: changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation that may, in turn, be caused by climate change.

World must cut CO2 to India levels - David King, UK


World must cut CO2 to India levels: top scientist

2008-05-29 by renewenergy

Rich nations need to cut per-capita greenhouse gas emissions to India’s current levels by mid-century to avoid devastating climate change, Britain’s former chief scientific adviser said on Wednesday.

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) levels from burning fossil fuels were already rising quickly and rich nations needed to quickly figure out how to maintain economic growth while committing to deep cuts in emissions, said David King.

“If you (don’t want) run-away climate change, you need to be at about 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 … We’re currently at 387 ppm CO2, going up at 2 per annum,” said King, director at Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and Environment.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common greenhouse gas, and atmospheric levels are sometimes measured as CO2 in parts per million. Collectively, all greenhouse gases can also be expressed as CO2 equivalent (CO2e).

King said that maintaining atmospheric CO2 levels at 450 ppm risked a 20 percent chance of global temperatures rising nearly 4 degrees Celsius.

“If you include all greenhouse gases, we’re at around 420 ppm CO2e,” he said, speaking at a climate change workshop hosted by Thomson Reuters in London.

He said Europe needed to reduce its annual per-capita emissions by 80 percent, or from 11 tons of CO2e, to India’s current level of 2.2 tons per person by 2050.

The United States, emitting an average of 27 tons of CO2e per person every year, also needs to fall to these levels if the world is to avoid a dramatic rise in temperatures, he said.

“I think that encapsulates the challenge, to move from where we are now to where the Indians are today, while growing the global economy at the same time,” said King.


Failure to do so courted environmental disaster, he said, explaining that melting Arctic sea ice heated up the ocean in the far north much faster because ice reflects a large portion of the sun’s radiation, while open ocean absorbs the sun’s heat.

A rise of several degrees Celsius could also mean the Amazon rainforest drying out, turning it into a big source of carbon dioxide emissions rather than a vast sink for the gas as it is now.

The first round of the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions from 37 industrialized nations, expires in 2012 and governments are scrambling to agree a successor agreement by the end of 2009 at a U.N. meeting in Copenhagen.

If governments fail to reach consensus, King thinks another solution to climate change might be so-called geo-engineering, which uses technology to deliberately modify the environment and to promote human habitability.

“We need to remove the carbon dioxide, I suspect not from the atmosphere because it’s too expensive … but possibly from the oceans as they are acidifying,” King said.

Oceans absorb large amounts of CO2 but increasing levels of the gas in the atmosphere is causing oceans to become more acidic, threatening the food chain and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs.

Making geo-engineering profitable for the private sector by establishing a market price for carbon dioxide might promote research and development in the new technology.

“I haven’t worked out what the price of carbon dioxide would have to be to encourage companies to start pumping it out of the oceans, but that is the way we need to move forward.”

Nualgi and Diatom Algae can remove CO2 from the Oceans very easily and economically

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dead Zones contribute to Nitrous Oxide

'Dead-zone' microbe measures ocean health


"Specifically, SUP05 removes toxic sulphides from the water and fixes carbon dioxide, but we also think it's producing nitrous oxide, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than either carbon dioxide or methane," Hallam said.

there are over 400 dead zones in all the oceans of the world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nitrogen Cycle: Key Ingredient In Climate Model Refines Global Predictions


To date, climate models ignored the nutrient requirements for new vegetation growth, assuming that all plants on earth had access to as much "plant food" as they needed. But by taking the natural demand for nutrients into account, the authors have shown that the stimulation of plant growth over the coming century may be two to three times smaller than previously predicted. Since less growth implies less CO2 absorbed by vegetation, the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are expected to increase.

However, this reduction in growth is partially offset by another effect on the nitrogen cycle: an increase in the availability of nutrients resulting from an accelerated rate of decomposition – the rotting of dead plants and other organic matter – that occurs with a rise in temperature.

Combining these two effects, the authors discovered that the increased availability of nutrients from more rapid decomposition did not counterbalance the reduced level of plant growth calculated by natural nutrient limitations; therefore less new growth and higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected.


This is precisely the problem that Nualgi and Diatoms can tackle very well, by increasing growth of Diatom Algae in any waterbody.

This will take up the excess nutrients and will also capture CO2 and prevent water pollution due to decomposition of plant matter in water and from harmful algal blooms.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

SOS: Is Climate Change Suffocating Our Seas?


SOS: Is Climate Change Suffocating Our Seas?

Posted on: Saturday, 10 October 2009, 08:36 CDT

Scientists work to explain why massive "dead zones" have been invading the Pacific Northwest's near-shore waters since 2002

Yet another ecological scourge may earn a place on the ever-lengthening list of problems potentially caused by climate change: the formation of some so-called "dead zones"—huge expanses of ocean that lose virtually all of their marine life at depth during the summer.

Possible connections between climate change and the relatively recent formation of dead zones in the Pacific Northwest's coastal waters are currently being studied by a research team that is funded by the National Science Foundation and co-led by Jack Barth of Oregon State University (OSU) and Francis Chan of OSU. (Jane Lubchenco, who is currently on leave from OSU while serving as the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also previously co-led the team.)


The Earth currently has more than 400 oceanic dead zones, with the count doubling every decade. A single dead zone may cover tens of thousands of square miles.

Dead zones form where microscopic plants, known as phytoplankton, are fertilized by excess nutrients, such as fertilizers and sewage, that are generated by human activities and dumped into the ocean by rivers, or more rarely, where they are fertilized by naturally occurring nutrients. The result: blooms of organic matter that ultimately decompose through processes that rob the ocean of life-sustaining oxygen. Animals that fail to flee dead zones either suffocate or suffer severe stress.

The reference to Phytoplankton is not entirely correct - Cyanobacteria and Dinoflagalletes may lead to fall in DO level, but Diatom Algae leads to increase in DO level. They do not die and decompose, they are consumed by zooplankton or fall to the ocean floor.

This distinction is not being made by most people.
The solution is to get the right type of Phytoplankton to bloom - Diatom Algae.

Neuse River fish kill update

Neuse River fish kill grows worse

Oilgae Blog article about Nualgi

Nualgi – Algae Nutrient that Cleans Sewage & Grows Fish
Posted on Friday, October 09, 2009 posted by Ecacofonix @ 5:38 AM

The Oilgae Team had an excellent opportunity a couple of weeks back when we visited Bangalore and the Nualgi team that has done awesome work in the field of sewage pond treatment using algae.

The idea sounds simple once you heard it; in fact you would be led to wonder why no one thought of it earlier.


Read the full post at -


Friday, October 9, 2009

Pacific Ocean 'dead zone' in Northwest may be irreversible


Pacific Ocean 'dead zone' in Northwest may be irreversible
Oxygen depletion that is killing sea life off Oregon and Washington is probably caused by evolving wind conditions from climate change, rather than pollution, one oceanographer warns.

By Kim Murphy
October 9, 2009

Reporting from Corvallis, Ore. - An oxygen-depleted "dead zone" the size of New Jersey is starving sea life off the coast of Oregon and Washington and will probably appear there each summer as a result of climate change, an Oregon State University researcher said Thursday.

The huge area is one of 400 dead zones around the world, most of them caused by fertilizer and sewage dumped into the oceans in river runoff.

But the dead zone off the Northwest is one of the few in the world -- and possibly the only one in North America -- that could be impossible to reverse. That is because evolving wind conditions likely brought on by a changing climate, rather than pollution, are responsible, said Jack Barth, professor of physical oceanography at OSU.

"I really think we're in a new pattern, a new rhythm, offshore now. And I would expect [the low-oxygen zone] to show up every year now," Barth said at a news conference.

Thursday's briefing coincided with the release of a National Science Foundation multimedia report that said the number of dead zones worldwide was doubling every decade.

In the Pacific Northwest, the report said, the areas of hypoxic, or low-oxygen, water that long have existed far offshore began to appear closer to land in 2002, a phenomenon that may mean they are even deadlier to sea life that exists near the ocean floor.

Low-oxygen zones are created when large blooms of plankton form on the surface of the ocean, then decay and fall to the sea floor, where further decay eats up the oxygen in the water.

"When oxygen gets too low in the ocean, it has a deleterious effect on organisms," Barth said. "They either have to flee the area, or they get stressed or even die off. Those die-off [areas] are dead zones."

The affected waters of the continental shelf in Oregon and Washington for the most part are not inundated with polluted river runoff; the nutrients that feed the plankton blooms here come from natural sources, Barth said. And researchers believe a change in the flushing movement of water along the coastline may be responsible.

The gradual warming of surface waters across the north Pacific, the report funded by the National Science Foundation said, has tended to isolate deep waters far below the surface -- allowing less oxygen penetration.

There also has been a change in wind patterns, encouraging the upwelling of that low-oxygen water and inhibiting the natural flushing action of water.

"What we're seeing is changes in the oxygen content of the water and the winds that drive the ocean and cause that flushing," Barth said, calling it a "double whammy."

Although it is possible that the phenomenon could be related to cyclical ocean currents and temperatures, Barth said that he was more inclined to believe it was a long-term result of climate change. He said that researchers had scanned records going back to the 1950s and had seen nothing similar to what has appeared every year off the Oregon coast since 2002.

The worst year on record was 2006, when the Pacific Northwest zone saw an area of "anoxia," or virtually no oxygen at all.


Obama task force calls for National Ocean Council


Obama task force calls for National Ocean Council

The Obama administration in September released the first glimpse of a plan to strengthen the way the nation manages the oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes.

President Barack Obama's Ocean Policy Task Force-composed of 24 officials from myriad federal agencies- recommended creating a new National Ocean Council with power to coordinate and hold accountable federal agencies in conservation and marine planning efforts.

"Right now (ocean policy) is done on a piecemeal basis, one agency regulating fisheries, one shipping, one water quality, another national security and there's no real mechanized thinking on how sectors interact with each other," said Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a task force member. "For the first time, we as a nation say loudly and clearly that healthy oceans matter."

The president created the task force to coordinate the federal response to pollution from industrial and commercial activities, rising sea levels and ocean acidification, among other problems.

The new National Ocean Council would replace the Committee on Ocean Policy, instituted by President George W. Bush in 2004, which the task force called "moderately effective."

The council would help coastal communities-whether it be a struggling fishing industry in Northern California or a hurricane-damaged area on the Gulf Coast-through better coordination and strategic planning.

The report also recommends that the federal government view all ocean policy with a "ecosystem-based approach," meaning decisions would be made with an emphasis on understanding how all life would be affected in a given area. Officials said this would be a key philosophical shift in the nation's approach.

The report is short on details about how and when these goals would be achieved, but environmental groups applauded the White House's efforts, calling it is an important first step in achieving badly needed reform.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Maldives ministers to hold underwater cabinet meeting


Maldives ministers to hold underwater cabinet meeting

Posted by sukhmeet on 2009-10-08 00:37:29

The Maldives government is to hold a meeting under water to highlight the perceived threat of global warming and rising sea-levels. The president of the Maldives is desperate for the world to know how seriously his government takes the threat of climate change and rising sea levels to the survival of his country.

The country, a collection of atolls and islands in the Indian Ocean, stands less than two metres above sea level, and as climate change causes seas to rise it will probably be the first nation to sink beneath the waves.

Mohamed Nasheed has organised an underwater cabinet meeting and told all his ministers to get in training for the sub-aqua session.

Six metres beneath the surface, 14 ministers will ratify a treaty calling on other countries to cut greenhouse emissions on 17th October.

Since taking office last year, President Mohammed Nasheed has emerged as an important international voice on the impact of climate change amid fears that rising ocean levels could swamp this Indian Ocean archipelago within a century.

He has announced plans for a fund to buy a new homeland for his people if the Maldives' 1,192 low-lying coral islands are submerged. He also has promised to make the Maldives, with a population of 350,000, the world's first carbon-neutral nation within a decade.

The leader of a nation made up of 1,200 atolls, 80 per cent of which are no more than a metre above sea level, he has also established a fund to seek an alternative homeland, possibly in Sri Lanka, India or Australia for its 330,000 citizens.

In 2007, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that a rise in sea levels of between 18 and 59 centimetres by 2100 would be enough to make the Maldives virtually uninhabitable.

At the meeting, the Cabinet plans to sign a document calling on all countries to cut carbon emissions ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Overfishing are there really plenty of fish in the sea

Overfishing: Are there really plenty of fish in the sea?

Decades of overfishing sent many U.S. fisheries into free fall last century. Can a new focus on sustainability save fish and fishermen from going extinct?

By Russell McLendon

Tue, Oct 06 2009 at 11:30 AM EST

"Worldwide fishing catches grew 400 percent between 1950 and 1994, following centuries of increasingly intensive commercial fishing, but it couldn't last forever — big fisheries began crashing by the late 20th century, and global production leveled off in 1988. U.S. catches peaked six years later at 5.2 million tons, more than double the country's 1950 total, and by 2008 they had fallen back down to 4.1 million, despite rising demand."