Images of new bleaching on Great Barrier Reef heighten fears of coral death

GR:  An update on the continuing bleaching disaster. It appears to me that the fossil-fuel industry has purchased the Australian government and directing the government to permit for-profit developments harmful to the reef.

“The embattled Great Barrier Reef could face yet more severe coral bleaching in the coming month, with areas badly hit by last year’s event at risk of death.

Newly bleached corals discovered near Palm Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Photograph: Australian Marine Conservation Society

“Images taken by local divers last week and shared exclusively with the Guardian by the Australian Marine Conservation Society show newly bleached corals discovered near Palm Island.

“Most of the Great Barrier Reef has been placed on red alert for coral bleaching for the coming month by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Its satellite thermal maps have projected unusually warm waters off eastern Australia after an extreme heatwave just over a week ago saw land temperatures reach above 47C in parts of the country.

Newly bleached coral. Most of the reef has been placed on red alert for coral bleaching for the coming month by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Photograph: Australian Marine Conservation Society

“According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, sea surface temperatures from Cape Tribulation to Townsville have been up to 2C higher than normal for the time of year for more than a month.” –Elle Hunt (Continue reading:  Images of new bleaching on Great Barrier Reef heighten fears of coral death | Environment | The Guardian.)

Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate

GR:  Here’s some really bad news. It’s been expected, but it hasn’t been confirmed until now. Global warming is robbing the oceans of the oxygen necessary for life. This is just another extinction threat from global warming.

ocean-dead-zone-in-gom-2013-august

Dead Zones like this one in the Gulf of Mexico are spreading worldwide.

“A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues.The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change.

“The loss of ocean oxygen “has been assumed from models, and there have been lots of regional analysis that have shown local decline, but it has never been shown on the global scale, and never for the deep ocean,” said Schmidtko, who conducted the research with Lothar Stramma and Martin Visbeck, also of GEOMAR.

“Ocean oxygen is vital to marine organisms, but also very delicate — unlike in the atmosphere, where gases mix together thoroughly, in the ocean that is far harder to accomplish, Schmidtko explained. Moreover, he added, just 1 percent of all the Earth’s available oxygen mixes into the ocean; the vast majority remains in the air.” –Chris Mooney (More:  Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate – The Washington Post).

Here’s another blog post covering this news.

‘Extremely High Levels’ Of Toxic Pollutants Found In Deepest Parts Of World’s Oceans

GR: We can reverse some of our environmental impacts by removing toxic waste and restoring native species. However, some of the things we’ve done seem irreversible. Here’s a report on deep-ocean pollution that, like climate change, is another of the marks of our presence that will persist long after we’re gone. The subtitle sums it up:  “There’s literally no escaping mankind’s mess.”

Alan Jamieson/Newcastle University Hirondellea gigas are voracious scavengers that consume anything that comes down from the surface.

“Not even the very deepest, darkest depths of Earth’s oceans can escape mankind’s legacy of toxic pollution.

“In a shocking discovery highlighting the interconnectedness of our planet, scientists have detected “extremely high levels” of organic chemicals in the fatty tissue of amphipods, a type of crustacean, living in Mariana trench ― the deepest part of the world’s oceans.

Garbage in the Pacific Ocean (Huffington Post).

“We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” study author Alan Jamieson, a marine ecologist at Newcastle University in Britain, said in a statement.” –Chris D’Angelo (More:  ‘Extremely High Levels’ Of Toxic Pollutants Found In Deepest Parts Of World’s Oceans | The Huffington Post.)