• Weather, Risk, and Searching for Normal in a Rapidly Changing World

    How will we adapt to climate change and increasingly severe storms if humans aren’t very good at interpreting risk? Read More +
  • Ocean Acidification, Global Warming’s ‘Evil Twin’

    Richard Feely, senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in Seattle, Washington, charts how humans are altering the fundamental chemistry of the ocean. Read More +
  • Ocean Acidification: A Global Issue Affecting a Maine Oyster Farm

    Faced with larval production problems and recognizing trends, Mook Sea Farm developed a suite of management and mitigation strategies that have restored normal larval production. Read More +
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Popular Features

  • 3D Visualizations for a Three-Dimensional World

    The 3D Scene viewer allows users to model the impact of proposed buildings in this fictional redevelopment scenario in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Users can move through various layers and filters to see if a proposed building will block sunlight or block views for neighbors. Image credit: Esri.

    The 3D Scene viewer allows users to model the impact of proposed buildings in this fictional redevelopment scenario in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Users can move through various layers and filters to see if a proposed building will block sunlight or block views for neighbors. Image Credit: Esri.

    We are swimming in data. It’s becoming increasingly important that we learn how to integrate data sets to give us an accurate picture of what’s going on around us, from fleet and asset management to damage assessment after a natural disaster.

    In the past, you practically needed to possess an advanced degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to make sense of the abundant information available for solving problems. But thanks to emerging technologies, things are getting easier.

    Companies like Esri are creating software platforms… Read More +

  • Altered Waters: Ocean Acidification Leads Shellfish Growers to Adapt for Survival

    Ocean acidification creates big problems for calcifiers (like oysters, mussels, and clams) in the larval stages. These young oysters were spawned in the safe confines of a hatchery. Image Credit: Jenny Woodman

    Ocean acidification creates big problems for calcifiers (like oysters, mussels, and clams) in the larval stages. These young oysters were spawned in the safe confines of a hatchery. Image Credit: Jenny Woodman

    Pulling off the scenic highway that winds up the west coast and through the Puget Sound region, our tires crunch gravel as we enter the parking lot at Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton, Washington. It is difficult to imagine that this modest array of buildings is part of the largest shellfish growing operation in North America. The fifth generation family farm, established in 1889, is based here in Shelton, Washington, and over the years they have added facilities in Canada, California, and Hawaii.

    Inside the processing plant, the smell of the ocean is vivid, fresh but not fishy.

    The sound of machines – conveyor belts, forklifts, and refrigeration equipment – drowns out the voices… Read More +

  • Probing Human Vulnerability to Ocean Acidification Uncovers Mitigation and Adaptation Opportunities

    Sarah Cooley, Ocean Conservancy Julia Ekstrom, U. California Davis Lisa Suatoni, Natural Resources Defense Council

    Ocean acidification has recently elbowed its way onto the list of wicked problems that coastal communities need to plan for. Coastal communities depend on a variety of oceanic goods and services, often led by marine harvests [1]. However, ocean acidification is poised to disrupt this dependence: for example, it jeopardized the Pacific Northwest United States’ shellfish industry for multiple years when upwelling waters soured by ocean acidification killed millions of oyster larvae [2]–[4]. Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels dissolves in seawater, adding even more carbon dioxide to what’s naturally in the water. This extra carbon dioxide changes seawater’s acidity and carbonate ion balance [5]. Pacific oysters are not the only organism harmed by ocean acidification, though. Many types of mollusks, corals, crustaceans, and coralline algae grow more slowly or die [6]–[10] due to ocean acidification, and squid [11]–[13], crustaceans [14]–[16] , and finfish and sharks [17]–[21]  experience changes in metabolism, immunity, olfaction, or behavior that are likely to affect the animals’ chances of survival. Coastal human communities also are threatened by ocean acidification. Communities dependent on shellfish harvests may be harmed most by… Read More +
  • National Congress of Americans Indians and Google Partner to Map Tribal Lands

    Google Maps now includes tribal lands on all basemaps. Image Credit: Google

    Google Maps now includes tribal lands on all basemaps. Image Credit: Google

    What if the place where you live, your home, wasn’t on a map? In a modern digital age, the idea might seem preposterous. The majority of us are carrying more complicated navigation systems in our pockets and purses than the devices that what once guided early spacecraft out of the Earth’s atmosphere. But for some Native Americans living in the U.S., this hasn’t always been the case.

    Since 2012, Google has been working with the National Congress of the American Indians (NCAI) to update Google Maps to accurately reflect the location and boundaries of American Indian reservations in the United States. The project was the result of a partnership between NCAI and Google Earth Outreach. The partnership was fostered by a group of Google employees who are part of Google’s American Indian Network (GAIN).

  • Using Poetry to Promote Science

    April 22 is internationally recognized as Earth Day, and the theme for Earth Day 2015 is “It’s Our Turn to Lead.” With April also being National Poetry Month National Poetry Monthin the United States, it’s an excellent month to look at the how the interface between art, science and poetry can be used to inspire interest in issues facing the natural world.

    Leadership comes in many sizes, rhythms and rhymes.  Perhaps one of the most publicized issues of Earth science is climate change. In 2013 and 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on climate projections and related vulnerabilities.

    The report placed emphasis on the urgency of the problem and the need for action. But dense and thousands of pages long, the report posed an unwieldy read for average members of the public. Ocean climate scientist Gregory Johnson, in an attempt to distill his own thoughts, created haiku poems to describe the key points of IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers.

    Encouraged by his daughter, Johnson then illustrated each poem and shared them on the Internet as… Read More +

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