Earth

KINGSTON, R.I. – December 15, 2008 – The elevated carbon dioxide levels expected to be found in the world's oceans by 2100 will likely lead to physiological impairments of jumbo (or Humboldt) squid, according to research by two University of Rhode Island scientists.

The results of a study by Brad Seibel, URI assistant professor of biological sciences, and Rui Rosa, a former URI post-doctoral student now on the faculty at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, is reported in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two giant plumes of hot rock deep within the earth are linked to the plate motions that shape the continents, researchers have found.

The two superplumes, one beneath Hawaii and the other beneath Africa, have likely existed for at least 200 million years, explained Wendy Panero, assistant professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University.

Rocky Mountain ski areas face dramatic changes this century as the climate warms, including best-case scenarios of shortened ski seasons and higher snowlines and worst-case scenarios of bare base areas and winter rains, says a new Colorado study.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers watching the loss of ice flowing out from the giant island of Greenland say that the amount of ice lost this summer is nearly three times what was lost one year ago.

The loss of floating ice in 2008 pouring from Greenland's glaciers would cover an area twice the size of Manhattan Island in the U.S., they said.

Jason Box, an associate professor of geography at Ohio State, said that the loss of ice since the year 2000 is 355.4 square miles (920.5 square kilometers), or more than 10 times the size of Manhattan.

Honolulu, HI—Farming of fish in ocean cages is fundamentally harmful to wild fish, according to an essay in this week's Conservation Biology.

Using basic physics, Professor Neil Frazer of the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa explains how farm fish cause nearby wild fish to decline. The foundation of his paper is that higher density of fish promotes infection, and infection lowers the fitness of the fish.

Massive swarms of stinging jellyfish and jellyfish-like animals are transforming many world-class fisheries and tourist destinations into veritable jellytoriums that are intermittently jammed with pulsating, gelatinous creatures. Areas that are currently particularly hard-hit by these squishy animals include Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the east coast of the U.S., the Bering Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Australia, the Black Sea and other European seas, the Sea of Japan, the North Sea and Namibia.

Climate change is hampering the long-term recovery of rivers from the effects of acid rain, as wet weather counteracts improvements, according to a new study by Cardiff University.

The research, by Professor Steve Ormerod and Dr Isabelle Durance of the School of Biosciences, took place over a 25 year period around Llyn Brianne in mid-Wales. Their findings are published online today in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

PULLAUP, WA – This Christmas season, think twice about spending money on a commercial flame retardant for your Christmas tree. The good, old-fashioned method—keeping your tree in a container of fresh water—is probably all you need to keep your tree green and healthy. Researchers have determined that some flame retardants don't work on cut Christmas trees; in fact, in several cases the chemical retardants sped up the drying process and made trees more flammable.

This has made it possible to determine, for the first time, the frequency of such polar lows in the past.

Subsequent statistical analysis of data generated for the last 60 years revealed no direct correlation between global warming and the incidence of polar lows.

The results from the Institute for Coastal Research in Geesthacht have now been published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Treacherous winds

Stanford, CA— Researchers have discovered that the ocean's chemical makeup is less stable and more greatly affected by climate change than previously believed. The researchers report in the December 12, 2008 issue of Science* that during a time of climate change 13 million years ago the chemical makeup of the oceans changed dramatically. The researchers warn that the chemical composition of the ocean today could be similarly affected by climate changes now underway – with potentially far-reaching consequences for marine ecosystems.