Category News

Strong chance of a new El Niño forming by early 2019

An image showing the 2015 El Niño with rising temperatures in the Pacific

The World Meteorological Organization says there’s a 75-80% chance of a weak El Niño forming within three months. The naturally occurring event causes changes in the temperature of the Pacific Ocean and has a major influence on weather patterns around the world. It is linked to floods in South America and droughts in Africa and Asia.

El Niño events often lead to record temperatures as heat rises from the Pacific.

According to the WMO update, sea surface temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific have been at weak El Niño levels since October. However the atmosphere has not yet responded to the extra warmth that’s produced by the upwelling seas.

Scientists have been predicting the likelihood of a new event since May this year, with confidence increasing.

The Australian Bureau of...

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Coral Reefs Around The World Are In Grave Danger

Coral reefs are under threat

What’s Happening

One of the most wonderous living things on earth is coral. Humans view its diversity and hues as a gorgeous, underwater decoration. But, it is a living organism that supports the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of species in the underwater ecosystem. Man may appreciate its wonder, but our destructive tendencies are harming this vital member of the oceans and seas. Here’s what you need to know about the grave threats facing coral reefs. If we don’t act soon, we may destroy these beautiful pieces of the earth.

What Exactly Is Coral?

Corals are relatives of the sea anemone. They are all made of the same simple structure: the polyp. The polyp resembles a tin can open at one end: the open end has a mouth surrounded by tentacles...

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Surge in marine refuges brings world close to protected areas goal

A record surge in the creation of marine protected areas has taken the international community close to its goal of creating nature refuges on 17% of the world’s land and 10% of seas by 2020, according to a new UN report. Protected regions now cover more than five times the territory of the US, but the authors said this good news was often undermined by poor enforcement. Some reserves are little more than “paper parks” with little value to nature conservation. At least one has been turned into an industrial zone.

More than 27m square kilometres of seas (7% of the total) and 20m sq km of land (15% of the total) now have protected status, according to the Protected Planet report, which was released on Sunday at the UN biodiversity conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Almost all of th...

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Two killer whales spotted off north Co Dublin coast

Killer Whales off the coast of Dublin

Two killer whales were spotted by fishermen trawler off the coast of Dublin on Saturday, the second sighting in as many weeks in the area. The fishermen captured a video of two killer whales 8kms east of Rockabill, which is off the Dublin coast near Skerries, north Co Dublin.

Two weeks ago, another fishermen on another vessel, spotted a killer whale in the same area, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Padraig Whooley, sighting officer with the IWDG, said the group had validated both recent sightings.

The IWDG was made aware of the video, posted on Facebook by one of the fishermen on the trawler, on Sunday afternoon. “The video footage is great,” Mr Whooley said.

The said the group might validate a dozen confirmed sightings of killer whales in “a good year,” Mr Whoo...

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Why global media must change negative agenda towards sharks

Grey Reef Shark

“It’s all psychological. You yell ‘barracuda!’, people are like ‘Huh?? What?? You yell, ‘shark’ and we got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.”

Those familiar with the film that introduced the world to the concept of a ‘summer blockbuster’ will know that these words are spoken by Larry Vaughn, Mayor of Amity Island, the fictional summer town setting for ‘Jaws’. More than 40 years after it terrified cinemagoers, Jaws remains a legendary piece of film storytelling. Based on Peter Benchley’s actually far more explicit book, its tale centres on a Police Chief’s two-handed battle: on land, against a town mayor with misguided principles, and off shore against a ‘killer shark.’

So why was ‘Jaws’ so successful in creating stampedes of filmgoers to their loca...

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Colombia’s island fishermen dive into battle to protect coral reefs

A native fisherman of Colombia

For nearly three decades, Javier Barker has fished in the Caribbean Sea surrounding the Colombian island of San Andres – but until recently he knew little about the importance of coral reefs that fish depend on to survive. “I used to think corals were just hard stones. I didn’t know that corals are living creatures,” said 40-year-old Barker, who began line fishing as a teenager with his family.

“I now know corals are cradles for fish, and healthier corals equals more fish so corals are important for everyone,” he said.

Worldwide, coral reefs from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean have come under growing stress as a result of rising ocean temperatures caused by climate change and other human-induced pressures including overfishing, pollution and tourism...

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Rare ‘shark nursery’ discovered in deep waters west of Ireland

An enormous shark ”nursery” swarming with the predatory fish and strewn with their eggs has been found in the waters 200 miles off the western Irish coast. The rare discovery was made by a remotely operated vehicle exploring the region’s cold-water coral reefs at depths of around 750m. Scientists observed a large school of blackmouth catsharks, a relatively small species found throughout the northeast Atlantic, alongside the more unusual and solitary sailfin roughshark.

The site’s egg cases, or mermaids purses, are seldom seen in such vast numbers, and are thought to belong to the catsharks.

While there were no shark pups swimming around the site, the researchers behind the SeaRover survey that captured the footage want to keep an eye on events there and potentially watch them h...

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Researchers Can Now Monitor Whales Via Satellite

Humpback Whale

Whales may be largest animals on Earth, but that still doesn’t mean they’re easy to find in the vast oceans they inhabit. In the past, researchers have used acoustic monitoring, aerial surveys and binoculars to keep track of the marine mammals. Each of those techniques, however, can only survey a tiny slice of the oceans. Jonathan Amos at the BBC reports that a new study shows whales can be counted from space, giving conservationists a massive new tool to survey and monitor to creatures.

Researchers have tried to count whales using satellite imagery in the past with limited success since the resolution just wasn’t fine enough. For the new study in the journal Marine Mammal Science, researchers from the British Antarctic Survey and the University of Cambridge gave it another shot, usi...

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Ian Kiernan: The man who wanted to clean up the world

Ian Kiernan founder of Clean up the World

Prominent environmentalist Ian Kiernan, the founder of an iconic Australian anti-litter campaign that expanded into a global success, has died aged 78. The round-the-world yachtsman began the Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World campaigns after being appalled by levels of ocean rubbish in the 1980s.

In 1994, he famously helped come to the rescue of Prince Charles when a protester rushed at him, firing a starting pistol, on a stage in Sydney.

Mr Kiernan had been enduring cancer.

“While we will deeply miss Ian’s guidance and humour, it was his greatest wish that the work he inspired continues,” Clean Up Australia said in a statement on Wednesday.

His first clean-up event took place around Sydney Harbour in 1989, with more than 40,000 volunteers clearing rubbish from the shoreline.

It h...

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How the super rich are saving the seas

Sea Keepers Discovery yachts

It may be a magnet for ocean-going excess, but the Monaco Yacht Show is becoming an increasingly precious jewel in the fight to save our seas. The luxury shop window for mega yachts and boating bling opens with a glitzy gala dinner and charity auction, which raised more than $27 million for marine conservation projects carried out by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

The A-list guests, including Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Adrien Brody and a host of Victoria’s Secret models dressed in dazzling gowns and diamonds, bid on lots ranging from the world’s first luxury electric powerboat to horseback riding with Madonna. On online auction will remain open until December.

But why are the super rich so keen to save the seas?

‘The ocean is their playground’

Environmentalist and explorer Emil...

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