Feeds

NSF launches oceanic zest test

Buoy to monitor CO2 absorption

High performance access to file storage

The first ever system designed specifically to measure the acid levels in the oceans was launched this week. The project, funded by the US's National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to determine how much CO2 the Pacific Ocean absorbs each year.

Steven Emerson of the University of Washington, the project's lead scientist, commented: "This is the first system specifically designed to monitor ocean acidification. The instruments will measure the air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen gas in addition to the pH, a measure of ocean acidity, of the surface waters."

A ten-foot diameter buoy carrying all the instruments is now anchored in water nearly 5,000 metres deep in the Gulf of Alaska. According to the NSF, as soon as it hit water, the buoy started transmitting data via satellite.

Seas become more acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide. The interest in oceanic pH lies partly in the fact that an increase in their acidity, or fall in pH, suggests an increase in the levels of these gases in the atmosphere. But the pH of the oceans is also vital to the health of marine life, and scientists see acidification as a growing threat to the health of our marine systems.

In 2005, the Royal Society (RS) reported that evidence indicated the overall pH of the oceans' surface had fallen by 0.1 units over the last 200 years as they have absorbed around half of all man-made CO2 emissions. The pH could fall a further 0.5 units by 2100, the RS said.

The phenomenon is also essentially irreversible in our lifetimes. The Royal Society says it will take tens of thousands of years for the oceans to return to their pre-industrial state.

Fred Lipschultz, programme director in NSF's division of ocean sciences, said: "Information from this buoy will lead to a better understanding of ocean acidification by helping scientists determine exactly how physical and biological processes affect carbon dioxide in the north Pacific Ocean."

Last month, scientists at the British Antarctic Survey voiced concerns that the southern ocean is reaching saturation point, and reported a recent release of stored CO2. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.