Feeds

NSF launches oceanic zest test

Buoy to monitor CO2 absorption

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?