Pacific heat wave threatens coral reefs in Hawaii and other regions

September 25, 2019 by  
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Researchers predict a major marine heat wave in the Pacific Ocean could prove disastrous to the fragile coral reefs along Hawaii’s Papa Bay and similar coastlines. Warmer water conditions often trigger coral bleaching, a condition that leaves coral reefs susceptible to mortality. Coral reefs play a very significant environmental and ecological role. As a habitat, for instance, they support many species in the marine environment. Coral reefs likewise serve as a protective barrier, buffering shorelines against deleterious wave action, especially during typhoon season, to minimize coastal damage and to prevent erosion. Healthy reefs contribute to local economies, particularly through tourism as well as commercial and recreational fishing. Related: ‘The Blob’ returns — marine heatwave settles over Pacific Unfortunately, when water is too warm, coral become stressed. They consequently expel the algae , or zooxanthellae, that live in their tissues. In doing so, coral turn white, a condition known as bleaching. Prolonged loss of the algae eventually leads to the coral’s demise. When coral reefs are compromised, the loss cascades, often causing far-reaching ecosystem repercussions. Back in 2015, a prominent marine heat wave eliminated half of the Papa Bay coastline’s coral reefs that surround Hawaii’s Big Island. This year, marine scientists associated with NOAA similarly predict that another round of very warm water will occur in the region once again. “In 2015, we hit temperatures that we’ve never recorded ever in Hawaii ,” NOAA oceanographer Jamison Gove said. “What is really important — or alarming, probably more appropriately — about this event is that we’ve been tracking above where we were this time in 2015.” Earlier this September, NOAA researchers warned of the Blob’s return. The Blob — the moniker coined by Washington state climatologist Nick Bond during the 2015 heat wave — describes the vast expanse of unusually warm water that occurred in the Pacific Ocean from 2014 to 2016. It adversely impacted coral reefs, causing global bleaching and diminished coastal fisheries’ yields throughout the Pacific. To date, this year’s Blob is reportedly the second-largest marine heat wave ever recorded in the past 40 years, just behind the 2014 – 2016 Blob. As a result, forecasts anticipate an even warmer October, which could critically undermine the coral that are still recovering from the first Blob. “Temperatures have been warm for quite a long time,” Gove continued.  “It’s not just how hot it is — it’s how long those ocean temperatures stay warm.” While scientists are not yet able to pinpoint the exact causes for ocean temperatures warming, it is believed human-influenced climate change is a salient factor. Restoration efforts are in the works. Research suggests coral can be conditioned to withstand future onslaught of warmer water. Both scientists and coral hobbyists are on a mission to breed “super corals” resilient enough to avoid bleaching. It is hoped the introduction of these “super corals” into the environment will fortify reefs to better evolve amidst global warming conditions. Via Associated Press Images via Terri Stewart and NOAA

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Pacific heat wave threatens coral reefs in Hawaii and other regions

Australia is investing over $377 million to protect and restore the Great Barrier Reef

May 1, 2018 by  
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The Great Barrier Reef provides $6.4 billion AUD to the economies of Australia and the Australian state Queensland a year — and now the Australian government aims to protect that asset with what they say is the largest ever single investment in the reef . They’ll pour over $500 million AUD, or around $377 million, into “the planet’s greatest living wonder” — which is at risk. The Australian government is investing millions in the Great Barrier Reef to “protect thousands of jobs, improve water quality, tackle coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish and implement scientific reef restoration.” NPR reported just over 11 percent of this money will go to marine park and federal agencies, with $444 million AUD, or around $335 million, going to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation . Related: Rising ocean temperatures are cooking the Great Barrier Reef to death $40 million AUD of the money for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation will go towards reef health monitoring, $45 million AUD to other work including coastal clean-ups and community engagement like indigenous traditional knowledge, and $58 million AUD to fighting the starfish. $100 million AUD will go towards “harnessing the best science to implement reef restoration” as well as funding research supporting adaptation and resilience. $201 million AUD will go towards improving water quality, starting on land: with farming practices like lowered fertilizer use and “adopting new technologies and land management practices.” The Great Barrier Reef is in trouble. It suffered from coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Since 2016, around half of the reef has died, according to Forbes . The waters around the Reef warmed due to El Niño and climate change , and corals have perished. Heat stress from global warming (right) killed 30% of corals in 8 months (left). In the north, 50% died. Then it happened again in 2017. To save the #GreatBarrierReef , WE NEED TO TACKLE GLOBAL WARMING. https://t.co/YeW6ymNDok pic.twitter.com/m5GGgWWxS9 — Terry Hughes (@ProfTerryHughes) April 29, 2018 Surprise – not a single mention of #climatechange nor the massive coal mines that are driving the destruction of the Reef in this PR blurb for the government! https://t.co/axBhiHcNx7 — Christopher Wright (@ChristopherWr11) April 29, 2018 Government that wants to put public money into coal mines and coal power plants announces Reef package for all the factors harming the reef other than the ocean warming that will kill it https://t.co/tcl1n0PrHn — Tom Swann (@TOM_SWANN) April 29, 2018 Will the investment be enough to save the reef? Business Insider said experts have criticized the plans for their failure to address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, seen as the root cause of the reef’s struggles. + Great Barrier Reef Foundation Via NPR , Forbes , and Business Insider Images via Depositphotos and Matt Kieffer on Flickr

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Australia is investing over $377 million to protect and restore the Great Barrier Reef

7 transforming mobile homes for adventuring in the great outdoors

May 1, 2018 by  
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The days of stuffing the family and gear into a cramped, dark camper are long gone. Today’s transforming mobile homes are packed with technology that allows them to expand at the push of a button, double (or triple) in size, and conquer the most rugged of landscapes. Read on to check out seven high-tech tiny homes on wheels for nature-loving wanderers. The De Markies Trailer triples in size There are few things we love more than a tiny camper that doubles in size — unless it’s a camper that triples in size. At first glance, the incredible De Markies trailer doesn’t look like much of a camper. It’s a tiny, nondescript box on wheels — until its accordion-like ends are folded out, tripling its interior space. The inside is equipped with collapsible furniture, a full kitchenette with a four-person dinette table and a spacious lounge area that can adjust to be open-air. The De Markies camper was created by Dutch designer Eduard Bohtlingk more than thirty years ago, proving that good, strategic design is timeless. The Air Opus camper inflates in 90 seconds Adventurers know the value of being efficient while on the road — and that’s why the Air Opus is a godsend. The innovative camper is equipped with a self-inflating system that pops up in 90 seconds flat, with just a simple flick of a switch. The added space and saved time are great advantages when setting up camp. When it’s time to hit the road again, the Air Opus has quick-release valves that deflate the camper in 30 seconds. The entire structure can be folded up and ready to go in less than two minutes. The Homie expands in a minute When it comes to the next generation of miniature recreational vehicles, the cute little Homie — designed by Wide Path Camper — is leading the pack. When folded up, the camper measures just 58 inches long, 57 inches high and 39 inches wide. But when the outer shell is rotated back 90 degrees and fastened to the front inner shell, it expands its interior substantially. Its compact size and handy setup make it a great weekend camper. Related: Solar-powered EarthCruiser camper expands at the push of a button Beauer’s camper telescopes to 3X its size Tiny and sleek, the Beauer 3X embodies all there is to love about the modern-day trailer. French company Beauer was inspired by the compact ease that a typical tear drop camper offers, but wanted to increase floor size when parked. Using a “nestled can” design, the Beauer 3X structure expands outward to three times its size in about 20 seconds. The Sealander pulls double duty as a boat Campers often cater to land-loving adventurers, but rarely do we see a design crafted to go on both land and water. The Sealander is an innovative, one-of-a-kind caravan that pulls double duty as a boat. Once on-site, the camper just needs a motor attachment before being eased into the water. A sun roof gives the camper an open-air option while navigating the high seas… or just any old lake. All of its components are corrosion free, so rust will never be a problem. Fiftyten turns any pickup into a tiny home Fiftyten Adventure System can transform most pickup trucks into tiny mobile homes. The camper is comprised of three parts: first, a simple tray with side storage and a pull-out rear drawer provides space for supplies. Second, a large box that fits on the tray can be equipped with a kitchen module. And finally, a pop-up camper on top of the box provides extra space for sleeping, or it can serve as a storage area for bikes, kayaks and other gear. The Doubleback extends 6 feet in an instant At first glance, the Doubleback Van looks like a normal van. However, the vehicle hides a few astonishing secrets within its humble exterior. With just the press of a button, a rear compartment automatically slides outward, doubling the interior space. The top of the van has a roof that can be elevated, revealing space for a drop-down bed and three windows. Inside, there is another fold-out bed, a dining area and a small kitchen. The strategic space-extending features allow the Doubleback Van to comfortably house four people. Images via Eduard Bohtlingk, Opus Campers , Wide Perth Camper, Beauer, Sealander , Fiftyten , and Doubleback Van

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7 transforming mobile homes for adventuring in the great outdoors

The Hydrous is creating 3D maps the world’s coral reefs to track their health

November 24, 2015 by  
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