Scientists will attempt to be the first to drill into Earth’s mantle

April 21, 2017 by  
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Scientists want to plumb the Earth for one of its last secrets. An international group of researchers led by  Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology say they plan to be the first to successfully drill into the mantle, that is, the region sandwiched between the planet’s outer crust and its inner core. Although the mantel makes up about 80 percent of the Earth’s mass, much of it remains a geological enigma. “We don’t know the exact [composition] of the mantle yet,” researcher Natsue Abe told CNN . To access the mantel, JAMSTEC will deploy the Chikyu, one of its biggest and most sophisticated drilling vessels, to penetrate 2.5 miles of ocean, then another 3.7 miles of sea floor (a.k.a the crust). The Japanese government is backing the expedition in the hopes that the data gleaned will help scientists better predict earthquakes. Related: Geologists find seventh continent hiding in plain sight “In Japan we have some volcanoes, earthquakes and such kind of natural hazards,” Abe said. “People [want to create] some monitoring or analysis equipment but we don’t know … what kind of factor to use. So we need to know the natural system more clearly or precisely … we have to observe the Earth more precisely.” All three drilling sites currently under consideration are located in the Pacific Ocean. The first is off Hawaii, the second off Costa Rica, and the third is off Mexico. “We already drilled and have taken some samples from the ocean floor but [only] from the top,” Abe said. “[We want] to dig from the ocean floor to the deep pristine mantle.” Via CNN Earth image via Wikimedia  and Flickr

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Scientists will attempt to be the first to drill into Earth’s mantle

New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

April 20, 2017 by  
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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t the only place where plastic pollution is gathering in the world’s oceans . An international team of scientists from 12 institutions in eight countries recently discovered a new garbage patch in the Greenland and Barents seas north of Norway. Between 100 and 1,200 tons of plastic have concentrated there, threatening wildlife already grappling with climate change . The Tara Expeditions Foundation dragged for plastic in the Arctic Ocean to find the new Arctic garbage patch. They visited 42 sites, and found over a third of the locations didn’t have any plastic. But then they found plastic amassing in Arctic waters above Norway. The garbage patch is smaller than the Pacific or Mediterranean garbage patches, but researchers hadn’t anticipated finding so much trash in that part of the Arctic, previously considered to be quite pristine. Related: World’s first ocean trash recon mission is complete – and the results are way worse than we thought Andrés Cózar of the University of Cádiz in Spain told The Verge, “We did not expect to find high concentrations of plastic there, so far from the populated regions and the large sources of plastic pollution.” He’s the lead author on a study published online yesterday in the journal Science Advances . So where’s all the trash coming from? Europe and America’s East Coast are likely at fault. Study co-author Erik van Sebille, who during the research was with Imperial College London and now works for the Netherlands’ Utrecht University , told The Verge, “If a plastic bottle or a plastic bag gets into the Atlantic from Europe or the East Coast of the U.S., that has a very good chance of ending up in the Arctic. The problem with plastic specifically being in the Arctic is that it’s going to get into the food chain of animals that are very much under threat already, that are struggling to survive in a changing climate.” Via The Verge Images © Anna Deniaud/Tara Expeditions Foundation

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New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

Arctic Ocean undergoes ‘massive shift,’ becoming more like Atlantic

April 7, 2017 by  
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Increasing temperatures aren’t the only factor to blame for dramatic Arctic sea ice loss. An international team of 16 scientists led by the International Arctic Research Center in Alaska discovered warm currents from the Atlantic Ocean are snaking up to the Arctic and melting ice from below. They call this phenomenon the Atlantification of the Arctic. Scientists placed sensors in the Arctic seas in 2002, and the information they’ve gathered isn’t good. The Arctic Ocean’s behavior has undergone a massive shift, according to physical oceanographer Finlo Cottier of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, who was not part of the study. Related: Scientists hatch crazy $500 billion plan to refreeze the Arctic Warm Atlantic currents have a lot to do with this change, according to research published online by Science yesterday. The scientists looked at the Eurasian basin, or one of two basins in the Arctic Ocean divided by a ridge far beneath the surface. The Eurasian basin is north of Europe and Asia. Scientists have long known warm Atlantic currents prevent ice formation on the western side of the Eurasian basin north of Scandinavia . But now it seems those currents are working against ice on the eastern side north of Siberia too. Atlantic currents stream into the Arctic at depths of around 656 to 820 feet, with temperatures around four degrees Celsius higher than surface water. When they mix with surface water, which cools and falls in winter, the mixed water is a little warmer overall so the ocean has little sea ice. On the Eurasian basin’s eastern side a barrier known as the cold halocline layer (CHL) used to prevent much of that mixing. But now the eastern side is becoming more like the western side. Summer sea ice once helped form the CHL, but without that ice the ocean mixes more – and then not as much ice forms. Study lead author Igor Polyakov of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks told Science , “Previously this monster, Atlantic warm water, was well covered from the surface” by the CHL. “The new data show this layer has disappeared in winter.” Cottier told Science , “Here we’re seeing an ocean basin changing on a generational timescale – or less.” Via Inverse and Science Images via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Arctic Ocean undergoes ‘massive shift,’ becoming more like Atlantic

Large section of Arctic Ocean is six times more acidic than 20 years ago

March 16, 2017 by  
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Ocean acidification is increasing rapidly in the Arctic Ocean . New research from an international team reveals between the 1990’s and 2010, the area of acidified water expanded northward by around 300 nautical miles from near Alaska nearly up to the North Pole . The depth of acidified waters hiked up too, from around 325 feet to more than 800 feet. 13 scientists from institutions in China, Sweden, and the United States scrutinized data from the 1990’s up through 2010 to see how acidification has escalated in the Arctic Ocean, and they found both area and depth of acidified waters spread. Acidity in the area is six times greater than it was 20 years ago. Paper co-author Wei-Jun Cai of the University of Delaware said in a statement, “The Arctic Ocean is the first ocean where we see such a rapid and large-scale increase in acidification, at least twice as fast as that observed in the Pacific or Atlantic oceans.” The journal Nature Climate Change published their research online in late February. Related: Melting Arctic Seas are Turning into Giant Pools of Acid, Researchers Warn There are a few possible reasons for such rapid acidification. One is the lack of summer sea ice ; water is exposed to the atmosphere for lengthier periods of time now and therefore has more time to absorb acidifying gas like carbon dioxide . Currents in the atmosphere have also sent Pacific Ocean water, which tends to be more acidic, into the Canada Basin. Co-author Richard Feely of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the combination of those two phenomenon likely led to the speedy acidification. Naturally the news isn’t great for marine life. Feely said mussels, clams, and small sea snails may have a hard time maintaining or building their shells in acidified waters. As sea snails in particular are an important source of food in the Arctic food web, sustaining herring and salmon, their decline could impact the rest of the marine ecosystem . Via the University of Delaware and the Toronto Star Images via Pixabay and Tammy Beeson/University of Delaware

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Large section of Arctic Ocean is six times more acidic than 20 years ago

NYC’s first WELL-certified office boasts a host of health-boosting features

March 16, 2017 by  
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Structure Tone , one of Manhattan’s largest construction firms, isn’t giving “sick building syndrome” a chance. Its new headquarters at 330 West 34th Street is the first in New York City to be certified WELL , meaning that it’s deliberately designed to boost the wellbeing of the people inside it. The 82,000-square-foot office space received a Silver rating for a host of prescriptive features, including flooring, soundproofing, furniture, paint, and sealants that have low or no volatile organic compounds—that is, toxic gas emissions that frequently contribute to indoor pollution. Other pro-health elements include scrupulous air and water filtration, circadian-attuned lighting that promises to foster alertness in the day and better rest at night, and sit-and-stand desks so employees can keep their bodies limber and moving. Structure Tone even brought in acoustic consultants to dampen ambient noise and minimize distractions. Related: Foster + Partners aims to be first WELL-certified NYC tower Nutrition-wise, the company has its staff covered, as well. An on-site café serves up plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, along with beverages that contain less than 25 grams of sugar. There is also an automated system that allows employees to “customize their own health profile” and learn to make more nourishing choices. “Targeting WELL certification for our new office was important to us not only for our employees’ health and wellness, but also to ensure as construction managers that we understand what it takes to build these kinds of spaces,” said James Donaghy, chairman of the board at Structure Tone. “We have already seen our clients incorporating wellness into their built environments and firmly believe WELL will play a strong role in the workplaces of the future.” Related: Tour the WELL-certified building where Leonardo DiCaprio recently purchased an apartment Although less widely known than programs such as LEED , the WELL Building Standard offers a new paradigm for our built environment, chiefly by incorporating features that promote the mind and body. It’s not meant to supplant environmental building certifications, according to the International WELL Building Institute, but rather augment them. And the captains of industry had best pay attention. “Having Structure Tone achieve the first WELL certification in New York for its headquarters is indicative of its global leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, chairman and CEO of IWBI. “This is a company that at its core deeply understands the connection between the health of people and the importance of designing and constructing spaces that enhance health and wellness. We congratulate them on this significant achievement.” + WELL Building Institute

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NYC’s first WELL-certified office boasts a host of health-boosting features

Adidas Teams with Nonprofit to Turn Plastic Pollution into Shoes

January 27, 2017 by  
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The world’s oceans are in big trouble. Each year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean, and it’s not just harming precious marine life — it’s hurting us as well. Plastic debris in the water absorbs dangerous pollutants, and as it breaks…

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Adidas Teams with Nonprofit to Turn Plastic Pollution into Shoes

Contemporary Atlantic house celebrates the history of its coastal landscape

January 17, 2017 by  
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Bates Masi + Architects completed a stunning eco-sensitive home that offers more than just rugged good looks. Located in Amagansett, New York overlooking the ocean from which the home gets its name, the Atlantic is a contemporary beauty that celebrates the maritime, military, and architectural history of the coastal landscape. The house takes design cues from the old military stations that once lined the coast, from the exposed beams used for storage to use of natural weather-resistant materials. The 2,300-square-foot Atlantic house faces the Atlantic Ocean as well as low sand dunes and the historic Life Saving Station. The station, which was built over a century ago, holds historical significance as the place where a guard discovered Nazi invaders coming ashore during World War II. The lifesaving station’s lookout towers and elevated decks provide panoramic views for the crew members, while the use of rugged materials protects the structure from succumbing to the elements. Related: Bates Masi Architects unveil tiny, daylit Beach Hampton House The Atlantic is also built with those same materials, chosen for their ability to withstand the coastal climate. Cedar, bronze, and weathering steel clad the home and will develop beautiful patinas over time: the cedar siding will lighten; bronze bars will turn dark brown then green; and the weathering steel will gradually rust to protect itself from further corrosion. The home was raised above the flood plain to reduce risk and to minimize the building impact on the landscape. Bedrooms are located on the lower levels, while the main living areas are placed atop and overlook stunning elevated views of the ocean. + Bates Masi + Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Bates Masi + Architects

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Contemporary Atlantic house celebrates the history of its coastal landscape

5 of the coolest innovations found at VERGE 16

September 26, 2016 by  
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From virtual reality tours of the ocean to multifaceted microgrids, sustainable technologies took Silicon Valley by storm last week.

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5 of the coolest innovations found at VERGE 16

The circular economy as a $1 trillion opportunity

September 26, 2016 by  
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Aided by the Internet of Things, circular flows use are being realized with growing speed. Here are stories from two of the world’s largest companies.

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The circular economy as a $1 trillion opportunity

Meet the enormous black sea slug that’s bigger than a chihuahua

September 1, 2016 by  
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The ocean is full of strange and mysterious creatures, including a huge sea slug. Adventurer and YouTube show host Coyote Peterson checks out some of these crazy marine creatures on his Brave Wilderness show Beyond the Tide, and this week with “tide pool expert” Aron Sanchez , he found a creature you probably didn’t even know existed: a super huge sea slug . The Black Sea Hare is about two feet long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15I8eIqh9iI Peterson and Sanchez visited Los Angeles tide pools to find the Black Sea Hare, and searched for a while before they found one. The particular specimen they discovered weighed an estimated ten pounds, but the Black Sea Hare can ultimately weigh as much as 30 pounds. The slimy slug stretched along the length of Peterson’s forearm, leaving oodles of sticky mucus behind. Related: Octopuses are taking over the oceans, and no one knows why While few of us have probably held one of these giant slugs, they can be spotted ” in abundance ” along America’s Pacific Coast. As Peterson held the Black Sea Hare, Sanchez found a Brown Sea Hare to hold up for comparison. The Brown Sea Hare is big in its own right – it can grow up to over a foot long and weigh five pounds – but it’s dwarfed by the gargantuan Black Sea Hare. While the Black Sea Hare may look like something out of science fiction, Sanchez assured the audience it wasn’t dangerous to Peterson. The black slug doesn’t bite, isn’t toxic, and eats a vegetarian diet, feasting mainly on kelp and algae. On the Brave Wilderness YouTube channel, Peterson also hosts three other nature adventure shows, Breaking Trail, Coyote’s Backyard, and Dragon Tails. The channel releases new videos every Tuesday. On his website, Peterson says he believes it’s best to share animals with his viewers ” right from their natural environment ” and aims to allow viewers to experience these animals through his videos. + Coyote Peterson + Brave Wilderness Images via screenshot

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Meet the enormous black sea slug that’s bigger than a chihuahua

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