The Beacon

Blog Tags: Methane

Ocean Roundup: Sea Otter Teeth Stronger than Human’s, Sri Lanka May Face International Fishing Ban, and More

Sea otter teeth are two times stronger than human teeth

Sea otter teeth may be twice as strong as human teeth. (Photo: Alan Wolf / Flickr Creative Commons)

- New research shows that tiny microbes found along seamounts and the seafloor play a big role in sequestering methane. The scientists are still unsure as to how much methane these microbes take in, but say that they play a significant role in keeping methane from entering the water column. Grist


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Ocean Roundup: Methane Seeping from U.S. Atlantic Seafloor, Iceland’s Caught Scores of Endangered Fin Whales, and More

The U.S. Atlantic coast is seeping methane in 570 locations

Methane rising from the seafloor off Virginia. (Photo: NOAA Photo Library / Flickr Creative Commons)

- According to a new report by the Assembly Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy, California is “woefully unprepared” for sea level rise. The report projects that agriculture, tourism, and fishing industries will be most impacted by sea level rise. Think Progress


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Workers Evacuated As Another ‘Out-of-Control’ Gulf Rig Leaks Methane Gas

(Photo: J. Stephen Conn)

Last Thursday, a natural gas well operating off the coast of Louisiana began leaking methane gas into the air. Given the recent number of large number of spills and leaks taking place on Gulf rigs, it’s hard to believe that the federal government is now considering allowing drilling to take place in the Atlantic Ocean. Clearly, the government is more concerned with increased drilling rather than ensuring safety of our workers and the environment.


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Vanishing Arctic Ice

Previous low from 2007. This year's minimum smaller by an area the size of Texas ©Wikimedia Commons 

The National Snow and Ice Data Center has announced that Arctic sea ice melted to its yearly minimum extent last Sunday, which was the smallest extent since measurements began in 1979 and a whopping 49% below the 1979 to 2000 average. With ice vanishing at rates that exceed even the most sophisticated computer models there is one guarantee, that it’s going to shrink even more

We know Arctic sea ice will continue to shrink for two reasons.  First, we are continuing to spew greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  And second, solar radiation and melting sea ice interact as a system known as a positive feedback loop. Sunlight that hits white arctic sea ice is largely reflected back to space. Throughout modern civilization Arctic sea ice has acted as a sort of thermostat, regulating the earth’s temperature. But as the climate warms, and the Arctic ice melts, the sunlight instead hits much darker seawater. Rather than reflecting that energy back to space, open-ocean waters absorb vastly more of the sun’s energy, which in turn warms the water, accelerating the rate of melt.


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