Dec 26 2004 TSUNAMI At least 230,000 people are killed and 43,000 are missing after a tsunami sparked by a magnitude 9.15 earthquake smashes into 13 Indian Ocean countries. More than half the victims are Indonesians, with Sri Lanka and India next worst hit. March 2005 INDONESIA Nearly 1,000 people are killed after an earthquake of magnitude 8.7 strikes off the island of Sumatra. July/Aug 2005 INDIA More than 1,000 people are killed after the heaviest rainfall recorded drenches the western state of Maharashtra. Oct 8 2005 PAKISTAN

Oxygen-poor waters occupy large volumes of the intermediate-depth eastern tropical oceans. Oxygen-poor conditions have far-reaching impacts on ecosystems because important mobile microorganisms avoid or cannot survive in hypoxic zones. Climate models predict declines in oceanic dissolved oxygen produced by global warming. The researchers constructed a 50-year time series of dissolved-oxygen concentration for select tropical oceanic regions by augmenting a historical database with recent measurements.

The US National Earthquake Conference will be held in Seattle from April 22 - 26. Earthquake experts from around the nation will convene to discuss the latest research on earthquakes and the generation of tsunamis. The conference will also focus on tsunami hazards, offering attendees and the media an opportunity to hear, via webcast, from experts from Sumatra, Sri Lanka and Phuket, Thailand, that were catastrophically impacted by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December, 2004.

Black carbon in soot is the dominant absorber of visible solar radiation in the atmosphere. Anthropogenic sources of black carbon, although distributed globally, are most concentrated in the tropics where solar irradiance is highest. Black carbon is often transported over long distances, mixing with other aerosols along the way. The aerosol mix can form transcontinental plumes of atmospheric brown clouds, with vertical extents of 3 to 5 km.

Abstract Black carbon in soot is the dominant absorber of visible solar radiation in the atmosphere. Anthropogenic sources of black carbon, although distributed globally, are most concentrated in the tropics where solar irradiance is highest. Black carbon is often transported over long distances, mixing with other aerosols along the way. The aerosol mix can form transcontinental plumes of atmospheric brown clouds, with vertical extents of 3 to 5 km.

The only way to save the bluefin tuna, one of the most marvelous and endangered fish in the ocean, may be to domesticate the species. March 2008

Scientists Are Building First Worldwide Portrait Of Human Impact That Has Left Just 4% Of The Seas Pristine In 1980, after college, I joined the crew of a sailboat partway through a circumnavigation of the globe. Becalmed and roasting one day during a 21-day crossing of the western Indian Ocean, several of us dived over the side. Within a few swimming strokes, the bobbing hull seemed a toy over my shoulder as I glanced back through my diving mask. Below me, my shadow and the boat's dwindled to the vanishing point in the two-mile-deep water. Human activity seemed nothing when set against the sea itself. Just a few weeks later, on an uninhabited island in a remote part of the Red Sea, I was proved wrong. The shore above the tide line was covered with old light bulbs, apparently tossed from the endless parade of ships over the years. Now scientists are building the first worldwide portrait of such dispersed human impacts on the oceans, revealing a planet-spanning mix of depleted resources, degraded ecosystems and disruptive biological blending as species are moved around the globe by accident and intent. A paper in the February 15 issue of the journal Science is the first effort to map 17 kinds of human ocean impacts like organic pollution, including agricultural runoff and sewage; damage from bottomscraping trawls; and intensive traditional fishing along coral reefs. About 40% of ocean areas are strongly affected, and just 4% pristine, according to the review. Polar seas are in the pristine category, but poised for change. Some human impacts are familiar, like damage to coral reefs and mangrove forests through direct actions like construction and subtler ones like the loss of certain fish that shape ecosystems. Others were a surprise, said Benjamin S Halpern, the lead author and a scientist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California. He said continental shelves and slopes proved to be the most heavily affected areas, particularly along densely populated coasts. The most widespread human fingerprint is a slow drop in the pH of surface waters around the world as a portion of the billions of tons of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere from fuel and forest burning each year is absorbed in water, where it forms carbonic acid. That progressive shift in ocean chemistry could eventually disrupt shell-forming plankton and reef-building species, particularly where other impacts, including rising temperatures from human-caused global warming, create simultaneous stresses, many marine biologists say. "I study this stuff all the time and didn't expect the impacts to be as pervasive as we found,' Halpern said. The review provides a baseline necessary for tracking further shifts, he said. It also identifies some unanticipated trouble spots, similar to terrestrial biodiversity "hot spots' that environmental groups have identified over the years. NYT NEWS SERVICE

In 1971, meteorologists Roland Madden and Paul Julian studied weather data from near equatorial Pacific islands. To their surprise, tropospheric winds, pressure and rainfall oscillated with a period of about 40 to 50 days.

A Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a massive weather event consisting of deep convection coupled with atmospheric circulation, moving slowly eastward over the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Despite its enormous influence on many weather and climate systems worldwide, it has proven very difficult to simulate an MJO because of assumptions about cumulus clouds in global meteorological models.

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