The objective of this Pacific Ocean synthesis is to comprehensively and systematically survey the published scientific literature, government publications and other peer-reviewed reports to identify Pacific Ocean and regional threats as well as the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of those threats.

By Christopher Pala

Off the palm-fringed white beach of Butaitari, Kiribati, the view underwater is downright scary. Corals are being covered and smothered to death by a bushy seaweed that is so tough even algae-grazing fish avoid it. It settles in the reef's crevices that fish once called home, driving them away.

Dead coral stops supporting the ecosystem and, within a couple of decades, will crumble into rubble, allowing big ocean waves to reach the beach during storms and destroy the flimsy thatched huts of the Micronesians.

Humpback whale numbers in the northern Pacific Ocean have ballooned to nearly 20,000, the largest population seen since the majestic mammals were hunted nearly to extinction half a century ago. The number of humpbacks hit an all-time low of1,400 or even lower by 1966, when their hunting was banned internationally. The new census, from one of the largest whale studies ever undertaken, shows that the animals have rebounded much better than expected.

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What plunged the North Pacific

A us-based fishery has been certified as the world's first sustainable tuna fishery. The American Albacore Fishing Association (aafa), based in San Diego, California, has been officially certified by

Monthly and 3-hourly precipitation data from twentieth-century climate simulations by the newest generation of 18 coupled climate system models are analyzed and compared with available observations. The characteristics examined include the mean spatial patterns, intraseasonal-to-interannual and ENSO-related variability, convective versus stratiform precipitation ratio, precipitation frequency and intensity for different precipitation categories, and diurnal cycle.

it could be the splash of the century and with disastrous results. The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii - 20 km long, 10 km wide and 9 km deep - is sinking into the Pacific Ocean at 7 cm a second. The

Tectonic plates on the Pacific Ocean floor are drifting apart faster than expected