Tag: environment

World’s First River Given Legal Status as a Person

As the Trump administration works to dismantle environmental regulations protecting American waterways, New Zealand has recognized the Whanganui River as a legal person.

On Wednesday, New Zealand Parliament passed the Te Awa Tupua Bill which states that the river is “an indivisible and living whole,” making it the world’s first river to be given this special designation.

Growing algae bloom in Arabian Sea tied to climate change

BANDAR AL-ROWDAH, Oman (AP) — The Gulf of Oman turns green twice a year, when an algae bloom the size of Mexico spreads across the Arabian Sea all the way to India.

Scientists who study the algae say the microscopic organisms are thriving in new conditions brought about by climate change, and displacing the zooplankton that underpin the local food chain, threatening the entire marine ecosystem.

Khalid al-Hashmi, a marine biologist at the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, wrinkles his nose as the research vessel nears the bloom. “Sea stench,” he says, referring to the algae’s ammonia secretions. “It’s here, you can smell it.”

He signals the boat to stop as it speeds beneath a gigantic rock arch off the coast of Muscat, the capital of Oman, an arid sultanate on the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The captain kills the engine and drops anchor into a slick of bright green muck surrounded by crystal-clear blue water.

The swarms of microscopic creatures beneath the surface of the Gulf of Oman were all but invisible 30 years ago — now they form giant, murky shapes that can be seen from satellites.

Across the planet, blooms have wrecked local ecosystems. Algae can paralyze fish, clog their gills, and absorb enough oxygen to suffocate them. Whales, turtles, dolphins and manatees have died, poisoned by algal toxins, in the Atlantic and Pacific. These toxins have infiltrated whole marine food chains and have, in rare cases, killed people, according to the U.N. science agency.

Trump’s Reckless Plan to Starve NOAA – Bloomberg View

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is just one of many federal agencies marked for drastic funding reductions to enable a big boost in military spending. But the cuts proposed for America’s center of weather and climate research reveal alarming pitfalls in President Donald Trump’s approach to budgeting: a reluctance to invest in the future, a disregard for science and a willingness to damage a well-functioning government operation for a minimal pay-off.”

Trump Cuts Regulations as Oceanic Dead Zones Release Massive Amounts of Methane

the denial of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) continues, the world is continuing to warm. A new reminder of that comes in the form of a scientific paper published in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal. The study has pinpointed the source of an enormous Pacific methane pool, uncovering disastrous news for the planet.

Enormous Amounts of Methane

The new study reveals the location of bacteria responsible for the release of massive amounts of methane in the ocean. The vast amount of methane they are producing covers an area that stretches from Panama up to Mexico, and all the way out to the Hawaiian Islands.

According to a news report on the study, the plumes of methane being released are spreading for many thousands of miles.

The bacteria generate methane when there is no oxygen present, so the newly discovered methane pools happen in deoxygenated “dead zones” of the ocean.

While the massive plumes of methane are, at present, still being absorbed back into the ocean water, study author Felicity Shelley of Queen Mary University of London told the International Business Times, “Scientists are predicting these low-oxygen zones will get larger and closer to the surface when the oceans warm.” This would increase the risk of methane — which is already being released in massive amounts in the Arctic due to melting permafrost — being released into the atmosphere.

And troublingly, ACD is already causing an expansion in both the numbers and size of dead zones around the planet.