Scripps in the News

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Los Angeles Times
Feb 09, 2016
Snow still capped Southern California's highest mountains Tuesday, but the rest of the region wore a decidedly summer glow as a heat wave continued to break temperature records. Weather experts Tuesday resorted to probability theory and sports analogies to explain why the predicted deluge of this year's El Niño has materialized as a heat wave instead. "History does not indicate that big El Niños always give wet winters in California," said David Pierce, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Los Angeles Times
Feb 08, 2016
Fish in today's oceans contain far lower levels of mercury, DDT and other toxic substances than at any time in the last four decades, according to a major review by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in La Jolla. But they tempered their findings with a sobering reminder: Many fish in the wild still have pollutants at levels considered unsafe for frequent human consumption.

KQED
Feb 08, 2016
Any sign of precipitation in the forecast is a welcome sight for Californians these days. But with temperatures expected to be above normal this winter, California’s snowpack may not reach the heights it could. Getting snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is crucial to the state’s water supply. But scientists say as the climate continues to warm, more precipitation will fall as rain instead of snow. “I think this has been kind of a wake up call,” said Dan Cayan, who studies climate change at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the US Geological Survey.

The New York Times
Feb 08, 2016
Richard P. Von Herzen, an explorer who found that the icy depths of the deep sea conceal vast regions of simmering heat, helping to confirm the scientific view of the Earth’s crust as continuously in motion, died on Jan. 28 in Portola Valley, Calif. He was 85. For more than a half-century, Dr. Von Herzen worked at the nation’s pre-eminent centers for ocean research — the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Scientific American
Feb 08, 2016
With an ax rather than a scalpel, Australia’s federal science agency last week chopped off its climate research arm in a decision that has stunned scientists and left employees dispirited. As many as 110 out of 140 positions at the atmosphere and oceans division at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will be cut, Larry Marshall, the agency’s chief executive, told staff Friday. In southwest Tasmania, at Cape Grim, CSIRO scientists have collected continuous readings of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere since the 1970s. The only other detailed long-term CO2 record in the Southern Hemisphere is from the South Pole, said Ralph Keeling, an atmospheric scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, who oversees the Mauna Loa CO2 monitoring station. “It is mind-boggling,” Keeling said. “The Cape Grim observatory is a premier site, which is sustaining some of the most important long-term records of climate that exist on the planet.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Feb 07, 2016
As San Diego County spends tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to prevent coastal erosion, concerns have ramped up about how best to slow the potential loss of beaches, homes and highways. Enter “dredge and fill,” a technique that uses offshore sand to nourish coastlines. In the past decade, replenishment projects have been one of San Diego County’s top strategies for slowing erosion. Not everyone’s convinced that dredge and fill will have a major impact on curtailing coastal erosion. “Those two [SANDAG] projects should be critically looked at because that’s a huge investment,” Griggs said. Bob Guza, a professor at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla who also specializes in coastal erosion, questions those conclusions.

Fox 5
Feb 05, 2016
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography plans to make use of boaters in future research after signing an agreement with the Florida- based International SeaKeepers Society.

CNN
Feb 04, 2016
A new species of deep-sea creature that resembles a discarded purple sock has been identified as an early form of life in a discovery that will help scientists understand how animals have evolved over time. The very simple creature, Xenoturbella, has no brain, gills, eyes, or reproductive organs, and only one opening through which food goes in and waste goes out. And although the animal was first described in 1949, its peculiar biology left scientists baffled for decades. But the four new species of the creature identified in the study were found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean 12 years ago by Nerida Wilson, a research scientist with the Western Australian Museum, and another of the lead researchers, Greg Rouse, a scientist with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Feb 04, 2016
Naturalists and guests aboard the Flagship Cruises boat Marietta had an unexpected encounter Wednesday with a pod of 30 false killer whales off the coast of San Diego. The cetaceans, which are part of the oceanic dolphin family, typically stay in warmer tropical waters. Officials at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla, which organized Wednesday's nature trip on the Marietta, say that it appears that the whales traveled north to San Diego in waters warmed by El Nino. "This is the first time, as far as we know, that false killer whales have been seen from The Marietta," said Hallie Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Birch.

The New York Times
Feb 01, 2016
Perched on a wild, windy promontory on the rugged tip of northwestern Tasmania, the tiny Cape Grim research station has been measuring airborne greenhouse gases since 1976. Now a decision by Australia’s science agency to lay off 350 researchers and shift the organization’s focus to more commercial enterprise threatens not only the work done at the station but also climate studies around the globe. Scientists worldwide have protested the shift, saying the loss of the Australian data — from both Cape Grim and the agency’s role in a vital ocean-monitoring program called Argo — could impair their ability to predict severe regional weather and help people prepare for extreme floods, drought, bushfires and cyclones. “The Southern Hemisphere is half the world’s atmosphere and more than half the world’s ocean,” said Ray Weiss, a scientist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in a telephone interview. “Csiro is immensely important from a global point of view, both observations and modeling, and it should not be cut off at the knees.”