Scripps in the News

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Aug 02, 2016
"For the San Jacinto fault we've had many magnitude-5 earthquakes since 2000. Just a little ways over here maybe 10 miles away. So this is a very good place to make these types of measurements. It's close, the seismic waves get here first, before it gets into the valley," said Frank Vernon, a research seismologist at UCSD.

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Aug 02, 2016
The pier is a cherished icon not only for UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, but also for the greater San Diego community. For many residents, the pier is as familiar a sight as the San Diego-Coronado Bridge and Hotel del Coronado.
Aug 01, 2016
On a ship off the coast of Bermuda, Frederik Simons, an associate professor of geosciences at Princeton University, fastens a rope around a six-foot-tall white cylinder affixed with solar panels and various wires suspended in a metal frame. As everyone scrambles into position, a crane slowly raises the device and prepares to lower it into the ocean. After three years of work on design modifications and fine-tuning, the researchers are preparing to test the apparatus for the first time. The instrument, named Son-O-Mermaid, will detect and record waves, but not the kind that are rolling under the research vessel and making Simons seasick. While on sabbatical at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Nolet met a colleague who was measuring sound waves in the ocean. Among the whale songs and passing freighters, Nolet detected the signal of an earthquake that came all the way from Alaska.

Jul 28, 2016
Volcanologist Peter Barry spent years in the Great Rift Valley of Tanzania as a graduate student studying the noble gases released at hot springs, asking broad scientific questions about the region’s nearby volcanoes. A team led by Barry recently found evidence for unusually rich helium deposits across the Rift Valley. One apparent reservoir of the gas offers the unheard-of helium concentration of more than 10% by volume. The discoveries in Tanzania aren’t expected to make a big difference to the world reserves. The estimated 1.53 billion cubic meters of helium gas there would meet only about 9 years of global helium demand, according to Robert Jolley, field manager at the U.S. Federal Helium Reserve in Amarillo, Texas. Rather, “it is the high helium concentrations [that] are significant, as opposed to the total amount of gas, which is not huge compared to other helium-producing regions,” said David Hilton, an isotope geochemist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in Calif.

Jul 28, 2016
Scientists have identified a rare new species of whale in the North Pacific Ocean. The whale looks similar to the common Baird's beaked whale, but is slightly smaller and darker. Even Japanese whalers -- who call the species "karasu," Japanese for raven -- rarely see the whale. Scientists from a variety of universities, as well as the NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, conducted DNA analysis to confirm the species' uniqueness. The whale's discovery was announced in a new paper, published this week in the journal Marine Mammal Science.

New Scientist
Jul 27, 2016
We all followed the story of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which vanished shortly after take-off from Kuala Lumpur airport in 2014, and seemingly crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Debris from the plane washed up more than a year later, but the sea search was a failure. The search zone initially covered an area about half the size of the UK, but “we can safely say that nobody has ever seen a part of MH370 underwater,” says Jules Jaffe at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in California. Lost planes might grab headlines, but there are many other reasons to improve our ability to search at sea: locating and plugging holes in poison-leaking shipwrecks, for example, or recapturing the thousands of shipping containers estimated to be lost overboard each year. Robotic search could be the answer – if some tricky problems can be overcome first.

Science News
Jul 27, 2016
Eight elements that are very much attracted to iron. By analyzing the iron-lovers within each rock, scientists can probe what the rock has been doing for billions of years. “We can trace the entire evolutionary process of how a planet formed,” says James Day, a geochemist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in Calif. “That’s why someone like me is interested.”

The Atlantic
Jul 25, 2016
A 2015 report that one of us co-authored found that one in three women science professors surveyed reported sexual harassment. There’s been a lot of talk about how to keep women in the STEM pipeline, but it fails to make a crucial connection: One reason the pipeline leaks is that women are harassed out of science. We recently spoke with a group of senior scientists who confirmed the prevalence of sexual harassment. Kim Barrett, the graduate dean at the University of California, San Diego, said she did not know of a single senior woman in gastroenterology, her subfield, who had not been sexually harassed. Margaret Leinen, of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, described a conversation she once overheard between one male and five female scientists at a meeting where harassment was being discussed. “I don’t see what the fuss is about,” said the man. “I’ve never met anyone who has been sexually harassed.” The women just looked at each other. “Well, now you’ve met five,” they said.

Jul 22, 2016
A major heat wave is set to hit Southern California this weekend, bringing with it dangerously hot conditions and an increased risk of wildfires. Once we get through the weekend, however, we'll be getting a different sort of heat. Unlike the usual scorcher, this one will bring sticky heat. "Humidity is going to get a lot stronger next week although the heat's not going to be quite as much," Alexander Gershunov, a research meteorologist with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, told Take Two. Historically California’s heat is very dry, will a cooling effect in the evening, but as a long-term trend humidity is rising in the region, Gershunov said.
Jul 20, 2016
About 60 years ago, David Keeling began to wind his way up the side of Mauna Loa. What the world needed, Keeling argued, was a few remote sites set up around the world, continuously measuring fluctuations in the amount of carbon dioxide that was entering, or leaving, the atmosphere. Keeling got his wish, even if Harry Wexler didn’t necessarily get his: Instead of joining the Weather Bureau, Keeling took a position at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, passing over a windowless office at the Naval Observatory for the ocean breeze of San Diego. Both Pieter Tans and Ralph Keeling—David Keeling’s son, who took over the Scripps portion of the program after his father’s death—see their role not so much as influencing policy, but gathering important data.