Scripps in the News

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Los Angeles Times
Apr 19, 2015

Ever since an unusually warm mass of seawater began spreading along the Pacific Coast of North America a year ago — wreaking havoc on the marine food chain — scientists have struggled to explain its presence.In recent months, however, some experts have argued that this 500-mile-wide, 300-foot-deep wedge of warm seawater may in fact signal an epic cyclical change in the Pacific Ocean — a change that could possibly bring soaking rains to Southern California this winter but also accelerate the rise in global temperatures. At Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, climate researcher Dan Cayan said he was "cautiously pessimistic" over what the blob signaled about the future.


Phys.org
Apr 17, 2015

Researchers at PNNL developed a new way for global climate and weather forecasting models to represent cumulus clouds, accounting for updrafts and downdrafts in a manner that is far more accurate, regardless of the scale of the model. Researchers at PNNL and collaborators from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and NASA Langley Research Center plugged real-world data into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to simulate three storms: two over the U.S. Southern Great Plains in May of 2011 during the Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment and one in the western Pacific near Australia in January 2006 during the Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment.


New Scientist
Apr 16, 2015

An unusual threat is looming off the Pacific coast of North America from Juneau in Alaska to Baja California. A mass of warm water that scientists are calling "the blob" has lingered off the coast for a year and a half and has set temperature records. The anomaly has spread out over the last 12 months from Alaska to the central Mexican coast. Physical oceanographers have speculated that the blob is influenced by a major climate pattern known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Yet the patterns of warming seem to be different this time round, says oceanographer Mark Ohman of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. "This is a phenomenon beyond the typical PDO-like oscillations we've seen for the recent decades," he adds. "I'm in a state of confusion."


Daily Mail
Apr 15, 2015

Mysterious Song Hints at New Whale Species: ‘Antarctic BW29’ Signal is Unlike Any Other Noise Made by Beaked Cetaceans
Scientists may have captured the song of a new species of whale living in the Antarctic. The song can’t be identified and doesn’t fit the pattern of noise generated by the few known species of beaked whale, raising hopes that it could be coming from a completely new species. The mysterious ‘Antarctic BW29 signal was recorded near the Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, and Antarctic Peninsula by scientists led by Jennifer Trickey of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.


Science Magazine
Apr 14, 2015

Small threadlike worms that consume the bones of dead whales on the ocean floor once made a living off the carcasses of ancient marine reptiles, a new study suggests. The find means that the worms may have been around at least 60 million years longer than researchers suspected. But Greg Rouse, a marine biologist now at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and a member of the team that discovered Osedax worms in 2002, is more convinced than Martin that these newly described borings are truly traces of the modern group’s ancestors. “It’s great to finally find Mesozoic evidence of Osedax,” he says. The tunnels and chambers described by Higgs and Danise “look just like those made by Osedax,” he says. “This is pretty convincing. It’s solid, clean work.”


Nature
Apr 14, 2015

Pollutants on the icy Tibetan Plateau, which absorb solar radiation and are accelerating the melting of snow and ice, are known to come from as far afield as Africa and Europe. But work by Chinese researchers now suggests a brownish haze of pollution from forest fires, crop burning and domestic cooking stoves in south Asia is also contributing to the problem. It can waft up and over the Himalayas to settle on the plateau, they report. The researchers do not know to what extent the trans-Himalayan pollutants contribute to the total load of soot and other carbon-containing combustion products dumped on the Tibetan Plateau. But south Asia’s contribution has been a hotly debated issue, says Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. “This is a very important finding,” he says.

 


Scientific American
Apr 14, 2015

Pollutants on the icy Tibetan Plateau, which absorb solar radiation and are accelerating the melting of snow and ice, are known to come from as far afield as Africa and Europe. But work by Chinese researchers now suggests a brownish haze of pollution from forest fires, crop burning and domestic cooking stoves in south Asia is also contributing to the problem. It can waft up and over the Himalayas to settle on the plateau, they report. South Asia’s contribution has been a hotly debated issue, says Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. “This is a very important finding,” he says.


The Press Democrat
Apr 12, 2015

In the midst of a catastrophic, four-year drought, the risks associated with climate change stop being theoretical. Research meteorologist Marty Ralph of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego said climate change would be characterized by “extreme events … with larger periods of drought in between.” In the midst of an historic drought, he noted, several Sonoma County communities experienced flooding from a December storm.


Nature World News
Apr 10, 2015

It's no secret that North America has seen some pretty odd weather recently. No, it's not nearly as disastrous as some excitable folks on Twitter make it out to be, but it is odd enough for the NOAA and meteorological associations to take notice. Now new research has revealed that a natural phenomenon called "The Blob" might be a primary cause behind this weird weather. Back in July, for instance, students from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego witnessed a massive anchovy school swim far closer to shore than normal.


Los Angeles Times
Apr 10, 2015

Your smartphone is a camera, a calculator, a flashlight and a pedometer. Scientists believe it could be part of an earthquake early-warning system too. It turns out that the GPS sensors built into most smartphones are sensitive enough to detect the earliest signs of quakes that are magnitude 7 and stronger, new research shows. The data they collect could be used to give nearby communities a few seconds’ notice that seismic waves are headed their way. Yehuda Bock, a geodesist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, who studies ways of using GPS to detect quakes and other natural hazards, said that although the paper is technically sound, he is not sure that the cellphone network would be very practical.“I’m a little skeptical it will work in a real-world situation,” said Bock, who was not involved in the research. “I think a system like that would false-alarm more than they claim in the paper.”