Scripps in the News

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The Oceanography Society
Dec 15, 2014

Women now head three—half—of the six oceanographic institutions featured in our 2005 paper. Margret Leinen is Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Virginia Armbrust is Director of the University of Washington College of Oceanography, and Susan Avery is President and Director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. This issue features profiles on a number of women at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, including: Teresa Chereskin, Research Oceanographer; Sarah N. Giddings, Assistant Professor; Sarah Gille, Professor of Physical Oceanography; Jennifer MacKinnon, Associate Professor; Janet Sprintall, Research Oceanographer; and Miriam Kastner, Distinguished Professor. "I have spent most of my career at Scripps Institution of Oceanography—a great place to work," said Kastner. "I particularly enjoyed working with the bright Scripps students and the wonderful interdisciplinary faculty, using its top-tier facilities, and taking advantage of seagoing opportunities. I am delighted to see the significant progress over the past ~ 30 years in how women are perceived, in the support young women scientists receive, and in the scientific impact women have on their fields of research.”


NBC News
Dec 15, 2014

New data from the Earth's last big warmup, some 56 million years ago, may offer a sneak peek into what today's climate change may eventually look like. Scientists have determined that the rate at which carbon emissions heated up the planet during the late Paleocene is much more similar to modern human-caused warming than many experts previously thought, a new report published Monday in Nature Geoscience shows. "If you're looking for an ancient analogue to what is happening now to see how bad it's likely to be, this is the whole thing," said Richard Norris, a professor of paleobiology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.


Star Tribune
Dec 12, 2014

Researchers have re-created a split-second impact of a meteor with primordial Earth, and shown how the 3.5-megaton collision might have reorganized common molecules into some of the early building blocks that led to all life. The researchers zapped clay and a chemical soup with the laser to simulate the energy of a speeding asteroid smashing into the planet. They ended up creating what can be considered crucial pieces of the building blocks of life. “There is no known geochemically feasible process for the generation of pure formamide in a plausible primitive Earth environment,” said Jeffrey Bada, a chemist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
 


The Conversation
Dec 12, 2014

Author: Andrew Frederick Johnson, Postdoctoral Researcher of Marine Biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Trawling – dragging heavy gear over ocean bottoms in search of fish near the sea floor – is arguably one of the most destructive human practices. Removing fish from the sea for an ever-hungry, growing human population has consequences that include reducing fish populations and messing with the natural balance of the ocean’s food webs. What is left after the trawl passes is a drastically altered seafloor ecosystem: a flatter, less complex habitat, with fewer invertebrate organisms and fewer fish. For those fish that manage to escape the trawl, these changes can have negative consequences for their continued growth.


Los Angeles Times
Dec 12, 2014

Overall rainfall amounts in the Los Angeles region will remain the same in coming decades, according to a new study that examined the effects of a warming climate on Southern California precipitation. The third in a series of UCLA studies on the impact of climate change on Los Angeles, the report is good news for the city's efforts to develop more local water supplies. Dan Cayan, director of the California Climate Change Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, said there may be more dry days, with precipitation falling during a shorter rainy season with bigger storms. “So I don’t think the story is quite as simple as saying no change, no worries,” said Cayan, who is familiar with the UCLA work but did not participate in the study.


CBS News
Dec 11, 2014

More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are polluting the oceans, according to a new study, wreaking havoc on marine life which often gets entangled in fishing lines or ingests these toxic substances. The study in PLOS One Wednesday is the first to try to put a number on plastic bits of all sizes - a growing number that many scientists see as a major problem in the oceans. Jennifer Brandon, a graduate student who researches micro-plastics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and didn't take part in the study, said the estimates "were pretty reasonable" but she cautioned it was far from exact because the researchers depended on models.


Scientific American
Dec 11, 2014

What is this thing? How rare is it? And how big of a threat could it be? Here are some answers. And see our graphics, below, taken from a brilliant and prescient feature article written by Michael Dettinger and Lynn Ingram in Scientific American in January 2013.


NBC News
Dec 11, 2014

The Southern San Andreas fault may not be as dangerous as previously thought — at least for the towns and cities directly to the west of it. New three-dimensional modeling shows that instead of being oriented straight up and down, the fault, which runs roughly northwesterly through the Coachella Valley, dips 60-70 degrees to the northeast, according to a study published in Geosphere. Frank Vernon, a research seismologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, agrees that a dipped orientation probably won't make much difference to Los Angeles. The effects of the dip would most likely only be felt locally, he said.


KQED
Dec 11, 2014

As city streets flood and power lines go down, don’t blame El Niño. The epic storm that hit California early Thursday morning is caused by a water vapor filled low-pressure system called an atmospheric river. Long and narrow, it carries ten Mississippi Rivers’ worth of water. Originating near Hawaii, this ‘Pineapple Express’ brings atmospheric moisture up to the West Coast. As it condenses, water vapor in the river falls as rain – or snow – at higher elevations. With 80 percent of California in an extreme drought, the deluge could bring some areas back to their average annual rainfall totals, according to Marty Ralph, a meteorologist with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.


U-T San Diego
Dec 11, 2014

In an announcement better suited to Halloween than the upcoming Christmas season, a Scripps Oceanography researcher published new findings on bone worms, bizarre deep sea creatures that devour whale carcasses. Researchers originally observed that the worms matured only in female form, with males living in a larval state within the females’ bodies. Their latest discovery, published in the December issue of Current Biology, showed that males of a newly discovered species grow to the same size as females, and go to great lengths to mate. “This worm was weird enough as it was and now it’s even weirder,” study author Greg Rouse, a marine biologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, said in a statement. “This shows us that there continue to be mysteries in the sea and there is still so much more to discover.”