Scripps in the News

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ABC News
Feb 12, 2016
Ten days with record heat and no rain have Californians worrying about the drought again. The strong El Nino had brought the state near-normal rain and snow this winter, raising hopes that four years of record dry conditions were over. But highs surging to 95 degrees in Southern California have surfers and golfers out in February. Climate researcher Sam Iacobellis with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego says this El Nino so far hasn't brought the strong rain and other weather patterns that meteorologists expect with big El Ninos.

Feb 11, 2016
As of Thursday morning, the state had received 76 percent of the rain that normally falls between Oct. 1 and April 1. Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego climate researcher Sam Iacobellis said looking at these numbers, you wouldn't think there's anything special about this year. Iacobellis said there's still time for storms to develop. But California is currently lagging far behind precipitation levels from the last major El Niño.

National Geographic
Feb 10, 2016
Well after its discovery a decade ago, the sleek swimmer called the Omura's whale remained an enigma. Reports of live animals were vague and unconvincing, leaving the whale's habits and even its markings a mystery. Now, scientists are starting to piece together the secret life of the little-seen species. Recent expeditions off Madagascar revealed the whales devouring tiny shrimp-like creatures, as well as guzzling large mouthfuls of “dirty water"—a phenomenon scientists can't yet explain. "We call it the very thin soup,” says marine-mammal biologist Matt Leslie of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, who wasn't part of the new study. So “one of the big questions is how they make their living.”

Climate Central
Feb 09, 2016
The types of storms that have been bringing heavy snow and rain to the West this winter, triggering landslides and floods while easing stubborn droughts, are likely to become stronger and more frequent, according to the results of a conclusive new study. The results of the study were “consistent” with findings from earlier modeling-based studies, said Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego researcher Marty Ralph, who wasn’t involved with it. He said the study went further than others in demonstrating that the projections were likely to play out in the real world, rather than being the result of any modeling errors.

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.

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.

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.

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.