Scripps in the News

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Dec 13, 2013

Barry Smitherman sees the planet as not warming. Smitherman, a candidate for Texas attorney general, responded to Republican activist Donna Garner in a Nov. 17, 2013, email: "Donna, I have been battling this global warming hoax for 6 years now. The earth is not warming…" That claim by Smitherman, who also chairs the Texas Railroad Commission, contradicts the latest word from the international body that regularly sifts scientific findings related to climate. Richard Somerville, a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, emailed us calling Smitherman’s claim "nonsense." Somerville wrote: "It is just plain foolish to focus on short-term distractions in the climate record due to natural variability, while ignoring the long term-trend due to human activities."

International Business Times
Dec 13, 2013

A new technology, similar to the one used in smartphones, can help scientists get early and more accurate warnings about extreme weather systems, tsunamis and earthquakes, researchers said. Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, in Pasadena, Calif., have enhanced existing GPS technologies with a particular type of sensor typically used in smartphones, video games and laptops, to develop a system that can warn of natural disasters. “Meaningful warnings can save lives when issued within one to two minutes of a destructive earthquake, several tens of minutes for tsunamis, possibly an hour or more for flash floods, and several days or more for extreme winter storms,” Yehuda Bock of Scripps said.

La Jolla Light
Dec 12, 2013

Anyone who has attended a community meeting in La Jolla likely knows Phyllis Minick. During the past several years the longtime La Jollan has come before the Town Council, Community Planning Association, Village Merchants Association, and other groups imploring La Jollans to help fund an elaborate remodel of the sidewalk area above Children’s Pool beach. Her passion for the project — and for keeping Children’s Pool beach accessible to the public — makes sense. As someone who was repeatedly rejected in the once male-dominated sport of scuba, Minick refuses to let anyone else tell her she cannot enter the water. Minick would go on to dive regularly with renowned underwater photographer Chuck Nicklin, Bottom Scratchers member and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego dive instructor Jim Stewart, and marine biologist Wheeler North.

U-T San Diego
Dec 11, 2013

Jeff Fangman of San Clemente, an avid angler and a former Marine, said he landed the young, roughly nine-foot shark during a quiet day of surf fishing in October. After pulling in the white shark, Fangman briefly examined it on the sand and had some video and photos shot of him holding the creature’s tail and opening its mouth to show its rows of jagged teeth. Then he’s shown on a video clip easing the shark back into the water, where it swam away after a few moments. It’s not surprising to see a young white shark near the coastline, said Stuart Sandin, a professor of marine ecology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. But he also said he doesn’t know of any other instance of a white shark being caught from shore.

Popular Mechanics
Dec 10, 2013

After the Tohoku earthquake struck Japan at on March 11, 2011, there was a 30-minute lull before the devastating tsunami rushed ashore. Geophysicist Yehuda Bock from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego says that if his early warning system had been in place at the time, it could have used that lull to determine the magnitude of the earthquake and calculate the intensity of the subsequent tsunami, perhaps giving residents enough warning time to seek higher ground before the waves struck. In a talk at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Tuesday, Bock and his colleagues at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) presented their proposal for a sensor network that could provide early warnings for earthquakes, tsunamis, severe weather, and flash floods, providing life-saving information to first responders, local leaders, and the general public.

USA Today
Dec 10, 2013

NASA's robotic rover on Mars has found signs that a vast and hospitable lake once spread over the now-desolate Martian surface, providing a potential home to past life for centuries or longer. The shallow water body was roughly the size of one of New York's Finger Lakes, though not nearly so deep. Its waters boasted low salinity, just the right acidity and all the chemicals needed to support living organisms. The scientists' arguments that the rover found more hydrocarbons than would be expected from contamination alone are "tenuous at best," says Jeffrey Bada, an emeritus professor of marine chemistry at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, via e-mail. He says that if Curiosity really had stumbled on hydrocarbons, other kinds would've been detected, not just the few purified by the rover's chemistry set.

The Atlantic
Dec 10, 2013

We've known for a while that the ocean is rapidly becoming too acidic for some forms of marine life to survive. Now we also know that ocean acidification does more than break down marine skeletons—it can actually cause behavioral changes in individual organisms. Simply stated, ocean acidification is making fish anxious—or, at least, anxiety as we measure it in fish. Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and Canada's MacEwan University recently published this surprising finding in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science. Turns out, putting fish in slightly more acidic water is just like administering an anxiety-inducing drug. “They would go to the dark part of the tank and they wouldn’t move. They just stayed there,” study co-author Martín Tresguerres told the L.A. Times last week.

NBC Bay Area
Dec 10, 2013

NBC Bay Area's Joe Rosato Jr. shows how new technology is helping predict all kinds of natural hazards. Featuring Yehuda Bock from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

AOL Travel
Dec 09, 2013

These pictures show the moment a disgruntled crocodile realised he was having his picture snapped. The crocodile snuck up on the photographer, Octavio Aburto, as he took underwater photos in Mexico. Octavio used his 20-year experience - and a lot of bravery - to keep his cool and take the pictures of the croc's toothy grin. "I had to stay calm so the crocodile didn't detect my presence. "I just put my camera between the crocodile and me, and I started taking pictures while the animal was trying to come back to its refuge." Octavio has been a professional underwater photographer since 1994 and is now also a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

U-T San Diego
Dec 06, 2013

The ocean is getting hot, sour and breathless, a group of UC San Diego science students warned officials at an international climate conference last month. She was one of ten UC San Diego graduate students who travelled to Poland for the 19th session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw. “We went as a group to present science and why it matters and why there’s scientific evidence that humans are creating global ocean change,” said Lauren Linsmayer, a PhD candidate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC SanDiego. Her colleague Natalya Gallo spoke about the even lesser known phenomena of ocean deoxygenation, “which is a mouthful, and that’s part of the reason it hasn’t been more talked about,” Linsmayer said. That’s the breathless part, in which ocean organisms are waiting to inhale.