Scripps in the News

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New Scientist
Feb 29, 2016
Call it a whalegorithm. A computer has learned to suss out the different dialects of long-finned pilot whales. The approach is a step towards unlocking the secrets of how whales communicate with one another. Researchers at the Ocean Sounds conservation group collected recordings of six groups of long-finned pilot whales along the Norwegian coast. After running their algorithm on the recordings, Hallerberg’s team could prove that each family had its own distinct dialect. John Hildebrand at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego says the approach makes sense for pilot whales, which communicate with “burst pulse” calls. But he’s not sure that it would work as well for other toothed whale vocalisations such as echolocation clicks and whistles.

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Feb 28, 2016
John Holdren, President Obama's chief science advisor, said during a visit to San Diego Monday that the public shouldn't lose faith in the government's El Nino forecasts even though the current one may turn out to be mostly wrong for Southern California. Holden spoke at UC San Diego on the final day of the warmest February on record in San Diego. The National Weather Service says that preliminary results show that the average February temperature at Lindbergh Field was 64.0 degrees, or about a half-degree warmer than the record set in February 1980. The temperature records date back to 1874. Holden said he's not surprised that the matter hasn't been fully ironed out. "First of all, nature is still complicated in ways that we have not completely fathomed," Holdren said. "Science is imperfect. The dynamics of the ocean are particularly complex. I was just at Scripps Institution of Oceanography ... One of the things every scientist will tell you is that, while we know a lot, we don't know everything.”

Feb 26, 2016
The idea that mere turbulence can power the ocean owes much to oceanographer Walter Munk. Currents flowing through the deep ocean often start with cold, dense water sinking at high latitudes. But that water has to rise and warm to stimulate circulation. What caused this upwelling was a mystery.
Feb 25, 2016
Every day, some of the world’s deepest oceans buzz with a strange sound as massive communities of fish, squid, and shrimp travel up and down from the depths in search of food. Now, researchers have recorded the low-frequency sound, which they believe may be a way for these animals to tell each other that it’s dinnertime. Scientists have long known that marine mammals like dolphins and whales use sounds to communicate underwater, but according to researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, this could be the first evidence of smaller ocean-dwelling animals doing the same thing, Stephen Feller reports for United Press International. “[I]t sounds like a buzzing or humming, and that goes on for an hour to two hours, depending on the day,” Scripps research biologist Simone Baumann-Pickering said in a statement.

Scientific American
Feb 25, 2016
Scientists have provided the first experimental evidence that rising carbon dioxide emissions are harming coral reefs in the wild. David Kline, a marine ecologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in La Jolla, California, says the results offer hope that cutting emissions would aid reefs. “This is a ray of light showing that if we actually do something politically about climate change, the reefs can respond,” he says.

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Feb 24, 2016
"The worst consequences of climate change will be experienced by the poorest 3 billion (people), largely living in villages, who had nothing to do with this.” As Veerabhadran Ramanathan makes this prediction, Pacific waves shimmer through the window of his office at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. This ethical quandary haunts Ramanathan. The 71-year-old has garnered international acclaim pioneering climate research, but he believes his most important work lays ahead — and that he must act urgently.

The Guardian
Feb 24, 2016
Right now, roughly a kilometre below the surface of an ocean near you, a yellow cylinder about the size of a golf bag is taking measurements of the temperature and saltiness of the water. But now, scientists are sounding an alarm for the future of this ocean monitoring system. In a commentary in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists say cracks are starting to appear in the network, largely because of uncertainties over funding. Oceanographer Prof Dean Roemmich, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, is co-chair of the global Argo program. He told me why there’s a fear the comprehensive coverage that Argo gives the world’s oceans could be at risk.

Feb 22, 2016
According to Simone Baumann-Pickering, a marine biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, the nature of the sound was "more as if you're sitting on an airplane and it's humming, buzzing." The sound starts after the sun sets, she says, and goes on for a couple of hours, then stops. The same thing happens at dawn.

The New York Times
Feb 21, 2016
Dr. Inman, who died at 95 on Feb. 11 in the La Jolla area of San Diego, helped change all that. At the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla and its parent institution, the University of California, San Diego, he led research that opened the eyes of science to the processes that shape the beach.

Feb 19, 2016
A huge body of warm surface water along the West Coast, called "the blob", has nearly disappeared from satellite images, two years after it formed in the northeast Pacific Ocean. El Niño’s strong winds and a series of winter storms helped cool and break down the 1,000-mile-wide mass of warm sea surface water. “The original blob pattern has either lost its heat to the atmosphere, which basically warms the air and then effects the downstream conditions, or it was mixed into the underlying water,” said Art Miller, head of the oceans and atmosphere section at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.