Scripps in the News

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Discovery News
May 16, 2016
Just three years ago this month, the carbon dioxide monitoring station atop Hawaii’s Mauna Loa reached a significant milestone: the first measurement of CO2 concentrations that exceeded the benchmark of 400 parts per million (ppm). Now, they may never again dip below it. “I think we’re essentially over for good,” Ralph Keeling, the director of the Mauna Loa CO2 program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, said. And before too long, that will be the case the world over. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are monitored at stations around the world, providing records of the mark humans are leaving on the planet. Keeling’s father, Charles Keeling, began the recordings at Mauna Loa in 1958, revealing not only the annual wiggles created by the seasonal growth and death of vegetation, but the steady rise in CO2 from year to year.

The Antarctic Sun
May 12, 2016
The cluster of white shipping containers perched atop the hill near McMurdo Station may well represent the densest collection of weather monitors Antarctica has ever seen. The structures are covered in a multitude of scientific instruments and sensors on the outside. Inside, every available cubic inch is packed with measurement devices and computers processing the prodigious amount of information being collected. “This kind of instrumentation has never been sent to Antarctica before,” said Dan Lubin, a research physicist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and principal investigator on the project known as AWARE. “There’s never been this concentration of instruments providing a synergy for atmospheric science.” AWARE, the ARM West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) is a part of the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM).

Climate Central
May 12, 2016
With carbon dioxide pollution dissolving into water bodies, causing them to acidify, laboratory experiments showed silversides in the sprawling Chesapeake Bay will find it harder to breathe in low-oxygen conditions. The findings have sweeping global implications. Lisa Levin, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego professor who wasn’t involved with the study, described the experiments as “elegant.” She said they pointed to how the dual climate change stresses of ocean acidification and deoxygenation are working together to reduce fish habitat. (Rising water temperatures caused by climate change also pose dangers.)

May 12, 2016
Many other water managers are now looking closely at forecast-informed reservoir operations, or FIRO, as a tool to stretch their water supplies. Amid pressures from climate change, population growth and environmental stress, advances in weather forecasting could be a cheap and effective way to keep vital reservoirs full while also boosting flood protection. Meanwhile, at the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, researchers are developing new prediction tools for so-called “atmospheric river” storms, which can deliver as much as 50 percent of an entire year’s rainfall in a few days. It was such a storm that brought record rain and flooding to parts of Louisiana in March.

Times of San Diego
May 11, 2016
Research by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has found that the 2015-16 El Niño caused major beach erosion and closed estuaries, even if it didn’t bring record rain. It was supposed to be a record wet winter in Southern California, but precipitation levels barely made it to average in several areas, with the increased rain falling mainly in Northern California. “It was clear that while El Niño had stacked the deck for a wet Southern California, it was still possible to draw the wrong card and that’s what happened in Southern California,” said climate researcher Marty Ralph, who directs the Center for Western Water and Weather Extremes at Scripps. The El Niño caused severe beach erosion, and closed estuaries up and down the coast.

Marine Technology News
May 06, 2016
Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at UC San Diego is one of the oldest and largest facilities in the world for ocean science research. A department of the University of California in San Diego, SIO's mission is; "To seek, teach, and communicate scientific understanding of the oceans, atmosphere, Earth, and other planets for the benefit of society and the environment." Dr. Ana Sirovic, an assistant researcher at SIO's Marine Bioacoustic Lab, studies the effects of ocean noise on marine life.

May 04, 2016
For the first time, it’s possible to visualize where powerful, invisible methane gas hovers over the landscape of San Diego County. Researchers have identified dozens of methane hotspots, including a series of hits near the Miramar landfill, with the gas apparently drifting to the end of the pier at La Jolla’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, where a different group of scientists has an air intake connected to some of the world’s most sensitive atmospheric analyzers.

UC San Diego News
May 04, 2016
What can you do about climate change? The better question might be: What can we do about climate change? University of California San Diego researchers show in a new study that framing the issue collectively is significantly more effective than emphasis on personal responsibility. Published in the journal Climatic Change, the study finds that people are willing to donate up to 50 percent more cash to the cause when thinking about the problem in collective terms. “Climate change is arguably the largest collective-action problem the world has ever faced,” said lead author Nick Obradovich, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science in UC San Diego’s Division of Social Sciences. “Yet we’re operating on a lot of baked-in assumptions on how to motivate people.” “This surprised us,” said Obradivch, who in addition to pursuing his doctorate in political science at UC San Diego is also a fellow of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the university’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
May 03, 2016
Imagine you are walking into a 12-foot cube with reflective mirrors on all sides and a music score begins, transporting you underwater, where you are surrounded by light radiating off the tiny organisms, and you can imagine what it looks and feels like to be a deep-sea diver who weaves in and out of its radiance. At Birch Aquarium at Scripps in San Diego, part of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, this cube will soon exist. The installation is called the Infiniti Cube and is being created by a Scripps scientist who studies bioluminescence, a renowned London artist in residence at Scripps and a New York musician and composer who teaches math. Scheduled to open soon, the Infiniti Cube is just one example of how Birch Director Harry Helling is adapting to the times.

NBC 7 San Diego
May 02, 2016
San Diego researchers have discovered that some sharks use their fluorescent glow to communicate with other sharks deep under water, and their research has provided some really cool images to show how it works. Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, working with experts at the American Museum of Natural History, used a custom-built "shark eye" camera to do the research. "This study provides the first evidence that sharks can see the fluorescence of their own species," said Dimitri Deheyn, a researcher at Scripps and co-author of the study. "It's not just beautiful but has an ecological purpose."