A few years ago, NASA researcher Watson Gregg published a study showing that tiny free-floating ocean plants called phytoplankton had declined in abundance globally by 6 percent between the 1980s and 1990s. A new study by Gregg and his co-authors suggests that trend may not be continuing, and new patterns are taking place.
Why is this important? Well, the tiny ocean plants help regulate our atmosphere and the health of our oceans. Phytoplankton produce half of the oxygen generated by plants on Earth. They also can soften the impacts of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. In addition, phytoplankton serve as the base of the ocean food chain, so their abundance determines the overall health of ocean ecosystems. Given their importance, it makes sense that scientists would want to closely track trends in phytoplankton numbers and in how they are distributed around the world.
Gregg and his colleagues published their new study in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters. The researchers used NASA satellite data from 1998 to 2003 to show that phytoplankton amounts have increased globally by more than 4 percent. These increases have mainly occurred along the coasts. No significant changes were seen in phytoplankton concentrations within the global open oceans, but phytoplankton levels declined in areas near the center of the oceans, the mid-ocean gyres. Mid-ocean gyres are "ocean deserts", which can only support low amounts of phytoplankton. When viewed by satellite, these phytoplankton-deprived regions look deep-blue, while in aquatic regions where plant life thrives, the water appears greener.
Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy