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On top of everything else, global warming could actually make the oceans louder. Seriously.

The world’s marine animals are up against some big challenges, including everything from climate change and ocean acidification to pollution and overfishing. And in the past several decades, conservationists have grown increasingly concerned about another threat, one that’s both pervasive and invisible in the water: the danger of sound.

Scientists and activists alike have pointed to a growing body of research suggesting that many marine animals rely on sound for communication, navigation and awareness of their surroundings — and that the noises generated by human activities, such as shipping, industrial work and military exercises, may be more disruptive to their natural habitats than we ever thought.

Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  is helping to address these concerns with a new “strategy roadmap” — the first of its kind — for researching and managing ocean noise and its impact on marine life. The agency released the strategy in draft form last week and will leave it open for public comments through July.

Source: This is the Obama administration’s new plan to stop devastating ocean noise pollution – The Washington Post

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Source: Ocean News & Technology

There’s been huge interest and controversy over how much of the sea we really need to protect in order to safeguard life there and the benefits it provides to humanity. The science says we should raise our ambitions and protect something of the range of 30 to 40 percent of the oceans from exploitation and harm.

This is well above the United Nations target of 10 percent protection by 2020, set under the Convention on Biological Diversity. But it is consistent with the recommendation of at least 30 percent protection made by the World Parks Congress in 2014. Currently, approximately 6 percent of the global ocean has been set aside as marine protected areas (MPA) or is earmarked for future protection, according to the MPAtlas.

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Sometimes in research you have a finding that’s bigger than you or your lab can tackle. If we can answer these questions, we will understand the whole relationship of microbiology in the oceans better and be able to treat this layer of life in the upper ocean like a layer of skin. We’ll know when it’s healthy, when it’s not, and how it functions. Understanding how our planet works at those fundamental levels is critically important.

Source: Major Source of Methanol in the Ocean Identified

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Climate-related changes are affecting the nation’s valuable living marine resources and the people, businesses and communities that depend on them. From warming oceans and rising seas, to droughts and ocean acidification, these impacts are expected to increase with continued changes in the planet’s climate system.

Marine and coastal fisheries generate approximately $200 billion in sales and support 1.7 million jobs in the U.S. each year. Coastal habitats help defend coastal communities from storms and inundation, and provide the foundation for tourism and recreation-based economies in many coastal communities.

Source: NMFS Climate Science Strategy

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The news just keeps getting worse for cold-temperature fish such as cod in the ever-warming waters of the Gulf of Maine.

A new study, conducted by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers and appearing in the Journal of Geophysical Research — Oceans, reached an ominous conclusion: The waters of the Gulf of Maine, which a previous study showed to be warming faster than 99.9 percent of the rest of the planet’s oceans, are continuing to warm at an accelerated rate and are expected to continue doing so for at least the next 80 years.

Source: Study finds Gulf of Maine warming faster than thought — Bangor Daily News Maine

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Earlier this month, meteorologist blogger Cliff Mass announced the death of the “blob” in the northeast Pacific Ocean.

The “blob” refers to the large area of very warm waters that helped set up a bulging area of high pressure over Alaska, around which the jet stream flowed, directing impressive cold over the U.S. for the past two winters and blocking storms from hitting the West Coast.

Source: The Pacific ‘blob’ loses. El Niño wins. What comes next? – The Washington Post

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An alarming new study reveals that the lakes around the world are warming. On average, freshwater lakes appear to be warming faster than the world’s oceans, according to a release from NASA.

The study has shown that the water in lakes all around the world is rapidly warming by an average 0.3 degrees Celsius each decade. While this may not seem like much, the temperature change is wreaking havoc on lake ecosystems, causing massive algal blooms and devastating fish kills.

Source: NASA: Climate change threatens to destroy the world’s lakes

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The funds, which will be distributed over the next two-three years, will support seven new projects designed to increase our understanding of how climate change can affect fish stocks, fisheries, and the communities that depend on them for their livelihood.

“Warmer coastal and ocean waters and ocean acidification are already affecting our nation’s fisheries,” said NOAA Fisheries chief science advisor Richard Merrick, Ph.D. “NOAA is working to ensure the resilience of healthy, productive fisheries that are essential to U.S. coastal communities. Sustainable fisheries create jobs, stabilize coastal economies, enhance commerce, and help to meet the growing demand for seafood.”

Source: NOAA awards funding for research projects to study climate impacts on fish and fisheries | NOAA Fisheries