Rising acidity of the oceans threatens coral reefs
by making it harder to build their skeletons

A new study details how ocean acidification affects coral skeletons, enabling scientists to predict more precisely where corals will be most vulnerable.Corals grow their skeletons upward toward sunlight, thickening and reinforcing them. The new research, led by National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), shows that ocean acidification impedes the thickening process -- decreasing the skeletons' density and leaving them more vulnerable to breaking.The results were published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of more

Changes in humidity may determine how the
contribution of snowpack to streams, lakes and
ground water changes as climate warms

In a new study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Utah professor Paul Brooks and University of Nevada Reno professor Adrian Harpold show that changes in humidity may determine how the contribution of snowpack to streams, lakes and groundwater changes as the climate warms. Surprisingly, cloudy, gray and humid winter days can actually cause the snowpack to warm faster, increasing the likelihood of melt during winter months when the snowpack should be growing, the authors report. In contrast, under clear skies and low humidity the snow can become colder than the air, preserving the snowpack until spring.

Ocean sediments act as massive storehouse
preventing release of potent
greenhouse gas methane

Trapped in ocean sediments near continents lie ancient reservoirs of methane called methane hydrates. These ice-like water and methane structures encapsulate so much methane that many researchers view them as both a potential energy resource and an agent for environmental change. In response to warming ocean waters, hydrates can degrade, releasing the methane gas. Scientists have warned that release of even part of the giant reservoir could significantly exacerbate ongoing climate change.

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Some fish can cope with warming or ocean
acidification, but not both at the same time

ome Antarctic fish living in the planet’s coldest waters are able to cope with the stress of rising carbon dioxide levels in the ocean. They can even tolerate slightly warmer waters. But they can’t deal with both stressors at the same time, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. The study, published recently in the journal Global Change Biology, of emerald rock cod is the first to show that Antarctic fishes may make trade-offs in their physiology and behavior to cope with ocean acidification and warming waters.

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