oceans

Christopher Clark, who directs the bioacoustics research program at Cornell University, is among the world's best scientific listeners. His work has revealed how human-made noise is filling the ocean, making it harder for marine animals to hear their own world. But Clark didn't start out with much interest in whales at all.

'The Blog' is indicated by dark orange on the West Coast of the U.S. The Blob is a patch of warm water that was detected by a University of Washington climatologist in 2013.
Courtesy of Nick Bond

Call it “The Blob.”

It’s an unusually warm patch of water off the West Coast that has flummoxed climatologists.

“It’s still rearing its ugly head,” said Nick Bond, Washington state climatologist and regular contributor to KUOW. He first detected The Blob in 2013. 

This photo, taken last fall, is an indicator of things to come, according to scientists. The warm blob of water off the coast has conspired with low precipitation to amplify problems in Puget Sound. The result: more jellyfish.
Courtesy of Eyes Over Puget Sound, Washington Department of Ecology

Puget Sound is going through a lot of changes. And a trend we reported on earlier this year has accelerated: Salmon are losing while jellyfish are winning.

The lion's mane jelly taken by KUOW reporter and diver Ann Dornfeld in 2010.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Little fish are disappearing from much of Puget Sound, according to a new study.

These are the fish that orcas and salmon depend on, and they’re being replaced by ballooning populations of jellyfish, which most fish and seabirds don't eat.

Oregon Scientists Lead Underwater Research

May 5, 2015

Last month Ed Dever helped to put four special, giant buoys off the coast of Oregon.

“I like to think of them as floating laboratories,” said Dever, who is an Oceanography professor at Oregon State University.

Each bouy is tethered to the ocean floor, weighs over 10,000 pounds, and is loaded with scientific instruments which will soon be measuring oxygen levels, acidity, and other biological and chemical data.

A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. They're sending down probes to study life in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

This week the researchers are targeting the two deepest spots in the trench — the Sirena Deep and the Challenger Deep — which each extend down about 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface.

SEATTLE -- As the waters of the Pacific warm, methane that was trapped in crystalline form beneath the seabed is being released. And fast.

New modeling suggests that 4 million tons of this potent greenhouse gas have escaped since 1970 from the ocean depths off Washington's coast.

How Ocean Chemistry Threatens The NW Oyster Industry

Aug 12, 2014

NETARTS BAY, Ore. -- Mark Wiegardt steps slowly through knee-high water, pausing over some jagged lumps of brown-gray shells with a bent flat-head screwdriver.

He picks up a clumps of oysters and rests it on his thigh, stabbing and wrenching until the shellfish crack apart.

The creatures inside are more valuable than ever, so Wiegardt tries his best to make them look nice by bashing off the sharp edges.

What's Killing Clams? Solve This Low Tide Mystery

Jul 14, 2014
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

One of the lowest tides of the year this weekend revealed a "crime scene" at the beach at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.

Combating Algae One Dollar At A Time

Jun 23, 2014

Millions of dollars in new funding to help combat harmful algae in Oregon and throughout the country are just a presidential pen stroke away.

Toxic algae blooms contributed to closing some of Oregon’s lake, ponds and reservoirs for a combined total of more than 700 days in 2013 alone.

A large swath of the Atlantic Ocean could soon be used to generate electricity, as a U.S. agency proposes opening more than 1,000 square miles of ocean to wind energy projects. The area is off the coast of Massachusetts, which has been working on the proposal with federal officials.

Science teachers may have to add a whole new layer to the water cycle.

Scientists have discovered evidence of a vast reservoir of water hiding up to 400 miles beneath the surface.

The discovery could transform our understanding of how the planet was formed, suggesting that Earth's water may have come from within, rather than from collisions with large, icy comets.

flotsametrics.com photo

In 1990, a cargo container dropped 80,000 Nike sneakers overboard. The shoes washed ashore for the next decade.

Two years later, in 1992, another container in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean accidentally released 29,000 bathtub toys. They continue to float to land.

Bugs, Bill Nye And Flotsam

Aug 21, 2013
Flickr Photo/Efrafan Days

Sue Hubbell: Author, Beekeeper And Bug Lover

Sue Hubbell is the author of many books on entomology, including “A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them.” She wrote for The New Yorker, Smithsonian and Time. Steve Scher talked with Hubbell back in 1993 about the many reasons to appreciate bugs.

Bill Nye On Getting People Interested In Science

Bill Nye, forever dubbed The Science Guy, is an author, comedian, scientist and former television host. Though his Disney/PBS show, "Bill Nye The Science Guy," is long off air, his legacy as a science educator lives on. Many people can still remember this tune "Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill!" Dave Beck talked with Nye in 1993, the first year his television show aired.

Flotsam With Curtis Ebbesmeyer: The Secret Life Of Ocean Debris

Oceans are full of many mysterious things, some of which make their way to shore. Oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer tracks the debris that makes its way around the world. Steve Scher talked with Ebbesmeyer back in 2003 about the many objects — plastic ducks, glass balls, tires — that show up on our beaches and what that tells us about our oceans.

This week a research ship is retrieving dozens of seismometers that have spent the last year on the ocean floor off the Northwest coast. Earthquake scientists hope the data they're about to get will shed more light on the structure of the offshore Cascadia fault zone. That plate boundary will be the source of the Big One whenever it rips.

Pages