Ocean Warming: What You Need to Know


This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator
Icebreaker

No. 117, Jan. 30, 2020

Hello Revelator readers,

We all know the risks of a warming atmosphere, but did you know the ocean is heating up as well? In fact, most of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gas emissions we've spewed into the air has been absorbed by ocean waters, and that's causing everything from supersized storms to species declines. Here's what you need to know about ocean warming.

Another consequence of ocean warming is coral-reef bleaching. The only true solution to the coral crisis is to reduce emissions, but until that happens, volunteer reef-restoration projects, led by scientists, may help buy corals time and pull them back from the brink.

And an alarming new study found that 32 of Bangladesh's native orchid species have gone extinct in the country. "If this rate continues, there will be no trace of orchids in the near future," lead researcher Mohammed Kamrul Huda tells us. This problem isn't unique to Bangladesh — all the world's orchid species need urgent conservation attention.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Let's go a little deeper. Here are five more stories we're watching this week.

1. In crappy news ... the Trump EPA has eased requirements for cities to upgrade their infrastructure, including fixing aging pipes that discharge human waste into fragile waterways.

2. ... and in crabby news: New research reveals that acidic ocean waters — caused by carbon dioxide emissions — have weakened the shells of Dungeness crab larvae, making them easier targets for predators.

3. Forward-looking regulations make New Jersey the first state in the country to require permits for new construction to consider sea-level rise and greenhouse gas emissions.

4. Australia's bushfires have emitted 400 million tons of carbon dioxide, doubling the country's greenhouse gas emissions this year.

5. Scientists have figured out an intriguing way to detect illegal fishing vessels: albatrosses outfitted with radar detectors.

In case you missed it:

The environmental documentary called Anthropocene: The Human Epoch just hit video on demand. We've seen it: It's both terrifying and hauntingly beautiful. Check out our review.

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts and readers around the world, so we always welcome your ideas and inside scoops. Drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

What does the future hold for one of the world's biggest birds? We'll have that news and more in the days ahead.

Look for our latest links in next Thursday's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live.

As always, thank you for reading.

John R. Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator

 

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Photo
of icebreaker in Antarctica by Ville Miettinen.

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