Oceans

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Acehnese fishers are among the quarter of the world’s population who live on the coast, and for whom climate-driven changes to the oceans would make life much harder. Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA/AAP Image

New report: the chance to rescue the world’s oceans from climate change is drifting away

Failing to stick to the world's agreed global warming limit of 2C won't just affect the atmosphere - it will play havoc with the oceans too, potentially ruining ecosystems on which much of humanity depends.
Out of sight out of mind? The vast majority of global warming is going into the ocean. peter dondel/Flickr

The climate ‘hiatus’ doesn’t take the heat off global warming

Over the past decade, warming air temperatures at Earth's surface appear to have slowed. But that ignores the vast majority of heat going steadily into the ocean. And, a new paper shows, that makes no difference to the long-term prognosis.
Marine parks are valuable tools to help safeguard species such as seagrasses. AAP Image/James Cook University

Why are Australia’s marine parks being reviewed so soon after they were signed off?

Australia's network of marine parks - a decade in the making and announced in 2012 - haven't been implemented yet, and the Abbott government has already placed the plans under review. Why the hurry?
Despite the high concentration of sharks in Cocos, some species have declined in number – a signal on the effectiveness of marine preserves. Genna Marie Robustelli

Shark-counting divers off Costa Rica reveal limits of marine reserves

Divers at the famed Cocos site off Costa Rica record declines in a number of shark species – a sign that marine preserves are limited protection against illegal fishing.
Kelp covered landscape in Western Australia. Dan Smale

Marine heatwaves threaten the future of underwater forests

Western Australia’s marine environment is unique. Two world heritage areas, the largest fringing coral reef in Australia, and more than a thousand kilometres of underwater forests, supporting incredible…
Turtles are among the species that could be harmed by dredging, even under the government’s new dredge dumping rules. AAP Image/University of QLD

Six ways Australia is selectively reporting to the UN on the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian government’s latest report on the Great Barrier Reef, submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre last Friday, has been carefully crafted and word-smithed, with many of its claims supported…
The day after: a Sri Lankan man begins the slow process of rebuilding. EPA/Mike Nelson

Ten years after the Boxing Day tsunami, are coasts any safer?

Ten years ago we witnessed one of the worst natural disasters in history, when a huge earthquake off the coast of Sumatra triggered a devastating tsunami which swept across the Indian Ocean. An estimated…
Apollo Bay in Victoria. Australia’s coastal towns are vulnerable to changes in the surrounding seas. ccdoh1/Flickr

Your coastal town’s climate score? There’s a website for that

Australia’s coastal towns, many built around fisheries and tourism, are particularly vulnerable to climate change. South east and south west Australia are marine hotspots — they are warming much faster…
A king tide in New Zealand, part of a project documenting what future sea level rise might look like. Witness King Tides/Flickr

15 years from now, our impact on regional sea level will be clear

Human activity is driving sea levels higher. Australia’s seas are likely to rise by around 70 centimetres by 2100 if nothing is done to combat climate change. But 2100 can seem a long way off. At the moment…
Shark Bay is one of Australia’s 19 World Heritage Areas, home to dolphins, dugongs, and sharks. Matthew Fraser

Climate change threatens Western Australia’s iconic Shark Bay

In the summer of 2010-2011 Western Australia experienced an unprecedented heatwave — but not on land. Between December 2010 and April 2011, sea temperatures off the WA coast reached 3C above average, and…
Bad news for icebergs: oceans in the Southern Hemisphere have been soaking up more heat energy than previously thought. Andrew Meijers/BAS

Southern oceans heating up faster than scientists realised

The upper layers of the world’s oceans have been warming much faster than oceanographers realised over the past few decades…
Rubbish strewn on beaches eventually ends up in one of the world’s giant ocean garbage patches. Vberger/Wikimedia Commons

Redrawing the map could reveal ocean garbage patch culprits

Most of us have littered at one time or another, and in the process we probably contributed to the enormous of amounts of plastic that enter the ocean every year, eventually ending up in one of the five…

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