There was a period during the last ice age when temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere went on a rollercoaster ride, plummeting and then rising again every 1,500 years or so. Those abrupt climate changes wreaked havoc on ecosystems, but their cause has been something of a mystery. New evidence shows for the first time that the ocean's overturning circulation slowed during every one of those temperature plunges -- at times almost stopping.
Coral reefs have almost always been studied up close, by scientists in the water looking at small portions of larger reefs to gather data and knowledge about the larger ecosystems. But Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is taking a step back and getting a wider view, from about 23,000 ft above. Read more at TheGuardian.com
NASA and top scientists from around the world are launching a three-year campaign Thursday to gather new data on coral reefs like never before.
The GREAT BARRIER REEF, transposed to North America’s west coast, would stretch from Baja California to British Columbia. “How do you study that big of an area by doing hour-long hikes?,” says Eric Hochberg, a marine biologist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.
The new Portable Remote Imaging Spectrometer (PRISM), created at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is an airborne instrument designed to observe hard-to-see coastal water phenomena. In NASA's upcoming Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) field experiment, PRISM will observe entire reef ecosystems in more of the world's reef area - hundreds of times more -- than has ever been observed before.