The Weekly Dive Vol. 47

Dive into the latest edition of The Weekly Dive, where we bring you the big ocean news!

Deadly Gulf oil rig explosion prompts demands of improved safety. The incident at a shallow water rig off Louisiana left two people dead and several hospitalized. While the Coast Guard said no significant amounts of oil were leaking into the ocean, Black Elk Energy, the operator, is accused of consistently failing to adhere to safety regulations. [The Huffington Post]

Ocean acidification effects already seen in sea snails. Antarctic pteropods, small snails that are an important species that forms the base of the food web, are suffering from corroded shells due to increased acidity in seawater resulting from increased carbon dioxide. A decline in this species could seriously impact the entire Antarctic marine ecosystem. [Reuters]

Microbial life discovered in the earth's crust below the seafloor. While the deep seafloor was previously thought to be largely devoid of life, researchers have found abundant and diverse microbes on the seafloor and in the earth’s crust beneath it. Known as “dark energy,” these life forms feed on the components of the crust rather than requiring sunlight. [Science Daily]

Gas tanker attempts first Arctic crossing in winter due to ice loss. Just 10 years after history was made with a crossing during an ice-free period in summer, ice levels in the Northern Sea Route have diminished so much it will now be navigated in winter. A Norwegian ship, Ob River, carrying natural gas, is expected to shave 20 days off the standard voyage from Europe to Japan. [UPI]

Vancouver paves its streets with recycled plastic. As part of its goal to become the greenest city in the world, Vancouver is incorporating recycled plastic into its pavement. The method could use up to 20% less fossil fuel because plastic melts at a lower temperature than conventional pavement. [Inhabitat]

Bioengineered marine algae can produce biofuels as effectively as fresh water algae. New research indicates for the first time that marine algae, genetically modified, can be as viable a source for biofuels as freshwater algae. A major benefit is that the areas in which they can be grown include environments that are hostile to other crops. [Science Daily]

With Washington gridlocked on climate change, California prepares on its own. In addition to plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the state is also home to various local forward-thinking initiatives on sea level rise, from the development of sea walls to efforts to adjust city zoning and permitting; all coastal cities may soon be required by the state to incorporate such planning. [The Los Angeles Times]

UN climate conference commences. The discussion in Qatar is anticipated to include criticism from poor nations, putting the US and other wealthy nations on the defensive for how little effort they are making to reduce emissions, and the possibility of extending the Kyoto Protocol.  [The Huffington Post]


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