Lunar Umbra (solar eclipse shadow) over western Africa
Solar eclipse over western Africa (morning overpass) at 11:45 UTC.
A rare “hybrid” solar eclipse occurred on 03 November 2013, which began over the western Atlantic Ocean as an annular eclipse and transitioned into a full total solar eclipse for observers along the narrow path of totality in the far eastern Atlantic and over parts of Africa.
The Lunar Umbra (or solar eclipse shadow) could be seen tracking rapidly southeastward across the Atlantic Ocean.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team
photos by john weller of the ross sea and its antarctic ecosystem. as weller writes,”the ross sea is special. many scientists believe it may be the most healthy open ocean ecosystem left on earth. …the ross sea is the last ocean.”
according to the national science foundation, little if any of the ocean remains unaffected by fisheries, agricultural runoff, sewage, aquaculture and industry. we have pushed many ocean ecosystems to the brink of collapse worldwide, but the ross sea, protected by its 500 mile wide and 40 metre tall shield of ice (seventh photo), has remained largely insulated from this.
that said, climate change is altering the balance of life in the ross sea. many colonies of emperor penguins (first photo), including the cast of “the march of penguins,” are expected to die out, unable to find suitable breeding sites as the ice disappears.
adélie penguins (fifth photo) are expected to struggle with loss of winter habitat, increased competition from more temperate penguin species, and a higher probability of summer snowstorms, which can kill a whole generation of a colony’s chicks.
there has been also been a dramatic reduction in ecotype c orcas (seventh photo), who come to these waters to feed on an ever diminishing supply of toothfish. the rise in toothfish fisheries has meant that the population of adélie penguins, who compete with toothfish for silverfish, is growing so large as to affect other species who also rely on silverfish, like weddell seals (second and eighth photos) and antarctic minke whales (ninth photo).
more than 500 scientists have now pooled their voices to plead with CCAMLR (the convention on the conservation of antarctic marine living resources), to stop the toothfish fishery.
antarctica holds 90% of the world’s ice, much of it ancient, and a warming planet means that over the next century, worldwide sea levels could rise by 1.5 meters. one can approximate the age of the ice by its colour (tenth photo) - the older a layer of ice gets, the denser it becomes, meaning the more wavelengths of light it absorbs, so the oldest, densest layers glow as pure blue.
"the ross sea story is not just that of the incredible creatures that live at the edge of the world. it is our story, the story of our struggle to become sustainable," john writes. "we need to admit what is known: we have dangerously over exploited the oceans. we need to stop and protect the places we have. we need to start with the ross sea."
From the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab’s Flickr page come these amazing photos of bees’ heads. Photographed by Sam Droege, these photos offer a glimpse into the micro world of bees that most never see.
Ed note: This new sperm bank for honey bees could help fight colony collapse disorder.
on midway atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses. the nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted pacific ocean.
"for me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. …like the albatross, we [the consumers and polluters of this world] find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and souls." - chris jordan
Global warming could increase storm risk over eastern U.S.
Even relatively moderate global warming could lead to a substantial increase in severe weather signs, like wind shears.
polar bears, who rely on the ice as their hunting ground for seals, not only end up starving to death, but often drown at sea, unable to swim back to land.
"it’s a fact that early sea ice breakup, late ice freeze-up and the overall reduction in ice pack…could erase half of a population in a single year." - andrew derocher, co author, “rapid ecosystem change and polar bear conservation.”