It is not every day you can announce the discovery of thousands of new mountains on Earth, but that is what a US-European research team has done.What is more, these peaks are all at least 1.5km high.The reason they have gone unrecognised until now is because they are at the bottom of the ocean.Dave Sandwell and colleagues used radar satellites to discern the mountains' presence under water and report their findings in Science Magazine."In the previous radar dataset we could see everything taller than 2km, and there were 5,000 seamounts," Prof Sandwell told BBC News."With our new dataset - and we haven't fully done the work yet - I'm guessing we can see things that are 1.5km tall. "That might not sound like a huge improvement but the number of seamounts goes up exponentially with decreasing size. "So, we may be able to detect another 25,000 on top of the 5,000 already known," the Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher explained.Knowing where the seamounts are is important for … [Read more...] about Satellites detect ‘thousands’ of new ocean-bottom mountains
Hollywood director James Cameron has returned to the surface after plunging nearly 11km (seven miles) down to the deepest place in the ocean, the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific.He made the solo descent in a submarine called Deepsea Challenger, taking over two hours to reach the bottom.He spent more than four hours exploring the ocean floor, before a speedy ascent back to the surface.His craft was kitted out with cameras so he could film the deep in 3D."It was absolutely the most remote, isolated place on the planet," Mr Cameron told BBC News."I really feel like in one day I've been to another planet and come back."This is only the second manned expedition to the ocean's deepest depths - the first took place in 1960 when US Navy Lt Don Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard spent about 20 minutes on the ocean floor in a bathyscaphe called the Trieste.Lt Walsh, who is now in his 80s, joined Mr Cameron and his team of engineers out at sea for the dive."It did bring back a … [Read more...] about James Cameron back on surface after deepest ocean dive
Advances in science could offer hope for the world's besieged coral reefs. Gavin Haines investigates. Whether we are blowing them up with dynamite, dropping anchors on them or warming up the oceans they live in, mankind is leading a sustained attack on the world's coral reefs. A recent report revealed that coral coverage on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by as much as 50% in the last three decades, while reefs in the Caribbean have seen reported losses of 80%. However, experts claim advances in science could enable them to not only restore these beleaguered ecosystems, but also improve their resilience to disease. "I believe we may have to moderate our predictions that coral reefs will not be here in 50 years," says Prof Eugene Rosenberg, a coral microbiologist at Tel Aviv University, Israel. "In fact, I'm one of the few people who are optimistic about the future of coral reefs."Prof Rosenberg has reason to be sanguine having been credited with discovering a cure for White … [Read more...] about Can we restore the world’s coral reefs?
The number of sheep and cattle in the UK should be reduced by between a fifth and a half to help combat climate change, a report says.The shift is needed, the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) maintains, because beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gases. The report foresees an increase in the number of pigs and chickens because these produce less methane. The farm union NFU said it did not agree with reducing livestock numbers.But environmentalists say the recommendations are too timid.The CCC says a 20-50% reduction in beef and lamb pasture could release 3-7m hectares of grassland from the current 12m hectares in the UK. The un-needed grassland could instead grow forests and biofuels that would help to soak up CO2.The committee’s advice on producing less red meat is less radical than NHS Eatwell guidelines on healthy eating, which proposes a reduction in consumption of 89% for beef and 63% for lamb, and a 20% decline in dairy products. BBC … [Read more...] about Climate change: Report says ‘cut lamb and beef’
Tim Jones had just landed a job as an RE teacher at a secondary school in Greenwich when he stumbled on Extinction Rebellion. Not long before, he had been seeing a counsellor for feelings of helplessness and depression about the ecosystem and how schools fed into the planet’s problems. “At that point I was at my most depressed,” he says. “It was eco-anxiety. I’d started a new job at a good school with good people, but the system was just heartbreaking. I felt completely disaffected.” Then, in October last year, he went to a training day with Extinction Rebellion (XR), the environmental activist group, where he and other teachers learned about legal procedures and how to be arrested safely. Jones, who is 36, began to panic. “I thought, ‘I’m a teacher and now I’ve joined an organisation where people are going to get arrested. Will I be fired?’” This was followed by what he calls a “life-changing moment”. … [Read more...] about Teacher rebellion: How Mr Jones gave up his job to fight the climate crisis