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Imagine an entire city block of six-story apartment buildings disappearing into a sinkhole 90 feet deep. That’s the size of a depression that scientists discovered under the Arctic Ocean, as permafrost thaws and changes the seafloor.
Repeated surveys with MBARI’s mapping AUVs revealed dramatic, and rapid, changes to seafloor bathymetry from the Arctic shelf edge in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. This massive sinkhole developed in just nine years. | Image credit: Eve Lundsten © 2022 MBARI
Noise traveling underwater is important for marine life. Cetaceans, like whales and dolphins, send and receive complex sounds to communicate, navigate, and feed, as do many fish and invertebrates. But a new study shows that climate change will warm waters, affecting the speed at which sound travels in the ocean. Scientists led by Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, found that in some places, the speed of noises will increase by about 55 miles per hour by the end of the century—spreading sounds faster and making them last longer before fading away.
North Atlantic Right whale and calf | Credit: NOAA
Microplastics have been found in all corners of the world—from Antarctica to Mount Everest—so it should come as no surprise that last week, researchers found the pollution in human blood. Scientists in the Netherlands analyzed blood from 22 healthy adults and found plastic particles in nearly 80 percent of them. Half the samples contained PET plastic, commonly used in drink bottles, while one-third contained polystyrene, used in food packaging and other disposable items like cups and utensils. One-quarter of the samples contained polyethylene, used to make plastic bags.
When microplastics end up in wastewater, typically treatment plants remove them in two steps. First, they skim as much as they can off the surface. The rest are taken out with so-called “flocculants,” sticky chemicals that attract contaminants to form large clumps or “flocs” that sink to the bottom where they can be collected.