oceans Archives - State of the Planet

Part of the Pacific Ocean Is Not Warming as Expected. Why?

Climate models predict that as a result of human-induced climate change, the surface of the Pacific Ocean should be warming. But one key part is not.

by |June 24, 2019

Drilling the Seabed Below Earth’s Most Powerful Ocean Current

Starting this month, scientists aim to study the Antarctic Circumpolar Current’s past dynamics by drilling into the seabed in some of the planet’s remotest marine regions.

by |May 15, 2019

Carbon Lurking in Deep Ocean Threw Ancient Climate Switch, Say Researchers

A million years ago, a longtime pattern of alternating glaciations and warm periods dramatically changed, when ice ages suddenly became longer and more intense. Scientists have long suspected that this was connected to the slowdown of a key Atlantic Ocean current system that today once again is slowing. A new study of sediments from the Atlantic bottom directly links this slowdown with a massive buildup of carbon dragged from the air into the abyss.

by |April 8, 2019
water sampling device is lowered off the ship into the ocean

Every (Fifth) Breath We Take: Friends of Phytoplankton and Why They Matter

Tiny microbes called phytoplankton live beneath the ocean’s surface, producing oxygen that is essential to human survival. A new study sheds light on how these all-important diatoms survive and thrive under difficult conditions.

by |August 16, 2018

Photo Essay: How High Could Seas Rise?

Columbia scientists recently visited the Caribbean island of Barbados, whose fossilized coral reefs contain an exquisite record of how the ocean has risen and fallen in the past.

by |May 14, 2018

How High Can Seas Rise? On a Tropical Isle, the Answers Are Not Always Obvious.

To help predict the future of sea level rise, scientists are studying ancient corals on the island of Barbados.

by |May 14, 2018

Ocean Sediments Off Pacific Coast May Feed Tsunami Danger

Tightly packed sediments help the Cascadia Subduction Zone generate large earthquakes, and could boost its ability to trigger a large tsunami.

by |November 20, 2017

Iron Chemistry Matters for Ocean Carbon Uptake

An interdisciplinary team of scientists has discovered that, contrary to general scientific belief, iron in nondissolved particle form can stimulate phytoplankton growth, and that the chemical form that particulate iron takes is critical to ocean photosynthesis.

by |June 23, 2017

Tapping into Ocean Power

The oceans of the world are a vast unexploited source of clean, reliable and predictable renewable energy. Could this energy help replace fossil fuels and be a solution to climate change?

by |February 14, 2017

Project Aims to Map World’s Oceans by 2030

More than 85 percent of the ocean floor remains unmapped, leaving us in the dark about much of the earth’s topography. A global, non-profit effort will try to remedy that, and influence everything from climate research and weather prediction to mineral resource exploration and fisheries.

by |February 2, 2017